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United’s Flight Attendants Can Now De-identify Themselves as Crew By Taking Off Their ‘Wings’ When They’re Not On the Aircraft

United’s Flight Attendants Can Now De-identify Themselves as Crew By Taking Off Their ‘Wings’ When They’re Not On the Aircraft

a silver badge with a blue square and a blue square with a blue square and black text

Flight attendants at United Airlines will be allowed to de-identify themselves as crew members by removing their ‘wings’ badge when they are not on the aircraft because of an ongoing dispute launched by the flight attendant union over new badges that display the crew members’ pronouns.

United Airlines unveiled the new name badges early last year as part of a broader uniform refresh that will step up a gear in 2025, although the badges have already become a required part of the flight attendant uniform.

Previously, United issued flight attendants with a name badge and a separate set of ‘wings’ that identify them as a crew member, but the Chicago-based carrier decided to incorporate the wings and name insignia into a single unified badge.

The design, however, irritated the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) representing United’s cabin crew because the current contract requires the airline to issue a separate name badge and set of wings.

The idea behind this policy is that flight attendants can remove their name badge when they are not on the aircraft, such as when they are commuting to or from work, as an additional safety measure.

The union has filed a grievance against United for breaching the contract but while the grievance is still ongoing, flight attendants will be permitted to remove their combined name and wings badge when they are not on the aircraft.

Along with combining the two badges into one, United also added the ability for crew members to display their preferred pronouns on the badge, as well as milestone anniversaries.

A completely new uniform designed by Tracy Reese is expected to be rolled out at some point in 2025, some nine years after the new uniform project was originally announced.

Since first revealing her initial designs in 2018, the look of the new uniform has undergone several major changes, with United leaning into a color palette of blue and grey, and ditching a more avant grade purple that Reese initially proposed.

View Comments (2)
  • In order for me to understand this article better, I would need to know – are flight attendants required to wear their ID pins at all times? That doesn’t seem to make sense. Or is it that if they’re taking a personal to flight on their employer’s airline, they’re required to wear their ID pin? Or are they required to wear them the money but they enter the airport premises?

  • Is this about pronouns or combined badges? Your article leads with pronouns, but the only complaint from the union is about combined badges.

    Either way, seems a tiny thing to be making a fuss over.

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