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The New Uniform

Date: May 23, 2023

Last week, management unveiled updated information on the company's website, announcing the start of wear test phase 3 to begin the end of this summer.  The release of the uniform designs generated significant interest on social media and raised questions and concerns as captured in e-mails.

Section 30.K. of the Contract establishes the requirement for the company to provide advance notice to the MEC President when the company intends to update the uniform and/or accessories.  Once that occurs, our MEC President or designee, in this case the MEC Uniform Chairperson, is invited to meet with the company throughout the planning and changeover process and is afforded the opportunity to make recommendations.

Since March 2020, AFA has been invited to review the company's plan and has worked to ensure that the uniform fabrics selected meet the functional demands of the Flight Attendant profession in terms of fit and function. Throughout the process, AFA made several recommendations regarding color, fabric, uniform items, and accessories. As part of the comprehensive recommendations, we pressed for the involvement of those who will wear the uniforms every day, on every flight; that is, to ensure Flight Attendant feedback drove the decision making in fabric selection and design. While we were given opportunities to provide input during the redesign process, not all of our recommendations were adopted but with the involvement of Flight Attendants, changes were ultimately incorporated into the uniform design.

As a result of our recommendations and the body of work that has been completed to this point, all efforts have been directed at the design of a uniform that provides a cohesive, inclusive look for all employees while providing the required differentiation of other work groups.  The intent is for a modern, timeless uniform that offers quality, durability, and comfort but that is, above all else, safe for us to wear in the environment of the aircraft.

Section 25.E. of our Contract details the company’s obligation to replace all uniform items in the event of a style change at no cost to Flight Attendants.  Section 25.C. establishes the components of the traditionally male and female uniform that are required under the Contract and clearly establishes the “distinctly different” requirement for all other personnel not on the System Seniority list. However, optional items that are not required to be obtained by Flight Attendants are not included in the no cost replacement.

This next wear test (WT 3), unlike the last wear test, will occur during the summer & early fall seasons in the United States and Europe.  It will provide an opportunity to test the fit and function when there are warmer and variable temperatures, ultimately giving us an opportunity to identify areas of concern where changes might become necessary.

More than 900 Uniform Ambassadors from all work groups will be a part of this wear test that will take place over an eight-week period.  This uniform program started prior to the COVID-driven hiatus.  While many of the Uniform Ambassadors were part of the initial program (which is essential for continuity), more than 48% of the current wear test team includes new wear testers further increasing inclusivity of the newest Members of our work groups.

Throughout the wear test period, there will be opportunities for you to not only see the newest components of the uniform, but to also ask questions and obtain additional information on the changes that are now part of the new uniform program.  We encourage you to look at the design changes and to talk to those Members of our Flight Attendant community who will be serving as Uniform Ambassadors to get answers to any questions you might have. 

Take advantage of the opportunities provided by management to ask questions and, above all, remain engaged in the process.  If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our MEC Uniform Chairperson, Kimberly Burckhalter, via e-mail to uniforms@unitedafa.org.  

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