The Beauty Standards for a Flight Attendant

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Have you ever boarded a flight at 6:00 AM and wondered why and how your flight attendants look so flawless and refreshed? Ever wondered why and how those same flight attendants also look flawless and refreshed on your 9:00 PM redeye across the continental United States? That’s because each airline has particular standards on what they want the “faces of their company” to look like at all times, just to greet you with a smile.

Those looking after guests on a plane typically must adhere to standards for the following areas; uniform presentation, wearable accessories, skincare, managing your health and maintaining a high level of physical appearance throughout the workday. Standards though, can differ dependant on your employer.

This article will speak to those people who are considering a job in the aviation industry or who might be interested in understanding the level of detail that goes into a flight attendants appearance each day. We’ve also provided you with some insider tips and products that you might want to incorporate into your daily routine too.

Overview of Industry Beauty Standards

Flight attendants sometimes begin their day at sun-up and end their day at sundown.

Maintaining a certain image that puts on a fresh face (literally) for their company is one of the top priorities, after all of their safety-related duties of course! There are many steps to looking “put-together” for up to a 14-hour workday for flight attendants.

Though beauty standards for flight attendants seem to be a clean-cut standard for all, there are many airlines who have much higher standards than other mainline domestic U.S. airlines.

Many international carriers have extremely high standards when it comes to a flight attendant’s physical appearance but also their uniforms and luggage.

Without naming names, as standards can change, an airline at the time of writing this article requires its flight attendants to be a specific height and they must maintain a pulled-up hair style at all times. In their application, they require the applicant to send in photos of themselves with specific photo qualities for both male and female.

For most American domestic carriers who also fly international routes, you can expect similar beauty and physical standards as well. In talking with a US based air hostess regarding her initial interview, she stated that she was asked specific questions about the following;

  • Height
  • Whether you have visible tattoos
  • Can you fit safely in a cabin crew jumpseat
  • Can you maintain a clean and polished look during all phases of the interview process, training and every phase of flight.

Though a height requirement may seem questionable to someone outside of the airline industry, this can also be mandatory with some airlines. This is to ensure a range of reach for safety related requirements on board an aircraft.

Maintaining Physical Beauty Standards


Maintaining beauty standards begins with your uniform. When going to work for an airline, and especially being a flight attendant, you are in front of all of the customers, so your uniform appearance is expected to be at its best.

Using certain products to maintain the best care for your uniform is a must. With many airlines, the fabrics of their uniforms is a high quality that takes a lot of care. Some things to consider when taking care and washing your airlines uniform may be to:

  • Hand wash
  • Use cold water
  • Specific laundry detergent to maintain color
  • Specific drying instructions such as hanging dry
  • Ensuring it is hung up and placed in a safe and clean place.

There are some specific products that make caring for your uniform easier. Many flight attendants recommend these products to best care for their uniforms:

  • Using a cleaner such as this WooliteOpens in a new tab. cleaner helps the dye in your clothing or uniform to retain its color with no bleeding and little to no fading. See here on AmazonOpens in a new tab. #ad.
  • What some presume to be the holy grail of clothing care is a handheld steamer.Opens in a new tab. Not only is this perfect for steaming, it is also small enough to travel with for the trips flight attendants go on for several days without the ability to properly wash their uniform. See the popular Beautural streamer on Amazon here.Opens in a new tab.
  • Another must-have in the flight attendant world for uniform care is a re-wear dry wash spray.Opens in a new tab. For the times you need a spruce up but can’t fully wash, or for the times you aren’t carrying your steamer, this re-wear spray helps with odors and wrinkles. It’s also small enough to throw in your bag for easy on-the-go travel.

Despite the care that flight attendants take in their uniform to maintain beauty standards, there are other aspects of uniform appearance that aren’t just the actual clothing pieces.

From hosiery to the proper shoes on and off the aircraft, flight attendants’ uniforms aren’t complete without these extra details.

Hosiery can be difficult when you’re on the go so much. Any sudden movement or brush up against an object can cause a “run” or tear in hosiery which strays away from the standards of uniform compliance. There are many brands out there that have a reputation for lasting longer than others.

Sheertex Opens in a new tab.creates a long-lasting hosiery that is almost tear proof. Though typically a little more expensive for a single pair, consider the number of cheaper pairs a flight attendant would have to buy when they continually tear. It makes the Sheertex price seem fairly reasonable. Suss out the different options on Amazon here.Opens in a new tab.

Shoes are just as important too. From duty days that can be up to 14 hours, it’s vital to wear a shoe that won’t leave a flight attendant icing their feet every night. They must also maintain a level of appearance that satisfies the standard of the airline you represent.

Several brands known for their part in creating a comfortable and stylish shoe for airlines include ClarksOpens in a new tab., RockportOpens in a new tab., AerosolesOpens in a new tab. and many others. Most airlines have heel height, material and other requirements.

Flight Attendant _


Hair… In our opinion, this is where everything really comes together. However, a lot of airlines differ in preference. Many domestic mainland carriers allow their employees or flight attendants to wear their hair down.

At the time of writing this article, American Airlines and United airlines are two major U.S. companies who allow their flight attendants to work with their hair down.

Meanwhile, one of the bigger companies, Delta Air Lines does not allow its employees to wear their hair down unless the length of their hair is at or above their shoulders. Delta requires its flight attendants to uphold a more professional and sleeked back look than those of American and United.

Though it may seem easy and simple to either put your hair up, or put your hair down, there are many international airlines whose uniforms require a hair accessory such as a hat or hair piece. The reason behind this is that it adds layers to a professional look and allows the employees to stand out.


After explaining the many differences that each airline has, there is one beauty standard that seems to be unwavering in its entirety. Makeup. A standard airline look across the board in terms of makeup seems to be a fresh, clean and natural face.

The only difference between the natural face is the choice of lipstick. Some airlines require it while others give their flight attendants a choice. The reason behind a natural look in the make-up department is to maintain professionalism.

The most iconic and known beauty standard for a flight attendant is the red lipstick. As stated before, it is not required by all airlines but is by some. For many U.S. airlines the red lipstick is encouraged but not required, while for many international carriers it forms part of their signature look or brand and must be worn irrespective of personal preference.

The most commonly used red lipstick we’ve seen is MAC Cosmetics Russian Red lipstick.Opens in a new tab.

Health Maintenance

Now, there is a lot more that goes into maintaining beauty standards on board an aircraft.

The effects of working on an airplane at 30,000 feet has quite the impact on physical health. Not only does your body go through physical changes internally throughout different phases of a flight, but a major issue that flight attendants face is the lack of moisture while working in an aircraft.

The push and pull of physical changes during flight has proven to be difficult to manage. The lack of moisture in the air calls for a larger than average intake of liquids, like water. However, the physical cabin pressure causes internal challenges like bloating, that would lead to someone wanting to drink less liquid to try and subside the feeling.

People who want to get on top of this feeling will also focus on the beauty standards while the are not on the aircraft. Using and treating your skin with moisturizers is a must outside of the work environment. (such as Kiehl’s Ultra Face Cream as seen in the video).

Treating your skin with these products may help in the long run for a smoother feeling and better presentation when preparing to go to work and putting on make-up.

Some attendees will also moisturize when flying too, with tinted moisturizer fighting the dryness of the aircraft and forming part of thier make up routine. Using tinted moisturizer when applying make-up can make all the difference for their day of work.

We’ve been informed this tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier is the best for a refreshed and hydrated look. See on Amazon hereOpens in a new tab..

After applying this and your normal makeup routine, it’s important for flight attendants to stay natural by using natural colors. This includes, bronzers and blush, eye shadows and lip tints.

Keep Reading…

Hot Tips from a Flight Attendant: Benefits, Job Description and Salary

Summary: The Beauty Standards for a Flight Attendant

It’s important to understand that each company or business upholds its own standards and requirements for their flight attendants. It may be the responsibility of oneself, a lead flight attendant or manager to ensure that the specific brand of the company is upheld.

You must understand thought, that if the appearance standard is not up to scratch, that you will be asked to fix it or may even be asked to leave work and be penalized.

So, the next time you wonder how and why your flight attendants look so flawless and refreshed on your 6:00 AM or 9:00 PM flight, think back to this article and acknowledge the appearance and beauty standards that airlines hold for its employees.

From managing and caring for their uniform, to looking after ones health, there are an abundant number of things that go into overall appearance for this particular career field.

After all, flight attendants are the faces of their entire company!


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Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

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