American Airlines is cracking down on flight attendants who aren’t wearing their uniforms correctly, or who violate the carrier’s appearance standards. A message went out from a flight service manager to flight attendants earlier this week. It announces a goal of 100% uniform compliance, and warns that flight service managers will be in airports conducting checks and to write up crew.
The message to flight attendants when their current uniforms were launched at the start of March 2020, just as the pandemic took hold, was that they were going to prioritize making sure uniforms are worn as instructed, to the point of specifying when the winter coat can be worn and when cabin crew can roll up their sleeves.
Here’s the Flight Service uniform standards guide that was issued at that time. In addition to detailing how the uniform should be worn it also reinforces behavioral rules such as:
- Crewmembers “may not purchase or consume alcoholic beverages, gamble, or sit ata bar, including for the purpose of consuming food.”
- In addition they aren’t supposed to use “cellphones, smart watches, headphones, etc.” while “onboard the aircraft with customers”
- They cannot sit on baggage belts or electric carts, and avoid chewing gum in customer view
The female dress may not be more than 1 inch above or below “the crease at the back of the knee.” The ‘all season coat’ may only be worn “during extreme cold or inclement weather while outside the terminal in the elements.” I think that makes the coat not ‘all season’. And who is wearing a vest with no shirt underneath?
Some of the airline’s grooming standards surprise me. For instance, female nail polish has to be the same color on each nail (but no green, orange or yellow). No glitter or artwork on fingernails is permitted. If any nails chip then “all polish must be removed.” While some rules seem strict, I predicted that enforcement wouldn’t be meaningful and thus rules wouldn’t be followed over time. That was true, which is why there seems to be a new push to add enforcement.