American Airlines will start giving out custom made face masks that match the design of its recently relaunched uniform to its 47,000 strong flight attendant workforce. The uniform manufacturer Lands’ End has been commissioned to create the bespoke face coverings and the first batch of masks is set to be delivered in the coming month.
The airline says the material used for the face masks will be STANDARD 100 certified by OEKO-TEX – an independent testing and certification system for clothing and accessories to make sure they’re not contaminated with hazardous chemicals. The masks will be machine washable and reusable.
Flight attendants at the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline will have to wear a face mask or covering from Friday, May 1. Until recently, flight attendants were expected to bring their own face mask but these are now being provisioned in crew rooms and on all aircraft across the American Airlines network.
Flight attendants and all other staffers are also subject to temperature checks before they are allowed to proceed through airport security.
Beginning in early May, American Airlines will also start handing out face masks to passengers who would like to wear one but the airline has stopped short of making the additional safety measure against COVID-19 mandatory. jetBlue will ask all its passengers to wear face masks and so too will Lufthansa who claims masks negate the need for social distancing by blocking the middle seat.
Other airlines including Alitalia, Emirates and Air Canada won’t permit passengers onboard unless they are wearing a mask or other covering. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has also called on American Airlines to make the wearing of face masks mandatory for passengers.
American Airlines introduced its reworked uniform in March after a ‘toxic uniform’ scandal involving a uniform it introduced in 2016. Flight attendants reported symptomatic reactions to the suiting including rashes, hives and even hair loss. Initially, American insisted the uniform was safe but eventually agreed to a redesign.
Lands’ End was selected to create the new uniform and is still working on the design of a new ‘signature dress’. It’s understood that the fabric used for the new face masks will be made with the same material as what was intended for use in the signature dress.
TOTH: Jamie Larounis
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.