Can Airline Pilots Have Long Hair?

Pilots are known for their short haircuts and neatly shaven beards. But some of the best pilots in history had long hair, including Chuck Yeager, who was a famous pilot for many years.

However, the aviation industry continually evolves and the appearance policy of the FAA has changed a lot in the last decades.

Can Airline Pilots Have Long Hair

This does not only apply to the dress code of pilots but also their hair.

We take a look at whether airline pilots can have long hair. We also explore different appearance policies for a male and female pilot.

Can Pilots Have Long Hair?

There are a vast range of rules and regulations in aviation around the appearance of the pilot. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set these rules, and airlines typically work with these rules.

However, they can also extend the FAA guidelines and provide a guide for their airline staff. This is the case for flights, as well as dress code and hairstyle.

The FAA has strict regulations regarding hairstyles for pilots. Hair length should be no longer than 2 inches from the scalp for men, and 4 inches for women.

Pilots must keep their hair clean and trimmed. The military shortcut for male pilots has been a long tradition which originated with a US Air Force benchmark.

Although the haircut of a pilot will likely not affect the performance and response time while flying, the traditional military buzz cut has been around for many years.

Hairstyle For Male Pilots

Male pilots have a few different options when it comes to hairstyles. They can wear a crew cut, which is usually shorter on top and slightly longer on the sides.

Another option is the fade haircut, where the back of the head is shaved while the front remains slightly longer.
The third style is the buzz cut, in which all the hair is removed, and it is closely shaven.

All male pilots must ensure that their hair is neatly trimmed and looks professional.

It is important to maintain an air of professionalism at all times. This applies to the hairstyle, as well as facial hair and dress code.

Hairstyle For Female Pilots

Female pilots have slightly more freedom when it comes to hairstyle. They can grow their hair up to a length of 4 inches, or up to the length above the bottom edge of the shirt collar.

Similar to the hairstyle for male pilots, this length for female pilots has emerged from of the US Air Force standard.
Pilots must be able to wear a hat and safety equipment in cases of emergency.

Why Is There A Rule For Pilots’ Hair Length?

airline pilot

In order to make sure that the pilot is ready to fly, there are certain standards that need to be met.

For example, the pilot needs to be able to see clearly over the cockpit instruments. This means that he needs to have enough room to move his head without hair getting in the way.

This rule was made to prevent any distractions that could cause problems while flying.

Many people have argued that having a short haircut would help a pilot to focus better, but having long hair doesn’t mean that you’ll get distracted easily.

In addition to ensuring visibility at all times while flying, there is also a safety concern related to equipment.

Pilots need to be able to wear any emergency equipment, such as an oxygen facemask, when the cockpit air pressure drops.

Longer hair might make it harder to have the equipment fit properly.

Can Pilots Dye Their Hair?

While some airlines allow their pilots to dye their hair, others don’t. However, if your airline allows it, then you should follow the rules set by them.

You may want to consider asking your employer about this before you start making changes.

If you do decide to dye your hair, remember that it needs to be a natural color, such as brown, blonde or black.

Are Pilots Allowed To Have Facial Hair?

There are some airlines that make an exception. However, most airlines do not allow their pilots to grow any kind of facial hair.

Some airlines do allow mustaches, or sideburns that do not go lower than the ear lobe.

However, the area below the upper lip must always be neatly shaven and trimmed.

Why Can’t Pilots Have Beards?

While some airlines allow beards, they still require that the beard be neat and tidy. Beard growth tends to be thicker and bushier than other hairs.

This may interfere with any safety equipment that a pilot needs to wear in emergency situations. This is particularly the case for oxygen masks.

If a pilot has thick facial hair, then the oxygen mask may not fit properly which could mean that the pilot doesn’t get enough air.

This could cause the pilot to become unconscious, and would leave the plane vulnerable to crashing.

How Does The Pilot’s Dress Code Affect His Appearance?

airline pilot

When it comes to appearance, the airline will have its own guidelines on what is considered appropriate.

These rules apply to both men and women who work for the company.

The airline will usually specify whether the pilot should wear a suit or more casual clothes.

It is also common for the airline to specify how much makeup a female pilot is allowed to use.

Grooming Tips For Airline Pilots

As mentioned before, it is important for pilots to look professional, and many airlines have certain grooming standards in place that ensure this.

A commercial pilot needs to take care of his appearance at all times.

Here are some grooming tips for male and female pilots.


It is essential to keep a clean and neat appearance. Make sure that there is no body odor, including no excessive perfume or cologne smell.

As a pilot, you spend a lot of time with people in a small space, which means that body odors quickly have a negative impact on other travelers.


Trimming your beard is essential for keeping it neat and tidy. If you don’t trim your beard regularly, then you risk growing out patches that can make it difficult to put on any emergency equipment.

For women, shaving underarms is also recommended. It helps to prevent unsightly sweat stains from appearing on shirts and pants.


Having a regular haircut is also very important. You want to avoid getting any unruly hair that may interfere with wearing any safety equipment.


Women can apply basic makeup that matches their skin tone. Any strong colors should be avoided.


You need to maintain good physical fitness so that you remain healthy and able to perform your duties.

Flights can be very long and a pilot needs to stay alert and conscious at all times.

This means that pilots should follow a good diet, as well as a healthy sleep pattern and regular exercise.


Piloting is an exciting job that requires a great deal of responsibility and commitment.

Looking after yourself and ensuring that your appearance is always neat is part of this commitment.

While there are a lot of rules and regulations, including the hair length of pilots, they can be easily integrated into your daily routine.

Jacob Stern
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