British Airways makes embarrassing U-turn on uniforms after cabin crew backlash   - Istanbul Airport Meet and Assist

In what will be seen by many as an embarrassing U-turn by the carrier, British Airways has finally agreed to make changes to its new uniform designs after facing months of backlash and criticism from many of those who are required to wear it – the airline’s cabin crew.

Following vociferous complaints from various sections of its cabin crew community, the airline has publicly admitted that the new uniforms, designed by renowned British designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng, “are not quite hitting the mark”.

The new uniform designs were rolled out to much fanfare in October 2023. However, almost immediately, British Airways cabin crew raised various concerns about the new uniforms on various social media channels and others, and even the public was said to be “lukewarm” to the new designs, as reported widely by various media at the time.

The launch of the new uniform designs was supposed to be the culmination of a process that had been years in the making. By the time the designs were unveiled, the project was already over three years behind schedule as a result of the pandemic delaying the roll-out. However, despite the extra time to get the uniforms right, the new look soon fell foul with many of those who are required to wear it as part of their job.

However, five months after the uniforms were introduced, British Airways has now admitted that “certain garments haven’t fared as well and might need some alterations.” The carrier has added that changes have already been approved for several garments.

british airways makes embarrassing u turn on uniforms after cabin crew backlash 0 EamHhQDs
British Airways

One particular uniform item that came in for widespread criticism almost as soon as it was introduced was the silk blouses worn by female cabin crew and ground staff. It was quickly found that the blouse was so sheer that the wearing of lacy or patterned bras was discouraged by the carrier as the underwear was easily visible to passengers. The airline initially ordered cabin crew to wear white bras and t-shirts under the blouse to rectify the issue in the short term until a solution could be found.

However, the imposing of this rule caused controversy, annoying the cabin crew union even further. At the time, a union spokesperson said it “beggared belief” that it was having to discuss such basic concepts as the female cabin crew’s choice of underwear. The underwear guidance was later dropped by the airline’s cabin crew management.

Changes being made

According to an update provided by the carrier, uniform suppliers have already been asked to propose samples of new blouses, as well as other items such as re-designed flight crew shirts, with any new designs to be approved, manufactured, and introduced within 12 months.

In the meantime, the airline says it intends to gather more feedback on the remaining items of uniforms that have caused concern to make further changes where necessary.

“If there are common issues, we can work with our suppliers and manufacturers to get things right,” BA’s Chief People Officer Lisa Tremble told cabin crew members via a memo.

“Depending on complexity, some changes will be quicker and easier than others, so please bear with us,” Tremble added.

In all, 96 individual garments featured in Boateng’s collection, the largest choice of garments the airline has ever offered its staff. The female wardrobe for cabin crew and airport colleagues offered the option of a dress, skirt, trouser suit, or in an airline first, a stylish jumpsuit. A sleek three-piece tailored suit with the option of slim or regular-fit trousers is available as part of the male wardrobe.

british airways makes embarrassing u turn on uniforms after cabin crew backlash 1
British Airways

A staggering 850,000 new uniform items were manufactured for over 30,000 of the airline’s employees.

Despite extensive wear tests before the rollout in October 2023, the airline insisted that it had always intended to “assess how the garments perform in the real world because it’s only when the uniform is worn over a sustained period that we can fully understand whether any changes need to be made”.

It would appear that those assessments have now been made. But with an outcome that might not have been what the airline was hoping for, it might now be regretting its decision to place an order for almost a million pieces of new clothing.

british airways makes embarrassing u turn on uniforms after cabin crew backlash 2 hftw4h8N

SpaceX’s Starship rocket successfully launches on third attempt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *