20+ Ordinary Things That Flight Attendants Aren’t Allowed to Do on Board
The aviation industry is full of restrictions, and flight attendants need to obey a lot of rules that govern things which might equate to completely normal things for the rest of us. It is not the usual 9 to 5 job, that’s for sure, but this job comes with its own perks. If you’ve ever wondered about becoming a flight attendant or were fascinated with the intricacies of the job, then read our article below.
Bright Side was curious about what flight attendants are not allowed to do and so we asked them to help us answer some questions.
1. They aren’t allowed to slouch.
Flight attendants spend a lot of time standing, which might cause them to experience back pain, especially on longer flights. Even when they are doing the service in the cabin, they are not supposed to slouch. It might relieve them of their pain for a moment and it might be relaxing, but it doesn’t look professional to stand in a lazy, sloppy way.
Slouching is not permitted starting in the airport, or wherever they are wearing the uniform. Some airlines also have a restriction regarding hands in pockets or the crossing of their arms.
2. They aren’t allowed to use heavy perfumes.
Hygiene is very strict in the aviation industry, and flight attendants always need to look neat. On top of that, they have to be careful about which perfume they use. Although they might be wearing our favorites, if it is a very heavy scent it might be uncomfortable for other passengers, their colleagues, or even for the pilots, when they interact with them.
3. They aren’t supposed to lift your bag.
They are not allowed to lift passengers’ bags, and doing so would be very detrimental to their health. They are supposed to (and happily do) assist you with putting your bag up in the overhead lockers, from a coaching perspective. But it is not their job to stow your luggage — doing this for 200 passengers on each flight, 4 times a day, would seriously affect their back.
4. They aren’t supposed to run down the aisle.
Flight attendants try their best to deliver the best service on board, but there might be situations where they are running out of time, like on shorter flights for example, and they have a lot of things to take care of. Even so, they are not allowed to run down the aisle going from the front galley to the back galley. It doesn’t look good in front of the passengers and they might also stumble and fall.
5. They aren’t allowed to eat or drink in front of the passengers.
The cabin crew are human too. And they also need their nutrients to function properly at 35,000 feet. But we try to do it out of the passengers’ sight. In most airplanes, galleys are separated from the cabin by a curtain. If you go to the toilet and see the curtain pulled, that means the flight attendants from your flight are having their lunch break or nightly meal.
6. They aren’t allowed to use headphones.
If you have a crying baby next to you or a loud talker, you might be tempted to put your headphones or earphones on and cancel out the noise. Flight attendants can’t do that. Their ears are valuable assets for your safety.
They need to be able to hear everything in the cabin and they actually have specific sounds that depict emergencies, lavatory smoke, and passenger calls. They also undergo an ear test during their medical exam when they renew their license.
7. They can’t be too short or too tall.
Although in the past there was a height restriction, this is not the case anymore. However, depending on the company, some might still have some requirements. The most common one is that if the potential flight attendants are too short to open the overhead locker, they cannot be hired as they will not be able to take out luggage or retrieve medical kits from there.
On the other hand, if they are too tall, some emergency procedures might be impractical for them, so it is again a “no-go.” Some companies just measure height, others have an arm reach test on the selection day.
8. They aren’t allowed to wear too much jewelry.
This is a rule that changes from airline to airline, but very bulky and showy rings or necklaces are prohibited. They are only allowed to wear small and discrete jewelry, like one or 2 rings, one small necklace, and discreet earrings. Big hoops or dangly earrings might impede them from using some equipment, so it might be a safety issue. Piercings and nose rings are out of the question.
9. They are obligated to always wear a watch.
Time is crucial. They always need to know the time to reach the aircraft, to board, to start the service, to disembark. Basically, they need it for all of their duties. They are obligated to wear one at all times, and it has to be analog, showing seconds, because they need it for emergency situations.
Smartwatches are allowed, but they have to carry a second watch in their bag at all times. Fancy, shiny ones are prohibited.
10. They aren’t allowed to have tattoos.
This changes from company to company, but the common requirement is that they are not allowed to have any visible tattoos. Visible basically means any part of the body not covered by the uniform, which can mean arms, legs, neck, or face.
11. They aren’t allowed to accept tips.
Being in an airplane is not the same as being in a restaurant. They are not allowed to accept tips since their main reason for being there is to keep everyone safe, the food and drink service comes in second place. If you want to show your appreciation toward them, just be nice, friendly, and polite.
12. They aren’t allowed to sleep during flights.
It can be quite a tiring job jumping from time zone to time zone, but even so, they are not allowed to catch up on the missing hours on their flights. There is an exception though. If flight attendants are operating long flights, like transcontinental ones, they have their own sleeping area and they are actually obligated to take rest time. These crews usually work in shifts.
13. They aren’t allowed to not wear makeup.
Female flight attendants aren’t allowed to come to a flight with a bare face, meaning no makeup. But they should also be mindful and not come with really intense makeup. Their makeup should look natural, no black lipstick and/or smoky eyes are allowed.
14. They aren’t allowed to have a black manicure.
Manicures are very important for flight attendants since they interact with the passengers a lot. So their nails should be always short, clean, neat, and well taken care of. Some companies even have rules on what color the manicure should be, no crazy colors or long shapes, and black is a “no-go.”
15. They aren’t allowed to wear their hair down.
Hair below the shoulder should always be tied up in a bun or a ponytail. Some have stricter rules and only buns are allowed. Hair has to be clean, neat, and tidy at all times. Crazy coiffures, dreadlocks, or buns up in the middle of the top of the head are usually not permitted.
16. They aren’t allowed to have crazy hair colors.
The color of their hair also falls under restrictions. Only natural colors are allowed, no pink or green hair. There are flight attendants who dye their hair, but they have to be very careful with their roots. Grown-out roots and different colors in their hair are not allowed.
17. They aren’t allowed to have long beards.
For male flight attendants, grooming is a must. Crazy styles or long beards are not allowed, only short, discreet, and well-groomed beards are permitted. Some companies are even stricter and don’t allow beards at all — they’re only allowed if they are there to hide facial imperfections.
18. Their skirts can be no shorter than knee-length.
The length of the skirt is a big thing to an airline. Female flight attendants are not allowed to have skirts or dresses (and we are talking here about the uniform) shorter than the knee level. Because when you sit down, it goes even higher.
19. They have to have an impeccable smile.
A flight attendants’ smile is the first thing that passengers see while they board. So their teeth should be clean, and neat, with no missing or impaired teeth. Braces are allowed.
20. They aren’t allowed to scream or use bad words.
At all times, the tone of their voice should be irreproachable. They cannot talk loud while in the galley, especially during night flights when the lights should be off and when people are sleeping. They are not allowed to scream either. They are supposed to avoid accents or slang and they always have to exhibit good manners.
21. They must behave while in uniform.
While they are wearing the uniform, they are not permitted to behave in any disrespectful way. They represent the airline and its principles, so any swearing, smoking, screaming, or other contemptuous behavior is completely prohibited. This even includes chewing gum.
Which of the things above blew your mind and made you say “Wow, they can’t do that — I had no idea”?