Can airline pilots have beards?

Can airline pilots have beards

Are you also impressed with the presentation and appearance of commercial airline pilots? The perfect body, groomed face, and nice uniform of the pilot are more than enough to earn the passengers’ trust, even though the real job of pilots is to keep everyone on board safe from takeoff to landing.

The most important grooming element for any man, either pilot or not, is the facial hair, especially the beard. When it comes to flying a plane, there are a few details that you should know before jumping to a conclusion, like whether or not pilots can heave beards.

Commercial airline pilots and general aviation pilots both are equally trained and follow almost equal rules of aviation. Still, there are a few things that general aviation pilots feel more relaxed about compared with commercial airline regulations.

Can Airlines Pilots have beards?

Except for a few airlines ( discussed below ), pilots cannot have beards, and the majority belong to western airlines like United Airlines and Southwest airlines having strict regulations about pilots with beards. A clean-shaven pilot looks handsome and, more importantly, can wear a heavy-duty supplemental oxygen mask to withstand the emergency. Because if the mask isn’t sealed properly, the pilot can face serious consequences like hypoxia ( A state of inadequate oxygen supply ) because of the oxygen leakage, and in serious situations, that leakage can allow the smoke or fumes to penetrate and compromise the pilot’s ability to focus on flying.

Beard is a serious topic of debate among commercial airline pilots because the beard is an important part of the personality of males. Still, pilots have to abide by the regulations of the aviation industry. 

Why don’t Airlines allow Pilots to have beards?

Pilots with no beard

Unfortunately, not a single US-based airline allows beard, especially since the rules are strict for large national airlines like Southwest and United airlines. These airlines have strict protocols to follow the rules and guidelines for mask-fitting.

With time, a handful of US airlines are now relaxing the pilots to have a certain length of facial hair. But other airlines still take this as caution and follow a conservative approach to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

Major airlines with commercial aircraft like Boeing and Airbus do not compromise on such things because larger aircraft are pressurized, especially when flying at higher altitudes. The provision of oxygen is a serious matter for pilots and everyone aboard.

The passengers are requested to wear masks in an emergency; if they don’t, it doesn’t put others in danger. But, pilots with a more sophisticated and heavy-duty mask than the disposable mask of the passengers have to wear the mask because the entire crew is dependent on the pilot.

For reputed airlines, a little risk of thwarting safety is taken seriously, which is why it’s not possible to see changes in regulations regarding beards by such airlines.

That is why most pilots are clean-shaven, and now you also know the big reason behind pilots don’t have beards.

All domestic flights fly with a pressurized cabin when the plane reaches 12,500 feet. Similarly, larger planes with jet engines cruising at 39,000 feet require pilots to wear a tie rebreather oxygen gasmasks th. That’s the beard that interferes with a mask. It’s one of the risks that pilots should not be risking.

Can Pilots have Mustaches?

All pilots are allowed to have mustaches because that doesn’t even come in contact with the mask. The only problem is that when the facial hair of the beard prohibits the mask from properly sealing, crises arise regarding the safety pilot.

You can say that you have no freedom of facial hair below the upper lip, and you are completely free to handle facial hair above the upper lip like a mustache.

Suppose you are a proud owner of a hipster-style beard and also pursuing your career as a pilot. In that case, you must lose your magnificent facial hair to become a pilot because the facial hair below the lip is restricted for commercial airlines due to safety precautions.

A bearded person can acquire a pilot’s license, but for flying a commercial airline, you have to get rid of your beautiful facial hair. Many people spend a lot of time and money growing facial hair to show masculinity.

General aviation has no issues with beards, but private and commercial airline pilots must follow the airline’s rules and shave off facial hair. US aviation authorities have set standards for pilot grooming, and that’s why you would have never encountered a pilot with a bushy beard.

Which Airlines Allow Pilots to have Beard

Many non-US Airlines have less strict rules and regulations for pilots with beards, which changes the entire appearance of the pilots.

Like Canada, Airlines have no restrictions on pilots having beards. Even though their pilots are flying aircraft with pressurized cabins, they have still relaxed their pilots to wear the beard to a certain extent.

With the advancement of technology, the flying plane is getting safer, but western airlines still don’t permit beards.

On the other hand, the Indian airlines with Sikh pilots have made beards for pilots legal. Pakistan Airlines and other UAE airlines have pilots with beards because that’s part of their religion, and the Airlines have no problem with that. Being a pilot in eastern airlines is more flourishing and relaxing than in western airlines, but each airline company has its own rules and regulations, so we don’t get into that debate.

Here’s the list of Airlines allowing the pilots to have beards.

  • IndiGo: Yes
  • JetAirways: Yes
  • Go Air: Yes
  • SpiceJet: Yes
  • Air Asia: Yes
  • Emirates: Yes
  • Qatar Airways: Proper beard
  • Ryanair: Yes
  • Air India: Yes
  • Hawaiin Airline: Yes

Like other airlines, eastern pilots are also allowed to wear oxygen masks even before the passengers; still, a Study by Simon Fraser University says beard won’t let the oxygen reach the nose properly and lungs, which can result in hypoxia or impaired vision, causing the pilot to lose control of the plane.

Despite these facts, the eastern commercial airlines allow the pilots to have light facial hard up to a certain length, but they prevent the pilots from having longer bard enough not to compromise the seal of the oxygen mask.

Some pilots have neatly trimmed facial hair and some moderately-trimmed beards. Still, we never saw a single pilot having an aggressive beard because that creates problems for pilots, and a pilot is well-aware of the consequences of such problems.


How Important is Beard for Pilots?

Facial hair is extremely important for most pilots because not all like to be trimmed neatly. 

Many pilots think that airlines have a vague rule of trimming the beard but honestly speaking if 300 lives depend on pilots, I think it’s worth not having a beard for the safety of passengers.

Many Instagrammer pilots are influencing the aviation industry and discussing these topics publicly, but still, airlines cannot just change the rules easily. 

Wearing a mask during the flight is not optional; pilots are obliged to do anything to ensure the passenger’s safety during emergencies. What would a pilot do if the situation arises, but the beard prevents adequate oxygen? The unsealed gaps can let the oxygen disperse on the sides rather than inside the pilot.

So tight fitting is essential so the beard cannot impede the oxygen mask. The aircraft has only a limited oxygen supply, and no pilot would like that supply wasted in an emergency scenario.

If you are obsessed with your grooming, generation aviation allows you to follow your desired grooming standards. Bearded pilots can rather go with generation aviation to maintain their appearance because there are no pressurized cabins and no restrictions for beards. Therefore, pilots are much more flexible in general aviation, and the appearance of that pilot also doesn’t matter much in general aviation. os

For a commercial airliner, a pilot should look reliable and responsible, and maintaining a professional appearance makes pilots trustworthy.

A pilot with a long and heavy beard might look like a homeless person, and in this modern age, people are judged by their appearance. Hence, pilots have to be more careful and professional than ever because their appearance is the appearance of the airline.

Before 9/11, a certain beard length limit was allowed, but things changed dramatically after that incident. Now, a bearded pilot can portray himself as a terrorist flying a plane.

So, airlines are banning hiring bearded pilots because that can endanger passenger safety. So, do not go for an interview for a commercial airline pilot when you look like a hilly billy.

Bearded Pilots and Rebreather Mask

The reason for the prohibition of beards for commercial pilots is the safety of onboard souls. The rules are the same for a co-pilot and a solo pilot.

Airline aircraft are pressurized airplanes cruising at higher altitudes that require the pilots to wear a partial breather with an external plastic bag that inflates each time pilot exhales. It has only unused oxygen, which is inhaled in the next breath, which is why the mask’s seal is important so that beard hair doesn’t let happen.

The improper wearing of mask results in loss of oxygen that can compromise the pilot’s or co-pilot’s consciousness during the flight.

During an emergency or when the cabin pressurization system fails, the only source of oxygen the pilot and crew members have is the rebreather mask. Imagine for a moment when a pilot has a beard, and the mask won’t fit tightly due to that beard. That loss of oxygen will quickly result in hypoxia, where the body suffers from a lack of oxygen resulting in scray issues like malfunctioning the body and brain.

Because the beard will prevent the seal of the quick donning oxygen mask, the poorly sealed mask will create problems for the pilot.

Pilots and passengers have oxygen masks in the overhead compartment; during emergencies, all are required to put masks over their noses and mouths.

As we discussed earlier, passengers have a cheap disposable single-use plastic cup-tied with an elastic strap to wear tightly. But, pilots have a heavy-duty quick-don mask with a self-inflating full-head harness to ensure proper sealing that protects the pilot from becoming unconscious or unimpaired.

Depressurization can happen for any reason; at that time, the beard could compromise the positive-pressure seal. Although the pilot’s mask has a toggle switch for positive pressure in case of smoke or fume situations, a beard can still come away.

This is why there are strict rules for pilots not to have beards, and that’s one of the security precautions that airlines take to ensure the safety of the crew members, passengers, and plane resulting in the safety of the airline’s reputation.

Why can Pilots not have beards?

Pilots flying a commercial airliner with a pressurized cabin must partially rebreather. That has to seal properly on the face of the pilot, but having a beard won’t let that happen to result in oxygen waste and unconsciousness of the pilot. Therefore, beard-wearer are more vulnerable to smoke inhalation than clean-shaven because clean-shaven faces would have no hair to interfere with a mask.

How Pilots Groom their Beard

Many bearded pilot Instagrammers recommend that other fellow bearded pilots use special shampoo and conditioner for their beards, like Anas Amireh, Jonas softly, petter Coppola Larsen, and M Noordin.

Can Pilots have Beards, Tattoos, and Piercing?

Pilots can have beards, tattoos, and piercings but not when flying a plane.

What type of beard can pilots have?

If your airline allows you to have a beard while flying, there are certain rules you can follow to enjoy a beard. You can maintain a clean-cut beard with a little mustache. Do not attempt to have the biggest worst beard, especially when you are bald. A thick beard can be problematic because hair segments could become lodged in a valve mechanism, causing breathing difficulty, and instability of breathing conditions can be hazardous for crew members.

How long can a Pilots beard be?

Pilots allowed to grow beards can keep the bread length to 12.5 but nicely trimmed.

Why are pilots clean-shaven?

Pilots are clean shaved because a clean shaved is perfect for the mask to maintain a proper seal so that pilot can inhale oxygen only, not the smoke around.

Can pilots grow hair?

Pilots can grow hair but to a certain length because the increased volume of head hair won’t let the mask sit properly.

What type of pilots Can and Can’t Have Beards?

Honestly speaking, except the ambulance pilots, all pilots like military pilots, delta pilots, fighter pilots, FedEx pilots, UPS pilots, Emirates Pilots, and all other types of male pilots can not have beards while flying a plane.


So that was all about pilots having g s and beards, and I did my best to provide the authentic information collected from reputed sources. I hope you would have learned a lot from this article and you will think about the decision of having a beard when going to fly plain.

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