No Color in the Skies: Turkish Airlines Bans Bright Lips and Nails?


The stewardesses of yesteryear (anyone see Mad Men the other night?) must be absolutely furious. Turkish Airlines has taken it upon themselves to ban their flight  attendants from wearing red—and “hot pink”—lipstick and nail polish. Their reasoning: such colorful displays “impair visual integrity.” Ha! Are you kidding me, Turkish Airlines?

When I look over imagery from the 60’s and 70’s of air travel, I cannot help but be amazed by the types of outfits, hair styles and makeup that were commonplace. It was an industry where class shone through, as being able to take a plane trip meant you were well-to-do enough to afford one. What it demanded was a specific standard of attire, and the accompanying service that one would expect from such an expense. Maybe this is the slightly old-school man coming out in me, but stewardesses are meant to be eye-catching, beautify the brand, and get you to down a number of rum and cokes before falling victim and purchasing something you don’t actually need from the over-priced and severely-limited catalogues.

This to me seems like an absolutely stupid idea by someone who is seriously threatening the customer service standards of Turkish Airlines. Makeup is a form of self-expression. It allows one to feel more comfortable in the skin they’re in, literally putting their best face forward, promoting outward confidence to aid in whatever it is they’re partaking, in this case promoting a brand and raising the level of customer service standards for Europe’s fourth largest airline carrier.

This isn’t just about the paying customers though, Turkish Airways are stripping their attendants of their right to individuality. The women (and men) that don those rather pitiful outfits these days are working a rather thankless job. This would be one of those gigs where you just can’t say, “try being in their shoes.” People get on planes to get away from work, I don’t think many of us could actually image working for hours on end at 30,000 feet, at ridiculous times, and crossing numerous time zones while constantly dealing with screaming babies and snoring old men. Turkish Airlines can’t actually be serious, can they???

(Into The Gloss: Red Lipstick on a Plane!)


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