Virgin Atlantic will allow male cabin crew members to wear cosmetics as part of a larger effort by the airline to allow employees to be themselves at work.
The shift was underlined in a new television commercial by the London-based carrier, which attempts to promote the “rich individuality” of the airline’s staff and customers.
The one-minute commercial, set to the renowned LGBTQ+ Pride music of ‘I am what I am,’ is aimed to help Virgin Atlantic stand out from the crowd of other airline employees.
Virgin Atlantic said it came up with the commercial idea after doing research that found many passengers view staff members on other airlines to be impersonal, regardless of how uninformed or well-dressed they appear.
“In contrast, Virgin Atlantic crew are encouraged to be their true selves on board and on the ground,” the airline said in a statement.
“They don’t follow a script and are seen to offer a more personal touch.”
This is the airline’s first commercial campaign in more than two years, and CEO Shia Weiss believes it’s critical that staff are recognized in the airline’s first post-pandemic return to television screens.
“At the core of our business is the understanding that every one of our people can be themselves at work and that they belong,” Weiss said on Thursday.
“They truly are the thing that sets us apart and the reason customers choose to fly with us. We know that the touchpoints that matter most and the experiences that differentiate Virgin Atlantic, are driven by our people and that’s why it was so important they’re at the heart of this campaign.”
Cabin crew service has long been identified as the most important aspect in passenger pleasure, although customers regularly remark that service can appear robotic or programmed.
In early 2019, Virgin Atlantic dropped its obligatory cosmetics regulation for female cabin staff, allowing them to wear slacks and flat shoes for the first time.
British Airways is also claimed to be working on new ‘grooming standards,’ which will allow male cabin crew members to wear makeup and grow long hair.
However, neither British Airways nor Virgin Atlantic has announced intentions for gender-neutral uniforms, and all uniform elements are gender-segregated.
For example, because handbags are only supplied to female-identifying staffers, a non-binary staff employee born as a man or a male-identifying crew member would not be allowed to carry one.