British Airways has been forced to delay the rollout of its long-awaited new uniform until September at the earliest after last-minute changes had to be made to some garments following the grand reveal of the new wardrobe earlier this year.
Employees were originally meant to swap their old Julien Macdonald-designed uniform for the new Ozwald Boateng threads by early summer, but the airline has already pushed back the changeover until some point in September.
Last-minute changes were hastily arranged for the uniform after some items in the collection received a mixed response from frontline workers who will have to wear the uniform day in and day out.
Those changes had to be made despite an extensive trial period and multi-year design process that included 1,500 employees involved in the uniform design process.
One of the standout pieces from the collection is a female’s all-in-one jumpsuit which won’t now be ready until the end of 2023 at the earliest due to a slew of design changes that had to be made after it was revealed to employees and the public.
Female employees had also objected to the placement of a large bright red triangular cut-out in the skirt and dress, as well as a ‘see-through’ blouse and masculine collar design.
The initial response to the controversial designs was so heated that in an internal memo, the airline admonished staffers for sharing” abusive, disrespectful and derogatory comments on social media” about the uniform.
British Airways says that negative comments shared by some employees do not represent the general opinion of workers who have been ‘impressed’ by the quality of the fabric used in the new uniform.
The uniform from British Ghanaian suiting designer Boateng has been repeatedly delayed. British Airways had hoped to unveil the uniform in 2019 before an embarrassing pilots strike delayed the grand reveal. The pandemic then struck, and the uniform programme was put on the backburner until earlier this year.
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.