(Bloomberg) -- Air India has issued sweeping new style regulations for its cabin crew, banning everything from gray hair on air stewards to pearls for their female counterparts as new owners seek to reinvent the former state carrier.
The guidelines, seen by Bloomberg News, go into exceeding detail about what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to crew members’ appearance going forward. One style point notes that while the “bald look is permitted,” men with deep receding hairlines or bald patches will be required to shave their heads -- daily. Crew cuts are also barred.
Now part of the Tata Sons Ltd. empire after years of taxpayer-funded bailouts, Air India is also making it mandatory for female cabin crew to wear earrings -- but only gold- or diamond-studded ones in a round shape. No pearls. Women aren’t allowed top knots or buns at the nape of the neck, and all bobby pins used must be the same size and type, the rules state.
- Ties must touch the center of the belt buckle
- Use of hair gel and spray is “mandatory”
- Grey hair must be regularly colored in a natural shade
- For women, blond hair is a no go, and streaking is “strictly not permitted”
- No wigs and sunglasses when in uniform
- Even for layovers or hotel stays, cabin crew can’t wear torn jeans, “revealing” clothes or slippers and flip flops
Representatives for Air India and Tata Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Air India’s requirements are eyebrow-raising at a time when airlines are relaxing rules around crew uniforms amid a post-pandemic shortage of staff. Many Western carriers have long dispensed with requirements around weight and attractiveness that used to be pervasive in the industry, especially for women.
Tight controls aren’t unprecedented, though, especially in Asia. Singapore Airlines is well known for its exacting standards on crew appearance, yet recently eased rules around staff pregnancies.
Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation JSC used flight attendants clad in bikinis on an inaugural route, and Air India was forced to reinstate three flight attendants it had fired for being “overweight” in 2014 following a court order.
--With assistance from Ragini Saxena.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.