12° Nicosia,
21 May, 2024

British Airways goes gender neutral

Male pilots and cabin crew told they can wear make-up and carry handbags regardless of gender and sexual identity

Source: Daily Mail

British Airways will allow male pilots to wear make-up and carry handbags in an overhaul of the airliner's strict uniform rules.

Airline bosses reportedly told staff in an internal memo yesterday 'be bold, be proud, be yourself' and said they hoped the refreshed guidance would be 'embraced by everyone regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, background, culture, sexual identity, or otherwise'.

BA was said to be nearing the end of a review of its longstanding uniform policy after rival Virgin Atlantic announced it was making its traditional male and female uniform gender-neutral.

Its uniform guidelines have traditionally been divided by gender, but recently it has tried to modernize its image and last year dropped 'ladies and gentlemen' in announcements in a bid to make 'all customers feel welcome'.

Male pilots and cabin crew at BA have been told they can wear a 'touch of mascara and lip color' and false eyelashes, and paint their nails.

Strict rules on hairstyles have also been eased - meaning men may now wear 'man buns' - and all staff may now wear a handbag, regardless of their sex or gender identity.

But the airliner will still keep its ban on visible tattoos and will retain female gender-specific uniforms.

A BA spokesperson told MailOnline: 'We are proud of all of our colleagues at British Airways and we are committed to an inclusive working environment.

'We have worked with our people to create updated guidelines for grooming, beauty and accessories, allowing our colleagues to bring the best, most authentic version of themselves to work every day.'

Virgin Atlantic updated its uniform policy to remove gendered clothing requirements in September.

Staff including plane crew and pilots may choose which uniform they wear: the company's 'red' option, previously most commonly worn by female flight attendants, or the 'burgundy' option, previously worn by male flight attendants. This includes allowing men to wear skirts and women to wear trousers, as well as increasing the uniform options available to non-binary staff members.

They are also introducing pronoun badges in a bid to allow staff to 'wear uniforms that express their true identity'.

The airline has teamed up with RuPaul's Drag Race star Michelle Visage in a bid to 'reflect the diversity of its workforce' and 'offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms.

The company said the change makes it 'the most inclusive airline in the skies' and its employees are among those who have praised the changes on social media.

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