Chicago-based United Airlines has at last publicly revealed the first designs of its eagerly awaited new uniform which covers all work groups from flight attendants, pilots and airport customer service agents to engineers, baggage handlers and even a special Aloha Hawaiian-themed uniform.
As we exclusively revealed in May 2018, leaked photos of the initial designs by Tracy Reese were not well-received by United staffers or many frequent flyers who likened the look to Star Trek style uniforms. At the time, United said the designs were very much a work in progress and any disappointment should be tempered until it was ready for the official reveal.
That being said, even now United is urging caution against judging the collection too quickly. The final design hasn’t yet been set and Reese and her team are still working to make changes based on feedback from an army of United employees who have volunteered to take part in the design process.
In the next few months, we should start seeing a select number of United staffers wearing the prototype uniforms on flights and airports around the world in order to put them to the test in a real-world environment and from there even more radical changes could be made.
One of the biggest changes we’ve already seen from the early designs is the uniform adopting United’s new color scheme that it updated last year. For the first time, United has added a dark shade of purple (also seen in the material used on the carrier’s international Premium Economy seats), as well as what it calls “Pacific Blue”, “Atlantic Amethyst” and even “Runway Gray”.
“Our updated brand design will be reflected in our new employee uniforms, where you will see a unifying base color across all work groups that speaks to the core of the United brand —Rhapsody Blue,” explained the airline’s, Erin Benson.
“The new employee uniforms will also include pops of our new colors, which employees have told us they want in the various listening sessions we’ve conducted.”
Some of the designs – such as the one-piece dress worn by flight attendants and a ladies suit jacket – have seen quite radical changes from their early iterations, while items such as a shawl worn by female flight attendants are almost identical in design and color.
For the first time, we’ve also seen the first designs of the male cabin crew uniform – which has been likened to what you might expect to see a bellhop wearing. A simpler suit for male airport service agent seems a more popular choice and also features Pacific Blue in the necktie and pocket square.
Unfortunately, initial reactions from many United flight attendants remains pretty negative – perhaps that will change when they get to see the collection in person. Perhaps.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.