Many major airlines have begun altering their uniform policies for pilots and flight attendants, with many now allowing employees to choose between women’s or men’s uniforms regardless of their biological gender.
JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Canada’s WestJet, Iceland’s Play Airlines, British Airways and Delta have all made changes to their dress code policies in recent years.
JetBlue was among the first to make its uniform, hair and makeup policy gender-inclusive, according to a statement made by the airline in 2021.
“When our crewmembers are empowered to be their authentic selves at work, the benefits are clear,” the airline tweeted. “In June 2021, we released a gender neutral crewmember uniform policy, a first for the airline industry. #PrideMonth”
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A spokesperson told Fox News Digital the new uniform “offers crewmembers a combination of uniform pieces, rather than items based on binary gender terms.”
“The ability to bring your true self to work and feel included is one of the many reasons crewmembers join JetBlue. JetBlue’s gender-inclusive uniform and hair and makeup policy offers crewmembers a combination of uniform pieces, rather than items based on binary gender terms,” Derek Dombrowski, a general manager of Corporate Communications at Jet Blue said. “By adopting a consistent and inclusive program, JetBlue ensures that all crewmembers can feel represented.”
Iceland’s Play Airlines also rolled out a gender-free line in 2021, allowing crew members to “pick whatever works for them from a varied selection of outfits.”
“Forget running around in high heels – comfortable sneakers are the way to go. Instructions regarding hair, make up, tattoos and nail polish are gone,” the airline said in a June 2021 announcement.
In 2022, Alaska Airlines started using pronoun badges and allowed flight crew to choose their uniforms regardless of gender.
“With these changes, fingernail polish, makeup, two earrings per ear, and a single stud nose piercing are expression options available to all employees,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “We’ve also updated our grooming policies to allow tattoos in more locations, more hair style options and are adjusting the names of our uniform kits to be focused on fit vs. gender identifications.”
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Virgin Atlantic also announced in 2022 that it would “offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms, meaning LGBTQ+ colleagues will be able to choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.”
The airline said the announcement was “part of an on-going drive to champion the individuality of its people and customers.” Like Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic said it would also be rolling out “optional pronoun badges for all its people and those travelling with the airline,” according to a statement.
“This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns,” the statement added.
Launched as part of its “Be Yourself’ agenda, the changes were the latest following a series of inclusivity initiatives in 2019 that allowed cabin crew to decide if they wanted to wear make-up, trousers and flat shoes. Virgin Atlantic also said it would lift restrictions on visible tattoos and allow them for more crew members and its front line people.
Canada’s WestJet airline reinvented its uniforms in 2022 with new outfit names like “The Lakes” and “Rocky Mountain,” instead of “women” or “men,” according to a September announcement.
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British Airways still makes gendered uniforms but announced in November 2022 that all crew members are now allowed to have facial hair and wear make-up, jewelry and nail polish, regardless of their gender, CNN reported.
The uniform changes and evolving gender policies come at a time when airlines have faced increased criticism from customers who have dealt with travel disruptions throughout and after the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2022 holiday season, over 15,000 flights were canceled, stranding tends of thousands of Americans and ruining many travelers’ holiday plans.
Post-pandemic staffing shortages have resulted in thousands of flight delays, including the Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2022 when more than 5,000 flights were canceled. Airlines are reportedly still trying to replace pilots and other workers who haven’t returned to work since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Source: Fox News