Whether you are an aspiring pilot or advancing for your first airline interview, having a tattoo on your wrist will create uncertainties.
The confusion is evident because, typically, having tattoos is not expected of pilots.
Some may say that having a tattoo is not an obstacle, and some may find having tattoos is prohibited for aviators.
I have discussed in this article why we should not have tattoos as a pilot, similarly, why it is not prohibited.
Pilots can have tattoos like any other professionals, but the distinctness of a pilot’s tattoo does raise questions.
Can pilots have tattoos?
Yes, pilots can have tattoos. Even an airline pilot can have a tattoo, but having visible tattoos as a pilot is discouraged.
Having visible tattoos might not be a problem if you are a general aviation pilot.
However, having visible tattoos as a pilot might bring up issues in airlines.
I don’t have any tattoos, but I have seen a few pilots having tattoos.
Yet they work in airlines.
How can a pilot with tattoos work in the airlines?
Pilots working in the airlines must not have any visible tattoos. Even if a pilot has arm tattoos, they prefer to hide them by wearing full sleeves uniform.
So understand that having a tattoo as a pilot means committing yourself to wear full sleeves at your workplace for a lifetime.
That is not the real problem.
The predicament is during an interview with an airline. Your interviewer might ask you whether you have any tattoos or not.
At this point, you must not lie to the interviewer. Because at some point, they will find out you have tattoos.
Whether your tattoos are visible or not, giving them the true answer is correct.
Hiding body tattoos is easy, but tattoos on arms are difficult to cover.
Remember this, some airlines have strict rules, and you may not get the job just because of having tattoos.
Even a qualified pilot may not land a job in an airliner cockpit merely for having tattoos. These tattoos might be visible or unnoticeable.
Not all airlines have strict regulations on tattoos, but most do not want to hire pilots with tattoos.
Therefore if you are a commercial pilot and dream of working in an airline, do not get any tattoos. At least wait until you operate in an airliner before drawing a tattoo of your favorite airplane on your arms.
Is general aviation strict on tattoos?
A pilot willing to work in general aviation or to fly for recreation will not have any trouble having tattoos.
I say that because, in general aviation, a pilot will not have to face hundreds of passengers frequently—thus, the lesser chance of people judging a pilot by their tattoos.
Likewise, the Civil Aviation Body has no regulation prohibiting a tattooed person from acquiring a pilot license.
Why can’t pilots have tattoos?
Many people consider tattoos as not professional. On the contrary, airline pilots symbolize professionalism and responsible person.
I am not saying every person on earth with a tattoo is irresponsible. I know several tattooed people, and they are the most humble and kindest people I have ever met. They can be responsible and better than many other individuals.
However, not everyone thinks like me. People today are very judgemental and immediately asses a person merely by looks.
Many people who travel by air might associate a tattoed person with a different lifestyle.
Strange pictures reflect when they see a tattooed person in a person’s mind.
Millions of people travel by air, and thousands are in the airport. It is unlikely for one of your passengers not to judge you just by your appearance.
Among the many diverse people in the airport, at least one person will adversely see a pilot with visible tattoos.
What are my opinions about tattooed pilots?
I find it cool to have tattoos and be a responsible pilot.
But another individual, probably a senior citizen, may look at a pilot with tattoos and fear that this guy cannot be a good pilot.
I am merely giving an example, so don’t take it seriously.
Thus, airlines prefer pilots not to have visible tattoos to build an excellent image. So, indeed during an interview, you may prove qualified to work in the airlines. Still, they may pick another applicant to give your a position with similar qualifications to yours.
Thus do you think getting tattoos over getting an airline job is necessary?
Only you can answer this question. Everyone’s answer will differ depending on individual aviation industry goals.
If you believe having a tattoo matter more, it is your decision, and I must not judge you.
But if you intend to work in the airliner cockpit, ensure your tattoos are not visible.
Or get a tattoo that your pilot uniform can cover.
The impact of tattoos on your professional pilot career. Aviation regulations on inked skin. Get insights on airline tattoo policies.