Real Answers from Real Pilots

Religious Exemption for Facial Hair Rules

I’m having a dilemma. I know that most airlines in the US prohibit their pilots from having more than a mustache in terms of facial hair. However, in Islam, it is forbidden for men to shave off completely their beard. Essentially, they can only trim it. Would an airline in the US make a religious exemption for men to have a beard on-duty on the condition that it is well-trimmed and clean? Thanks

I’d contact that particular Airline of course and ask. But my immediate guess is no since it’d be a safety concern regarding Oxygen Masks fit and seal.

I will defer to the Airline Mentors on here though since they’d be more apt to give you an answer on how their particular airlines handle that kind of stuff.

The oxygen mask thing is nonsense though because airlines like Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Air Canada already allow their pilots to have beards.

So there’s your answer then correct? Yes some airlines do.

You are on the right track. Just ask the other airlines if they do allow it.

Not much of a dilemma unless the particular airline you want to fly for does not allow them regardless.

No one can answer that except the Airlines themselves or a particular Pilot for that airline might be able to answer that question. Its best though and probably easier to just ask the airlines themselves.

Imran,

Alaska and Horizon pilots have to be clean shaven.

Tory

I don’t think it’s an oxygen thing since many European airlines have lax facial hair laws.

It’s a big thing here in the US. I’d assume it’s part of the professional appearance policy.

Imran,

Every airline that I am aware of, except Hawaiian, require pilots to be beard free. There are no exemptions made.

Chris

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Imran,

The beard policy is anything but nonsense. While Hawaiian does allow beards they must be very short and well trimmed. There even a caution in our manuals that the beard may interfere with the O2 masks in certain airplanes. Regardless i can tell you no airline is going to make an exception to ANY policy for religious purposes. It would open the door for a variety of issues.

Adam

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Ok thanks