Female Pilot and tattoos?

I’m 32 and looking at training to become a pilot, I have no previous experience at all. I was told it might be easier to get on with a major airline once I have the hours and certifications because I’m a female, but I’m skeptical. Also, I have tattoos on my arms (from shoulder to my wrists, but they can be covered with a long sleeve shirt or jacket) which kept me from working as a flight attendant for Sky West, is that a problem for major airlines, do they have the same guidelines for their pilots?

The $85,000 cost to go to school scares me a bit so I want to make sure I’m not throwing money at something I can’t even use.

Hello Erin and Welcome!

Erin, Erin, Erin, where do we start? Ok first and foremost the cost should scare you if you’re entertaining something you have no experience with. I apologize if I sound curt but this is a big pet peeve of mine. I really can’t understand how people contemplate a life as a pilot with no experience at all flying. To me it’s like saying I’m going to take all my money and buy tofu which I’m going to live on for the rest of my life, I really hope I like tofu? Before anything else you need to go down to your local flight school (ATP has a great intro program if there’s one close) and GO FLY!. Fact is until you actually go up in a small plane you have no clue if it’s something you can and will want to do (which is why ATP won’t even take your money if you have zero time). Make sense? Good let’s move on.

It will not be “easier” to get to a Major airline once you have your hours and certifications, IT WILL BE POSSIBLE. You can’t even get an interview at any airline (Regional or Major) until you have the minimum required hours and certifications, regardless of your gender (believe it or not female pilots are quite common these days).

Finally the tats. Pretty much every airline I’m aware of restricts “visible” tattoos and they must be covered up. While tattoos have become a fairly normal part of society the airlines are still very traditional in many ways, especially when it comes to pilot appearance (piercings other than ears (and more than 1 per, the nose ring btw is gone), radical hair styles or colors that don’t exist in nature etc, all bad). Your ink will have to be covered and remain covered for your entire career but shouldn’t effect you getting hired. Keep in mind if you’re in Las Vegas in the summer and it’s 110deg out you will be wearing a long sleeve shirt. Also while your building time as an instructor the school may require you to keep them covered as well and most small airplanes don’t have a/c.

Hopefully this gives you some food for thought, oh and did I mention GO FLY?!?




Welcome to the forums and thanks for posting! It does sometimes seem that it is easier for female pilots to gain employment with the major airlines, but at the end of the day the female applicants need to meet the same requirements as the male pilots. You might want to check out a group called Woman In Aviation, they are known for helping female pilots advance in the industry and sometimes offer scholarships.

As to the tattoos, I can only speak to United’s requirements. Males and females are required to not have any tattoos visible when in uniform. If you can cover them up with your uniform (and for the interview) you should be fine. The caveat to this is that typically pilots wear short sleeve shirts during the summer. Since you would not be able to do that you would have to wear long sleeves, which at United means that you would also have to wear your uniform jacket and hat year round. Most pilots avoid this because of the heat, but some dress this way.

I don’t think the tattoos will be a problem for you, as long as you can cover them up.

Feel free to ask more questions as you think of them, I look forward to working with you.



Hey guys another question, this seems to be about 2 years after this post. But if you have an arm cover neutral tan in color to cover up a forearm tattoo, is that within regulation in 2018? Probably depending on the company you work for?


I looked in our manual and arm cover bands are not approved, which means they are not allowed. At my airline at least, you would need to wear long sleeves.


Roger that. Thanks for taking the time to look!


This is really quite simple. If you have ANY visible tattoos they must be covered by COMPANY ISSUED UNIFORM components. That means you’ll be wearing long sleeves your entire career. Simple as that.


Copy thank you sir!

Hello Captains,

I’m currently residing in the Philippines with a CPL/IR license with a class 1 medical certificate and just finished 200 hrs. My question that’s been bugging me for quite a while now is, I have a tattoo on my forearm. But if I wear short sleeved uniform, it is totally covered. Is it considered in the airlines? Next question is, during my interview in the airlines, are they gonna ask if I have tattoo’s on me? Am I gonna lie or tell them the truth that I have tattoos which are totally covered in short sleeve uniforms.



First I think we need to understand what the word “forearm” means. By definition “the forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist”. If you have a tattoo on your forearm it will not be covered when wearing short sleeves so yes you would have an issue. So is it between your wrist and elbow or isn’t it? If it isn’t it isn’t on your forearm.

Now I have no idea what airlines in the Philippines ask in an interview but here in the US they will only ask if you have any visible tattoos which you either have or you don’t. We don’t lie, cheat or steal at the airlines and frankly the fact that you would or are asking if you should I find disturbing.


Hello Capt. Adam

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. The correct part is in the inner biceps, not forearm. And yes, it is covered in a short sleeves pilot uniform. In fact, i will attach a photo for you to see. And regarding with the question if I will lie in the interview or not, it’s because I saw comments in the forums that if it can’t be seen during your interview with the interviewer, then you’re good to go. I’m not saying I would lie that I don’t have tattoo’s when I’m asked, that’s why I’m seeking your advice here. Don’t get disturb or what capt. Thanks

I really don’t see your tattoos being an issue, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Thank you Capt. Chris! :blush: