Cabin crew secrets: Ex flight attendant shares crew’s strict beauty and training rules

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Cabin crew have to take care of their appearance no matter what their airline. Former flight attendant Heather Poole shared in her book Cruising Attitude exactly how much effort is needed. She explained that a plethora of rules dictate everything from how they style their hair to which shade of lipstick they wear.

Poole realised the extent of how strict these rules were on her first day of training.

“[It] was all about grooming,” she wrote.

“It’s common knowledge that flight attendants must be willing to do two things: cut their hair and go anywhere.”

Poole, who had “half wavy and half frizzy” hair had to learn how to “tame” her hair.

“Frizzies on a flight attendant are unacceptable, regardless of humidity,” she said.

“I was schooled on how to smooth and take my unruly hair by creating a classic French twist with three hundred bobby pins and an entire can of hairspray.

“It looked pretty. My scalp hurt. I kept my mouth shut.”

The cabin crew member was told by the instructor: “Don’t forget that appearances are to be maintained at the flight academy from this day forth… even after hours and on weekends.”

Lipstick was a “serious business” as well, Poole detailed.

“It had to be worn at all times”.

Poole’s airline recommended “Clinique red.”

According to the instructor at her training, this was “so passengers can read your lips during an emergency,” although no one knew if he was being serious, she said.

Training to be a flight attendant was no easy feat, Poole explained, and it was an exhausting process.

“When it came to sleep, every second counted,” she penned.

“God forbid any of us dozed off in class during a long-drawn-out monotone lecture over the correct way to organise a beverage cart or the importance of saying hello and good-bye to passengers using a different greeting each time.

“It became a game of who could go the longest without repeating.”

Punishments could be harsh for those who didn’t play by the rules.

“Get caught with your eyes closed during any of this, and you’d get sent packing,” Poole wrote.

As for a girl who dared to wear a glossy nude lipstick instead of Clinique red: “[She] didn’t show up for class [the following day].

“We weren’t surprised by her sudden departure. We had no idea if she had quit or she’d been kicked out.”

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