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Major Airline Drops Mandatory Makeup Rule

Virgin Atlantic attendants are also being provided with pants
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2019 7:08 AM CST
Richard Branson, center, founder of Virgin Atlantic and the Virgin Group, poses for a photo with cabin crew members after he arriv,ed on a flight from London to Seattle, Monday, March 27, 2017.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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(Newser) – Female cabin crew at Virgin Atlantic can now follow the same rule as their male counterparts: If they don't want to wear makeup, they don't have to. The airline says makeup is now optional, but female flight attendants are welcome to choose from the "existing palette of makeup set out in Virgin Atlantic's guidelines," CBS reports. Female Virgin attendants will also be issued with pants as part of their uniform instead of having to request them, the airline says. Some low-cost carriers like Ryanair have already relaxed requirements, but the decision of established long-haul carrier Virgin to drop mandatory makeup rules is being seen as a major shift in a conservative industry, the Guardian reports.

Virgin Atlantic spokesman Mark Anderson says the airline has been "listening to the views" of its workers, the BBC reports. "Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work." Virgin rival British Airways still requires female flight attendants to wear makeup—uniform guidelines seen by the Guardian call for women to wear lipstick and "conceal obvious blemishes ... wherever possible"—but the airline decided in 2016 to allow them to choose pants instead of skirts. (In 2016 American Airlines flight attendants called for a full recall of new uniforms they believed were linked to health issues.)

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