Throughout my career at Etihad Airways there have been (and still exists) rules that you must strictly follow, although sometimes infringed because of certain factors. There were two precise sets: The Grooming Manual, which highlighted standards required by the company in that particular area and The Conduct Code. These rules were available in 2012, the year I decided to come back home after 8 years in the aviation.
The grooming standards at Etihad Airways had to be strictly followed so as to protect the professional image of flight attendants onboard during the program (while on duty).
- It is mandatory that, when a flight attendant wears the uniform, to also wear make-up. Regarding this aspect, I can tell you that 6 make-up products are required: foundation, eye-shadow, mascara, blush, red lipstick and nail polish.
- Your hair colour must be natural or a maximum of 2 shades lighter or darker.
- Airport security check labels(stickers) on suitcases must be peeled off each time.
- Necklaces or bracelets are not allowed while wearing the uniform.
- You may only wear two plain rings, one on each hand.
- Tattoos and piercings mustn’t be in plain sight.
- Chewing gum isn’t allowed while in uniform.
- Using mobile phones or iPods (for listening to music) isn’t allowed while in uniform, this is only allowed while flight attendants travel by bus from their homes to the airport or vice versa.
- Flight attendants are not allowed to have alcohol in their homes unless a license (authorization) for use is obtained.
- If a flight attendant pays a visit to the company’s offices in their spare time, they must wear a business attire, a casual attire like jeans, sports clothing and so on isn’t allowed. Wearing the identification badge (company ID) is required in any of the company’s offices or while visiting the airport.
- Visitors must leave flight attendants’ homes before 1:00 am. No one enters the building illegally as there is a guard that monitors the entrance (there are cameras even inside the elevators). Friends or family are allowed to live with flight attendants if they obtains the consent of the company and fellow house-mates. Attention, it is not both parents that are allowed to sleep inside the apartment, only the mother of the female who works as a flight attendant or the father of the male employed as a flight attendant. Only friends of the same sex are allowed to live with you.
- If flight attendants arrive a few minutes late for the flight briefing, they are sent back home (offloaded), removed from the flight list, and given a warning letter.
- Abortions are prohibited in the UAE.
- During the Ramadan, eating and drinking in public places is forbidden, chewing gum included.
You must be fully aware that the company employee acts as its ambassador and should mind their attitude, behaviour, posture and language. You are always in the spotlight and constantly being monitored so as not to damage the image of the company.
For a better control of the employees’ activity or behaviour, and now we are talking about flight attendants, there is this custom of encouraging relationships based on the premises: “If ‘x’ rule is disobeyed, the following sanctions apply…”.
Regardless of the Etihad Airways rules, being a flight attendant is marvellous. Of course there is a lot of work and the rules seem intimidating, but this job brings you so many satisfactions.
Happy landing, darlings!