Whilst this question seems to be irrelevant with the ease of getting and putting on a contact lens, it is still a valid question. Can a cabin crew wear a pair of eye glasses if you have to? If not, why?
Many will tell you that cabin crews or flight attendants cannot wear eye glasses, and contact lens are preferred. Generally that’s true for some airlines in Asia, but not all. However, if you must wear, check with your airline. Every airline has its own standards. For example one of the airlines in Malaysia allows eye glasses if you have a doctor’s advice letter. You need to seek approval, generally from the grooming department. If you get the exception, you still have to adhere to the type of glasses allowed and the standards required.
So, why can’t a cabin crew wear eye glasses?
1) Your safety
Bear in mind, you will spend half the time, or more, in the sky and not the ground. The plane can be shaken by a turbulence during your work (reminder that you are not sitting comfortably as a passenger), enough to cause imbalance or even fall. You shall expect these scenario, and if it happens, your glasses risk injury to you during a fall or impact.
Also, you work in a rather confined place. If you drop your glasses for any reason, it will take twice the effort to regain your vision. You can always bring an extra pair of contact lens effortlessly.
If things go bad and you end up somewhere in the middle of the ocean where you can’t see the end of the sky and water, you need your vision to spot the first rescue, far away.
Hence, your doctor will check your Distant Visual Acuity and Near Vision Acuity.
2) Passenger’s safety
Again, you are there on duty. Passengers’ safety is utmost concern to any airlines. Obviously, whilst cabin crews are not encouraged to wear glasses, passengers are allowed. This is because passengers are seated with safety buckle at most of the time, but not you.
As a cabin crew, you are there not just to serve food to passengers, but also to attend to their every needs and ensure safety. That includes, helping the passenger to locate their misplaced eye glasses. You need to move and walk around ALOT, all the time.
Can you imagine, during a medical emergency a passenger with medical condition needs your help to locate his/her pills and you are scrambling to look for your glasses? NO NO..
You are the hands of the captain (pilot). Together with all the crew members, you make the guardian of the bird (the plane). In a pleasant flight, you are a steward/stewardess with world-class service and mannerism. However, during an emergency, you could be the difference between life and death. You are expected to handle crisis and the stress of not just your own but the family in the plane (or anywhere else) with grace and calmness, until everyone on board landed or reached safety.
Nonetheless, your safety comes first before others. Hence, point number 1 is your own safety. Not having your vision due to negligence is simply not acceptable.
3) Airlines grooming standard
Most airlines have strict attire and grooming standards. It is preferred to present a team of crew with similarity and unity of grooming. Having glasses on makes you odd in the team. Plus, it defeats the make up on your eyes!
Can a cabin crew wear eye glasses?
The answer is, you can, subjected to permission from your airline, of course. However, if possible wear contact lens during interview and apply for the use of glasses later for on-the-job use. For the record, there are many cabin crews wearing eye glasses at work. If you can convince that the reasons above are not compromised and there is no other reason that you shouldn’t be wearing glasses, then you should be able to get approval. Generally, unless if your glasses diopter exceeds most airlines limit of +/-4, you can seek approval to wear it at work. Bear in mind also, if contact lens is not tolerable, there is always the option for laser eye surgery although it’s expensive.
Photo credits to Angeline Fong, cabin crew.