The airline said it is gradually implementing changes to its crew member style guide.

Photo: Airbus

Catalonian labor inspectors in Spain have fined Vueling for its treatment of female cabin crew members. The Spanish low-cost carrier has been ordered to pay over $30,000 after being criticized for its non-inclusive dress code guidelines.

The airline reportedly imposed fewer rules for the look of male crew members in uniform. The controversy comes after Vueling said it has been working on promoting an inclusive image for more than a year.

Strict rules

According to AeroTime, local reports indicated that female cabin crew members were instructed by the carrier to wear high heels and make-up while on duty. Female flight attendants were also prohibited from wearing eyelash extensions or lipstick in a distracting color.

Vueling aircraft taking off

Photo: Lucas RS/Shutterstock

Foundation must have matched the crew member’s skin tone among the rules, and black mascara was the only type permitted. Female flight attendants were also instructed to wear shoes with a heel between two and three inches.

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Fined over $30,000

In contrast, male crew members were told to maintain a “clean and neat appearance” and were not instructed by the airline on a choice of footwear, according to AeroTime.

The crew member’s union, STAVLA, eventually brought the case to the attention of the Catalan government’s labor and workers department. Vueling was reportedly fined around $32,000 and was informed that its dress code guidelines could still maintain a business-appropriate image in a less burdensome and more balanced manner that was more inclusive of the fundamental rights of its employees.

As reported by Newsweek, the fine is significant, according to Spanish newspaper El Periódico, as it’s among the first to take aim at the aesthetic expectations around female airline staff in Spain.

The Labor Inspectorate of Catalonia initiated the process, reportedly including a sanction proposal. According to Newsweek, the carrier said,

“The procedure opened by the labor inspectorate in Catalonia, which is following its legal course, includes a proposed sanction that is not yet final, and the company has the right to present allegations, which it is studying.”

Changes have been “gradually implemented”

Vueling has been reviewing its crew member style guide while concurrently working on an inclusive image for more than a year now.

“We always consider any concerns that our crew may have and these are factored into decision-making and implementation,” the airline told AeroTime. “The company’s aim with the dress code is to always ensure comfort and safety in all environments. In fact, the style guide was drafted with the cooperation of the crew member representatives.”

Vueling Airbus A320 taxiing in Madrid

Photo: Ivan Berrocal/Shutterstock

A spokesperson for the airline also added that a recent change to the carrier’s style guidelines includes the use of make-up no longer being limited to one specific gender.

“In addition, crew members’ suggestions have been gradually incorporated,” the spokesperson said. “An example of this is the adaptation of the guide with regards to the use of make-up, in which there is now no gender distinction or obligation to wear make-up.”

Vueling is part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), joining British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia.

Sources: AeroTime, Newsweek


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