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British Airways will allow male crew to wear make-up and 'man buns'

british airways
british airways

Male crew at British Airways will be allowed to wear make-up and "man buns" in the flag-carrier’s latest attempt to foster an “inclusive” environment.

The company said it wanted workers to be the “most authentic version of themselves” as it relaxed uniform guidelines, telling staff to be “be bold, be proud, be yourself”.

Male pilots will be allowed to wear eyeliner if they so choose, while more colourful nail polish and false eyelashes are now an option for crew of both genders.

Last year British Airways dropped the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” from its onboard announcements, in a drive to celebrate the “diversity and inclusion” of its customers.

It has yet to go as far as rival Virgin Atlantic, however, which in September started allowing male cabin and crew to wear skirts and their female colleagues to wear trousers.

The move by Sir Richard Branson’s airline marked a first for the UK aviation industry, and comes alongside other reforms such as no longer requiring staff to cover up their tattoos.

Shai Weiss, Virgin’s chief executive, said this month that job applications to the airline have doubled since it changed the dress code, helping it grapple with a tight labour market.

The more relaxed British Airways rules cover accessories and make-up rather than the uniform itself, although new uniforms are also being developed.

Male crew have previously had to keep their hair short but will now be able to grow it below the neck tied up in a man bun. Crew will be allowed to take handbags on board, under changes to the rules for luggage in the cabin.

Airlines are battling to recover from the slump in demand triggered by the pandemic. Passengers are returning but surging fuel prices amid Russia’s war on Ukraine is creating new pressures.

British Airways’ owner, International Consolidated Airlines Group, last month reported profits of €1.2bn (£1.1bn) for the three months to Sept 30, compared to a loss of €452m the previous year.

A spokesman for BA said: “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.”