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The Top 10 Flight Attendant Uniforms Gracing the Skies in 2021

The Top 10 Flight Attendant Uniforms Gracing the Skies in 2021

two women in orange suits

The airline industry has seen massive upheaval over the last 18-months but flight attendants are still expected to stand out from the crowd as walking marketing for their airlines. And that’s why the flight attendant uniform continues to be so important for so many airlines.

Getting it right, however, doesn’t always come so easy. Especially with pandemic measures meaning some cabin crew are expected to wear surgical gowns all the time. In 2021, these are our picks of airline uniforms that still manage to turn heads for all the right reasons.

SkyUp Airlines – Ukraine

New entry: This little known low-cost airline from Ukraine generated loads of headlines in August 2021 when it unveiled a new bright orange uniform that combines a pantsuit with Nike Air Max sneakers.

Marianna Grigorash, SkyUp’s head of marketing explained the radical new look, saying: “Times have changed, women have changed, so in contrast to the conservative classics, heels, red lipstick and a bun, a new, more modern and comfortable image of a “champion” has appeared.”

The silk scarf, which is now worn on the shoulder, is a nod to tradition but female flight attendants no longer have to wear a skirt or high-heels as part of the more practical and active uniform.

two women in orange suits
Skirts have been swapped out with a pantsuit and flight attendants will now wear bright white sneakers instead of high-heels.

Alitalia – Italy

New entry: This uniform makes the Top Ten in part because it might not be around for much longer. Alitalia will shut down on October 15 and is due to be replaced by a new airline known as ITA.

That is unless ITA buys the rights to Alitalia as is expected – in which case, Italian fashion designer and dressmaker, Alberta Ferretti’s Alitalia uniform will carry on flying for some time to come.

The uniform was launched in 2018, just two years after Alitalia unveiled another uniform Italian Haute couturier Ettore Bilotta. That uniform, however, was hated by cabin crew so, Alitalia brought in Ferretti with a mission to go back to basics.

The uniform comprises a wide range of wardrobe classics so that staff can mix and match what they want to wear. Alitalia describes the uniform as “classic and elegant”.

a group of people wearing uniforms

jetBlue – United States

New Entry: jetBlue’s current uniform is now seven years old but as the airline goes transatlantic, a whole new audience is beginning to see jetBlue’s flight attendants strutting their stuff for the very first time.

While not the newest uniform on the block, jetBlue’s Stan Herman-designed wardrobe still looks fresh. Perhaps it’s the splashes of orange that give the uniform a pop of colour.

Let’s hope jetBlue’s flight attendants are still happy with their threads as it might be a long time before they get a new look. This is only the second uniform in jetBlue’s history and the first iteration was around for 14-years.

a woman standing in an airplane

Lufthansa – Germany

New Entry: Another new addition to the Top Ten but this entry isn’t for Lufthansa’s standard uniform, which let’s face it, is a bit drab.

As part of Germany’s world-famous Oktoberfest celebrations, Lufthansa has a special group of Trachtencrew who dress up in traditional German folk costume and work on flights in the run-up to the main event.

But while the pandemic has upended Munich’s normal Oktoberfest event, Lufthansa has still had its Trachtencrew out and about in both 2020 and 2021.

The uniforms are designed and tailored by Angermaier, a Munich-based specialist for traditional Bavarian clothing. The female outfit is called a dirndl, while men, of course, wear short lederhosen.

a group of people standing in front of a large jet engine

Finnair – Finland

New Entry: Finnish design is renowned around the world for its effortless chic and the same can be said of Finnair’s uniform which, if you can believe it, has been around in its current form for nearly 10-years.

Designed by the Finnish artist Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen, the uniform was intended to fuse tradition with the modern. Pohjalainen says she went with dark blue as the main colour in the uniform because it invokes feelings of safety. The white accent colours are treated in order to repel dirt.

RECRUITING NOW: Finnair is Expanding its Hong Kong Permanent Cabin Crew Base

Hainan Airlines – China

The conglomerate that owns Hainan Airlines might be in serious financial difficulty but the flagship airline of the HNA empire continues to fly and cabin crew are still outfitted in one of the most glamorous airline uniforms ever.

Launched in 2017 and designed by Haute Ciuriter Laurence Xu, the uniforms “combine elements of classical, time-honored Oriental aesthetics and the silhouette of a modern Western suit”.

The female uniform is built around the Cheongsam – a traditional Chinese dress normally worn on formal occasions. The sleeve is cut at three-quarter length to denote simplicity, modesty and the cabin crew’s “high level of competence”.

Over 1,000 blueprints and 100 sample garments were created before Xu and his team were finally happy with the design.

First unveilved in July, the Laurence Xu Haute designed uniform for Hainan Airlines is setting the bar very high. Photo Credit: Hainan Airlines
Photo Credit: Hainan Airlines

Turkish Airlines – Turkey

This is yet another Ettore Bilotta-designed uniform that follows on from his work with Etihad Airways and Alitalia (a short-lived uniform that Alitalia’s workers found uncomfortable).

The uniform debuted in late 2018 and Bilotta says his inspiration came from Istanbul.

“I wanted to bring elements from traditional calligraphy and mosaics together with the new interpretations of Turkish motifs, which emphasize modern lines, into foulards and ties to reflect a contrast and duality,” Bilotta said of the uniform.

In 2013, Turkish Airlines nearly launched another new uniform but it proved so controversial that the airline abandoned the designs altogether and waited until Bilotta came along.

FIRST LOOK: Turkish Airlines Reveals New Look Cabin Crew Uniform
FIRST LOOK: Turkish Airlines Reveals New Look Cabin Crew Uniform

Aero K – South Korea

New Entry: Shooting up the rankings is this androgynous and gender-neutral uniform from a little known start-up low-cost carrier based in South Korea.

While South Korean airlines are known for traditionally reinforcing gender stereotypes, Aero K has shaken up the industry with its ultra-modern utility workwear with gender-neutral pants, shirts and jackets.

The aesthetic design no doubt appeals to Aero K’s target demographic.

“The practical uniform of Aero K was created based on caring and respect to perform various jobs better than age and gender,” the airline said of the designs. “In the end, all this concern is to perform the most important mission of passenger’s safety.”

a group of people in uniform

Virgin Atlantic – United Kingdom

This Vivienne Westwood-designed uniform has been around since 2014 but it nearly became another pandemic casualty as Virgin Atlantic struggled to stay afloat last year.

Thankfully, ‘the Viv’, as staffers affectionately refer to the uniform as remains very much part of reality.

In 2019, Virgin Atlantic updated its uniform guidelines to reflect wider changes in society and allowed female crew to go makeup-free for the very first time. Female crew were also permitted to wear trousers for the first time.

The Taxman Forces Virgin Atlantic to Change Pay and Conditions for Cabin Crew
Photo Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Singapore Airlines

Originally designed in 1968 by Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain, the distinctive sarong Kebaya worn by Singapore Airlines’ female flight attendants still stands out from the crowd.

The Singapore Girl is a questionable marketing device nowadays but for Singapore Airlines it represents the “symbol of Asian hospitality recognised the world over.”

The Kebaya comes in several colours which denote different ranks: The common purple colour denotes a normal flight attendant while emerald is worn by lead flight attendants and ruby is for the chief flight attendant.

Indigo is worn by the in-flight manager

Singapore Airlines Will Keep the "Iconic Singapore Girl" in Adverts and Marketing
The Singapore Girl – iconic or sexist? Photo Credit” Airbus
a person's feet wearing sandals
Singapore Girl’s famously wear sandals that match the colour of their sarong kebaya but they aren’t worn all the time. During takeoff and landing, flight attendants slip on more practical closed footwear should an emergency situation arise.
a group of women in colorful dresses
While the design always remain the same, it’s very easy to tell the role of each Singapore Girl – as long as you know what the different colours mean. Purple: Flight Attendant Emerald: Lead Flight Attendant Ruby: Chief Flight Attendant Indigo: In-flight Manager

View Comments (4)
  • Like the contemporary look. Sporty, clean, minimalistic lines. Costume type of uniform is passé for a long time now. Glad the airlines are catching up with the trends.

  • I’m not sure what the TWA crew is wearing now
    but when I flew, the uniforms were designed by
    Ralph Lauren. They were classy.

  • I do not agree with these airlines who making their crew dress in more casual, sporty uniforms. They look too scruffy and unprofessional.

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