Qantas has banned its pilots from chewing gum, wearing earrings, smoking or growing handlebar moustaches, in new guidelines that have been criticised as old-fashioned and better suited to flying boats than planes.
Pilots at the Australian airline were apparently annoyed by a requirement to wear their jackets buttoned up when travelling to their aircraft unless they are in the tropics or the temperature is higher than 27C.
Some were upset at having to wear new white hats which include a badge featuring a kangaroo. "The white cap is supposed to take us back to the days of flying boats but it's 2016, not the 1940s," one pilot said, according to a Fairfax Media report. "We don't fly flying boats, we fly aeroplanes."
The rules were contained in a 23-page booklet issued by the carrier to pilots before they start wearing new uniforms from yesterday.
Pilots are required not to "use a backpack or rucksack when in uniform", "chew gum or drink alcohol in uniform" or "smoke when in uniform in view of the public". Jackets must be buttoned up and pilots are required to wear their hats when walking through airport terminals.
Hair length "that falls onto eyebrows or shirt collar" has been deemed unacceptable. Moustaches are allowed but "the outline of the upper lip shall clearly be visible". "Long moustaches such as handlebar, horseshoe (or 'trucker') and similar styles are unacceptable," the guidelines say.
Earrings can be worn only by female pilots but "should be plain round pearl, silver, gold or diamond studs". The guidelines add: "Wearing visible facial jewellery including the piercing of noses, eyebrows, tongues and mouths is not acceptable when in uniform.
"Make-up should ... look natural and blend with the uniform. Brightly coloured or sparkly eyeshadow should not be worn."
The strict standards were designed to ensure pilots upheld their image as a "trusted, experienced ambassador of the Qantas brand".
A survey of almost 1300 Qantas pilots by the Australian and International Pilots Association reportedly found overall satisfaction with the new rules but a majority were critical of aspects of the uniform such as the wing design, epaulettes and the badge on their new hats.
Nathan Safe, the association's president, told Fairfax Media: "They are obviously trying to align it with the practice of a lot of other airlines."