Norwegian Air has been blasted as stuck in a “Mad Men universe” after female staff were told they must carry a doctor’s note at all times if they want to wear flat shoes.
In a 22-page dress code which was circulated to staff two weeks ago, the airline said its female employees must wear heels which are at least two centimetres tall.
If they want an exception, women need to carry a doctor’s note at all times and update it every six months.
“It is almost comical that we face these issues in 2019,” said Ingrid Hodnebo, a women’s spokesperson for the country’s Socialist Left Party.
“While the rest of society has moved on, Norwegian is stuck in the Mad Men universe from the 1950s and 60s,” she told Norwegian newspaper VG.
The document, seen by the newspaper, also compels female employees to wear eye makeup and light foundation, a tinted moisturiser, or powders.
Men, meanwhile, are banned from wearing any makeup, apart from to cover up acne or bruises.
Women are only allowed to wear two rings per hand, and none on their thumbs, and any jewellery must be made from gold or silver-coloured metal.
No necklaces are allowed, nor is jewellery with religious motifs.
“Norwegian’s crew must follow the company’s uniform policy,” Norwegian spokesperson Astrid Mannion-Gibson told VG. “The uniform is neutral and discreet and yes, it does place different requirements on men and women when it comes to makeup, hair and so on. This is common among other airlines too.”
She added: “We are a global airline which carries passengers from around the world with different cultures and religions on board. It is vital that out crew’s appearance does not offend or provoke.”
VG said its questions over why a doctor’s note is needed to wear flat shoes went unanswered.
The Norwegian Labour Party’s women’s spokesperson Anette Trettebergstuen said: “Uniform requirements are one thing, but to impose heels and makeup is going too far. The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back. This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further.”
Norwegian has faced several turbulent months after a bid for the company from British Airways owner IAG fell through earlier this year.
Shares in the carrier dropped 2.6 per cent this morning to 40.48 Norwegian krone down from over 157 krone in September last year.
A Norwegian spokesperson told City A.M.: “Like all global airlines, Norwegian has a comprehensive set of uniform guidelines to ensure that our flying crew represent our brand in a smart and consistent manner. The guidelines were drafted with input from our pilot and cabin crew colleagues and have been well received, sharing many gender commonalities in addition to some specific male and female requirements.”
Norwegian said its staff are allowed to wear flat shoes while in the cabin.