If you’ve ever taken a flight or want to become a flight attendant, you’ve probably noticed that flight attendants are the picture of professionalism with their meticulous appearance and highly presentable uniforms.

So you might be wondering if flight attendants can have piercings or if they distract from the appearance airlines are going for.

Typically, flight attendants aren’t allowed to have piercings except for small, discrete studs and earrings that don’t call attention to themselves.

But there’s much more you need to know about piercings, though, especially if you want to become a flight attendant.

Piercings Flight Attendants Are Forbidden From Having

Practically all airlines in the world forbid their flight attendants from having the following piercings:

  • Nose, lip and tongue piercings
  • Eyebrow and wrist piercings
  • Large hoops, industrial and dangly ear piercings
  • Brightly colored piercings

Piercings Flight Attendants Are Allowed to Have

The list of piercings that flight attendants are allowed to have is very short: one pair of small earrings or studs.

Additionally, the earrings or studs:

  • Must be gold, silver, pearl or diamond colored
  • Must be matching

2 Reasons Why Flight Attendants Aren’t Allowed to Have Piercings

There are two reasons why flight attendants aren’t allowed to have piercings: safety and appearance.


Piercings can become a hazard while onboard, especially during unexpected, dangerous situations.

For example, while earrings are allowed, there are usually restrictions on their size and type, as larger earrings may interfere when putting on a life jacket, oxygen mask or smoke hood.

A tongue or lip piercing may interfere with clear communication, especially when the use of an emergency whistle or megaphone is required.


It’s no secret that airlines are big on appearances, especially when it comes to the people that represent them – i.e. flight attendants. Flight attendants are effectively the face of the airline.

On a daily basis, flight attendants interact with people from all types of backgrounds, cultures, and countries.

It’s therefore better for airlines to play it safe and to have the people who work and represent the airline take on a more traditional appearance that is unlikely to cause offense.

Airlines That Allow Flight Attendants to Have Piercings

Airlines around the world are practically all aligned when it comes to piercings – discrete earrings or studs are allowed, everything else isn’t.

However, United Airlines have revised appearance standards in an effort to create a “more inclusive culture…to provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today”.

Flight attendants who work for United are now allowed to have nose piercings. Any nose piercing, though, should still be discrete and not overly obvious.

It wouldn’t surprise us if more airlines follow suit and revise their appearance standards in the coming years.

Male Flight Attendants Can’t Have Any Piercings

While female flight attendants are allowed to have one piercing on each ear, male flight attendants are usually forbidden from having any piercings at all.

However, some airlines permit men to wear small, discrete studs in both ears, though this is usually not the norm.

Piercings and the Flight Attendant Interview Process

As mentioned, female flight attendants are allowed to wear one set of earrings.

Besides this, it is highly advised that you remove any other piercings during the interview process as well as at any point during the hiring process, including during flight attendant training.

This is because becoming a flight attendant is highly competitive, so you want to give yourself every opportunity to be seen as the picture of professionalism.

Removing your piercings also demonstrates that you have the foresight to plan ahead and know what is required of a flight attendant.

Other Appearance Standards Flight Attendants Must Follow

Besides flight attendants not being allowed to have piercings, flight attendants also aren’t allowed to have visible tattoos.

Even if you are able to cover the tattoo with makeup, it still isn’t allowed, as the makeup can wash off or wear off on long haul flights.

Flight attendants are allowed to have acrylic, natural, gel, or any other type of nails, but they should be in a shorter, more conservative style.

In short, unlike piercings and tattoos, there are no universal appearance standards that all flight attendants must follow.

It comes down to the airline and their specific appearance standards.

If in doubt, a good guideline to follow is a “groomed look that meets conventional standards.”

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Patricia is a senior flight attendant with over 20 years of experience working for a major U.S. airline, primarily on international long haul flights.
Patricia is passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise about the unique lives flight attendants lead, offers valuable insights on what it takes to become a flight attendant and what the job entails.
Patricia has been quoted or mentioned in major publications, including Newsweek.