Qantas has overhauled its dress code for flight attendants by lifting a longstanding requirement for women to wear makeup and heels — while also allowing men to grow their hair out and even wear cornrows.
The Australian airline announced changes to the dress code for the first time in 10 years — sparking allegations online that the Australian company has bowed to the “woke” mob.
Qantas, headquartered in Sydney, said it is doing away with “male” and “female” uniform categories altogether.
Unions representing flight attendants had been lobbying the airline to make uniforms “more comfortable and practical” for staff.
“Our iconic uniforms are loved around the world — and they aren’t changing.”
“Today, our employees can choose whether or not to wear makeup, flat shoes and boots are in, and strict rules on watch sizes are out,” the airline said.
Tattoos are still required to be concealed and hosiery must be worn with a dress or skirt, though all employees can now wear makeup and the same type of jewellery.
Guideline clarifications have also been made to cater to people with curly hair or corn rows, as well as staff with cultural or religious style preferences.
“These changes will make wearing our uniform more comfortable and practical for all of our people, including those with a wide range of body types and those from diverse cultural backgrounds,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
On Twitter, social media users panned the new guidelines.
“Yes it’s vital in this day and age to signal your solidarity with the church of the woke,” one Twitter user commented.
Another Twitter user wrote that the changes were an example of “woke madness.”
One Twitter commenter vowed: “I’m simply shook. Never flying Qantas again.”
Qantas is the latest airline to announce that it will allow flight attendants to alter their appearance in a way that conforms to their individual lifestyles and preferences.
Last month, United Airlines announced that it would give flight attendants the option of having their personal pronouns printed on their employee wings and name tags.
The change will be implemented beginning later this year.
“This new feature gives our employees the option to celebrate their years of service with our airline while also identifying in the way that feels most true to themselves,” United said.
Last year, the UK-based Virgin Atlantic began allowing its flight attendants to wear any uniform they chose regardless of gender.
WestJet, the regional carrier, introduced gender-neutral uniforms and did away with “male” and “female” categories.
In 2019, Air Canada said its flight crews will no longer greet passengers as “ladies and gentlemen,” instead opting to use the gender-neutral term “everybody.”
In 2021, Lufthansa, the German carrier, announced a similar policy change.