New photos of United’s new flight attendant and pilot uniform have been officially revealed shortly after the airline’s frontline employees got to check out the reworked designs after a lengthy pandemic-induced delay.
United has been working on its new uniform project for nearly seven years after the Chicago-based carrier first signed up designer Tracy Reese and menswear outfitters Brooks Brothers in 2017, and several iterations of the designs have already been revealed.
The first glimpse of the Star Trek-inspired designs was leaked back in mid-2018 when employees were invited to a secret event to see the designs in real life. The contents of the event were meant to be kept under wraps, but a few disgruntled staffers were so upset with what they saw that they quickly shared photos online.
Tracey Reese was forced to rework some of her designs, and by January of the following year, United was finally happy to officially reveal the designs featuring a new color palette which included a dark shade of purple, as well as “Pacific Blue”, “Atlantic Amethyst” and “Runway Gray”.
It was only a matter of months before United was yet again forced to make some design changes, such as removing the piping on the male flight attendant blazer and a grey stripe on the side of the female skirt, due to overwhelming employee feedback.
Despite some of the negative reviews, however, United was hoping to start large-scale employee wear tests in early 2020. Then, of course, the pandemic struck, and the uniform project was quickly put on ice.
Since then, the airline hasn’t had anything to share about the new uniform until Thursday, when a new photo of the designs was shared by the Chicago-based carrier.
From what we can tell, United has ditched the new color palette of purple, teal and grey and is now sticking firm with two shades of blue which are synonymous with the United brand.
Elements of Tracy Reese’s 2018 design remain, but there are also familiar accents from the existing United uniform that can be seen throughout the new collection.
Further changes are, however, on the cards. United is set to carry out wear tests in the coming months, and it could whittle down the collection into a more streamlined and cohesive wardrobe.
The full rollout isn’t expected until 2025 – a full nine years after the project was first announced.
In a statement, the airline told us the designs are “inspired by our customer-facing employees—this collection is driven by them and for them, recognizing they are the face of our brand and this program is an articulation of what it means to be United.”
“The designs are focused on creating a modern and timeless collection,” the statement continued. “This is part of bigger brand evolution, as we shift to a warmer, more human brand where Good Leads The Way.”
“It has been years in the making, and we’re excited to be on a journey that serves the needs of our current and future employees.”
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.
Kinda looks tacky or closely resembling AA. The current Black and Blue looks better and more professional IMO.
Beam me up Scotty!
After everyone has their say the new uniforms will be sterile, bland & boring. Airline employees can be a fussy group. They will probably be very close to the standard airline uniforms that we see from the big 3 US carriers.