Female flight attendants at Icelandair must wear high heels to work, according to Stundin. The heels must be a minimum of four cm, a maximum of 10 cm. A constant use of high heels has been found to be unhealthy, and many women find them uncomfortable.
A flight attendant interviewed by Stundin stated she has often had to place her feet on the cold floor at the back of the plane to ease the pain. She criticizes the fact that she is not allowed to wear flat sole shoes for work. “I’d like to have a choice when I’m tired or not up to wearing high heels,” she remarked. “Through the years, I’ve often asked to be allowed to exit the plane wearing shoes without high heels, instead of having to wear the high heels when I leave the plane after a long flight, through the terminal and onto the bus, where I’m finally allowed to take off the high-heeled shoes.” The walk to the bus can be long outdoors, in darkness and inclement weather, oftentimes resulting in the women tripping.
A US poll, conducted in 2014 among orthopedic surgeons, revealed that high heels were the most common cause of foot pain among women. They cause muscles in the calves and thighs to become tense in response to the unnatural body position in which they result. Thus, they can cause muscles to shorten, the Achilles tendon to tighten, and the moving ability of the ankle to decrease. They also increase strain on the knees.
Still, high heels are mandatory for female flight attendants at Icelandair and for women who work at Icelandair offices. The flight attendants must, furthermore, wear a full makeup and maintain it through the shift. Wearing lipstick or gloss is a must. Nail polish is required and has to be in color.
Icelandair female pilots are not required to wear high heels, nor do they have to wear a full makeup.