British Airways has confirmed that it is reviewing its uniform guidelines for pilots, cabin crew and other frontline employees in the wake of rival Virgin Atlantic’s decision to scrap gender-specific uniforms.
The review is said to be nearly finished after this publication exclusively revealed an internal reevaluation of BA’s uniform and grooming rules had already started last November.
In a statement to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for the Heathrow-based airline confirmed it was reconsidering its strict decades-old uniform policy but no final decisions have yet been reached.
“At British Airways we’re committed to an inclusive working environment and as part of that, we’re reviewing our uniform policy and will update our colleagues when the review is complete.”
The Telegraph cited sources at the airline who believe British Airways won’t be as bold as Virgin Atlantic when it finally comes time for it to shake up its uniform policy.
Last week, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was jettisoning uniform gender rules as part of a major review of its gender identity policy. The headline-grabbing policy change means employees can choose whichever uniform best suits represent them.
Virgin Atlantic already allows all employees, regardless of their outward appearing gender, to wear a full face of makeup and the airline recently ditched a ban on employees having visible tattoos in the uniform.
In recent years, British Airways has faced a number of challenges over its uniform policy. The airline was forced to back down over its insistence that younger female cabin crew wear a skirt and was also made to drop a rule that required female staffers to carry a handbag with them wherever they went.
In 2019, the union representing cabin crew and many other employees at the airline demanded BA “relegate expectations of makeup, heel length and buttoned up jackets to the history books” in a highly critical letter that raised concerns about the “sexualisation” of the uniform.
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.