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6 New Flight Attendant Uniforms That the Pandemic Has Delayed

6 New Flight Attendant Uniforms That the Pandemic Has Delayed

“People in uniform always look so great,” so said Andy Warhol.

But every so often, a uniform can do with a refresh or even a bold new look. These six airlines were planning just that but then the pandemic sent their plans awry.

American Airlines – Signature dress
  • Originally expected: End of 2020
  • Now expected: TBC

American Airlines rolled out a new uniform for 50,000 frontline employees in March 2020 – just four years after the disastrous introduction of AA’s previous uniform that was linked to severe allergic reactions in some workers.

The airline used the opportunity to move on from its ‘toxic uniform’ scandal by refreshing the uniform with new colors and patterns. A signature dress was also meant to be revealed later in 2020.

Of course, the pandemic delayed the introduction of the new dress, although we do have an idea of what it might look like once it’s finally launched. For now, however, the official signature dress remains under wraps.

Air New Zealand
  • Originally expected: By the end of 2021
  • Now expected: TBC

Air New Zealand announced plans for a new uniform back in September 2018 and originally hoped to unveil the new look the following year before kitting out flight attendants in the uniform by the end of 2021.

The design competition made headlines at the time after Air New Zealand’s global brand manager Jodi Williams said the airline was considering gender-neutral workwear.

The current uniform (as seen below) was designed by renowned local designer, Dame Trelise Cooper and has been worn by Air New Zealand’s frontline staff since 2011.

New Zealand’s success in keeping COVID-19 at bay has been at the cost of its national airline’s business and Air New Zealand doesn’t have any plans to roll out a new uniform anytime soon.

Air New Zealand is Considering Gender Neutral Work-wear As It Announces Plans to Update Cabin Crew Uniform
Air New Zealand is Considering Gender Neutral Work-wear As It Announces Plans to Update Cabin Crew Uniform
Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Originally expected: Early 2020
  • Now expected: TBC

Saudi Arabian Airlines or Saudia for short unveiled this new look uniform just a month before Saudi Arabia became one of the first countries in the world to impose strict travel restrictions in response to what was known then as the novel Coronavirus.

The refreshed uniform was meant to be rolled out through 2020 to celebrate Saudia’s 75th anniversary but the new look has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

The biggest change is the addition of a new skirt option for female cabin crew – the first time in the airline’s history that crew will be allowed to reveal their legs. A full head covering will also be replaced with a smaller hat and draped scarf similar to what is worn by Emirates cabin crew.

  • Originally expected: May 2020
  • Now expected: TBC

Spanish flag carrier Iberia unveiled its long-awaited new uniform on the final day of the Madrid fashion week in February 2020.

Designed by Teresa Helbig, the trendy uniform was 18-months in the works and was meant to be on the backs of Iberia’s 6,500 employees by May 2020.

The wardrobe is made up of 20 different uniform pieces which can create a total of 30 looks to suit any employee. Helbig is Iberia’s first female uniform designer but the garments remain just a concept for now as the airline tightens its fiscal belt.

United Airlines
  • Originally expected: By the end of 2021
  • Now expected: TBC

The redesign of United’s uniform got underway back in 2017 and we got a sneak peek of what it might look like in early 2019. Since then, however, there’s been very little information released about the progress of the mammoth project.

The uniform for above wing staff is being designed by Tracy Reese with men’s outfitters Brooks Brothers involved in the project. Workwear specialist Carharrt was selected to design the uniform for below wing employees and this uniform has already been rolled out.

United hoped to conduct a large scale wear test with real employees in 2020 but the pandemic meant that idea was canned. The airline was unwilling to reveal when the uniform might finally be rolled out.

British Airways
  • Originally expected: Mid-2021
  • Now expected: 2022

British Airways announced it was planning a new look for its outdated 17-year-old uniform back in September 2018 but there’s still no sign of when the fresh new look might finally be revealed.

The new wardrobe has already been designed by Saville Row menswear designer Ozwald Boateng and British Airways originally hoped to unveil his designs in time for the airline’s centenary in 2019.

A costly strike by BA’s pilots, however, resulted in the airline deciding to keep the new uniform under wraps while some final changes were made. The uniform was then going to be revealed in early 2020 before extensive wear tests were carried out through last year but the pandemic quickly changed those plans.

In March 2020, British Airways told staffers that the project had been put on hold due to essential cost-cutting in the wake of the pandemic. At the time, BA said the uniform could be revealed in 2022.

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