Virgin Atlantic is getting rid of its mandatory makeup regulations for female cabin crew members, a spokesperson for the U.K.-based airline confirmed to CBS News. The move, coming from a major airline, represents a symbolic shift in an industry long notorious for its requirements that flight attendants maintain a level of physical appearance.
The airline’s female crew members, who typically don snug red skirts for their uniforms, will be also given trousers upon joining, rather than having to request them, according to Virgin Atlantic Executive Vice President Mark Anderson. If they choose to, flight attendants are “welcome” to wear any of the company’s “existing palette of makeup set out in Virgin Atlantic’s guidelines” the company states.
“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,” Anderson said. “Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company.”
The changes were made after feedback from employees at the company, according to Anderson.
Some of the airline’s newer competitors, such as EasyJet and Ryanair, typically have more relatively relaxed rules on uniforms, the BBC reports, while many longer-established airlines still have rules on what makeup must be worn.
Other airline dress code rules are changing, but only gradually. The BBC reports British Airways dropped its no-trouser rule for women in 2016, although it still requires female crew to wear makeup.
Virgin Atlantic’s announcement also comes just weeks after a BBC analysis published in February found the gender pay gap at the airline was widening. According to the report, the gap increased from 28.4 percent last year to 31 percent this year in favor of men.