Real Answers from Real Pilots

Professional Image

Hello everyone,

I just have a question about tattoos during training. Is it best to cover my tattoos while attending ATP? I have tattoos on both arms. Also when it comes to payments, if I am paying out of pocket, and not financing anything, do I pay everything as I go or all up front?

Thanks in advance!

Jonte’,
ATP uniform policy states, “Airlines require pilots to keep tattoos covered by the uniform. ATP encourages potential airline candidates to consider the impact of that policy on their future employment.” So while it is not a policy that tattoos must be covered during your time at ATP, you will have to cover them further along in your career. Might be a good idea to start getting used to that sooner rather than later. At least start with checkride days when you want to exhibit your highest level of professionalism.
Even if you are paying out of pocket, payments will be initiated throughout your program. It is not paid all upfront. You can contact the finance department if you’d like more details on the intervals of your payments.

-Hannah

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Jonte,

As you post title states and as Hannah suggests the career of airline pilot is still pretty conservative. Most airlines have a strict “no visible tattoos permitted”. I don’t believe ATP is as strict but it’s definitely needs to be a consideration for the rest of your career.

Adam

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Jonte,

If you go to this link and scroll down, you will find a section called Payment Policies that will tell you what the payment schedule is depending on your chosen program:

https://atpflightschool.com/airline-career-pilot-program/policies.html

Alex

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Jonte,

Follow the link that Alex gave, it will take you to the payment schedule, which applies to self pay students as well.

I would plan on covering the tattoos, you will be doing so for a long time to come either way.

Chris

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Jonte,

I have a full sleeve and had the same questions going into the program. It is not required to be covered up while training, but as the other said, it’s probably a good idea to cover up when possible. I wear long sleeves while instructing. As a student, I wore a thin long sleeve undershirt. I for one do not agree with tattoos being viewed as “unprofessional”, but obviously to a certain extent. Aviation is still a very conservative industry so plan on wearing long sleeves for your entire career. Small price to pay for such a cool job though. Cover up, and try not to get tattoos that can’t easily be covered with a long sleeve.

Jonathan

Thanks for the insight. I am going to cover up while going to ATP. I have 2 full sleeves haha.

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Jonathan, with all due respect, while you may not view tattoos as being unprofessional, the fact the entire airline industry prohibits them makes them unsuitable for this particular profession and therefore unprofessional by definition.

Adam

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I hear you, Adam. Just a personal opinion. There’s obviously some bias here on my part. I guess I base professionalism more off of ones actions, competence and character for a given skill/job rather than their physical appearance. But that may be a different conversation :wink:

Jonathan

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While I agree with both Adam and Jonathan, respectively, the vast majority of the corporate culture has not fully embraced tattoos. So, Jonathon while I agree with you, Adam is more correct.

Tory

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Jonathan,

We all have our biases. Right or wrong this is the world we live in. The title of this thread is “professional image” and as we both pointed out the airlines are still very conservative. We’re not talking about competence or character and there’s no argument when it comes to those things appearance rarely figures into the equation. That said as an ATP graduate I assume you aspire to fly for an airline someday and EVERY airline in the world has strict uniform and appearance regulations. There are a couple of reasons for this. The obvious one is when the passengers are boarding and they look left they want someone who looks like their idea of an airline pilot. Is that right? I don’t know, but I know they’re paying my salary and I want them to feel warm and fuzzy so we have this mutually beneficial relationship. Second and not so obvious is the folks that hire you are trusting you with the keys for a $100mil piece of hardware. They want you to follow the rules and regs and fly that plane the way they want you to fly that plane. Call it a test but following the uniform standards is pretty much the easiest part of the job to get right. If however you can’t manage to follow the easy ones what other rules will you look to bend or break?

Things may change but for now this is the price of admission and trust me it’s worth it. If you want to be successful in this career when you’re working be a model employee, when you’re off, go crazy. Just don’t get a face tattoo! :wink:

Adam

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Great point, and no argument here. Rules are rules and must be followed, especially in this industry with little room for error. To be clear, I am definitely not implying that I will show up to work with my tattoos showing and understand the idea of the public image and how it directly reflects the airline you work for. Where I have the issue is, for example, not being selected for a Pilot Job based off the fact that I DO have tattoos, even if it is easily covered. This might be an extreme scenario, but imagine being fully qualified, interview well and being turned down for a job JUST because of having tattoos (even though they are fully covered, and the applicant plans on keeping them covered). I’m sure you can see the problem there?

That all being said, I do plan on flying with the airlines and have successfully interviewed for an airline last year. It’s safe to say I will not be getting any face tattoos. :sweat_smile:

Jonathan

Jonathan,

If your tattoos are covered during the interview process, they should have no impact on you being hired to not.

Chris

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