Qantas updates gendered uniform rules to allow make-up and long hair for all cabin crew

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 28: A Qantas cabin crew member on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft during a media visit on October 28, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Australia's international borders will reopen from Monday November 1, with fully vaccinated international arrivals able to travel into New South Wales and Victoria without needing to quarantine. Australian citizens will also be able to freely travel overseas from 1 November without requiring an exemption from the federal government and Border Force. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Qantas is the latest airlines to scrap strict in-cabin uniform policies.

In a move toward greater inclusivity, the he Australian-based airline has announced that male cabin crew members will now have the option to wear makeup, while women can bid goodbye to high heels.

Other highlights from the relaxed uniform policy update include: employees of any gender can have long hair if worn in a ponytail or bun, all employees can wear the same type of jewellery including sizes of watches and clear-framed glasses are now allowed. 

The airline has introduced a ‘uniform capsules’ model which replaces gender-specific uniform rules. This new capsule model specifies what uniform can be worn together, along with make-up and grooming requirements. 

This new policy also applies to employees of Qantas’ budget airline Jetsar.

The overhaul comes after an Australian trade criticised Qantas’ previous uniform policy as being outdated and called on the airline to move its policy “into the 21st century.”

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Qantas is based in Australia. (James D. Morgan/Getty)

Imogen Sturni from the Australian Services Union – who campaigned for the updated policy told the BBC that the previous policy included ridiculous requirements like “makeup style guides and a requirement for women to wear smaller watches than men.”

Responding to changing fashions and the call for greater flexibility, Qantas stated that their uniform standards have always sought to mirror contemporary trends.

“We’re proud of our diversity and as well as bringing our guidelines up to date, these changes will make wearing our uniform more comfortable and practical,” the airline said in a statement. 

“Our iconic uniforms are loved around the world – and they aren’t changing. Our customers will still see the same high standards of grooming and attention to detail that Qantas and Jetstar are known for.”

Qantas’ decision to modernise their dress code and put less emphasis on the gender binary comes nearly a year after fellow long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic opted for a more inclusive uniform policy.

After the UK-headquartered airline announced that all cabin crew could display their pronouns on name badges and wear clothes that express how they identify or present themselves, job applications doubled.

However, the company then took a slight diversion on that policy in September when the policy was scrapped to protect employees travelling with England’s World Cup team on their way to Qatar.

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