Airline reveals why having a beard could be safety issue on a flight

AIRLINES have revealed that pilots have to shave their beards to ensure an important safety feature works effectively.

There is no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy that forces pilots to shave, however, for safety many do.

Some airlines have detailed specifics regarding a pilot's facial hair


Some airlines have detailed specifics regarding a pilot’s facial hairCredit: Getty – Contributor

To ensure oxygen masks fit “snugly” many airlines have introduced policies requiring crewmembers to have no or minimal beards.

American Airlines, among others, tailored their policies based on an FAA study called “The Influence of Beards on Oxygen Mask Efficiency” published in 1987.

The document claimed that “Bearded crewmembers should be aware that oxygen mask efficiency is reduced by the presence of facial hair”.

Some airlines have detailed specifics regarding a pilot’s facial hair.

Delta Air Lines, for example, allows sideburns but can’t extend below the middle of the ear.

Similarly, pilots can have a moustache, but it must kept neat and can’t extend past the corners of the mouth.

Whereas, beards are forbidden per Delta’s rules, who won’t tolerate even a few facial hairs covering part of your chin or cheek.

A Delta spokesperson told Thrillist that the airline’s facial hair policy stems from “the need for an oxygen mask to maintain a good seal in the event of an emergency”.

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American Airlines requires pilots to be clean-shaven for the same reason.

“We do not allow pilots with facial hair to be on active duty,” an American Airlines spokesperson said.

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Reportedly, a few airlines do allow their pilots to have beards while on duty.

Hawaiian Airlines is one of those, and they do not require its pilots to be clean-shaven, according to multiple aviation forums.

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