Just days after British Airways officially rolled out its new uniform, the airline is facing a number of issues that has prompted it to extend the use of old uniforms, the ones worn by airline crew since 2004.
On September 28, 2023, British Airways officially announced that all its crew will officially be wearing the new uniforms designed by British-Ghanaian Savile Row fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng. The airline sounded hopeful, calling the day “the beginning of a new era” on social media.
However, just days after the announcement, the airline is reportedly running into hiccups after a number of issues started to unravel.
A report by Paddle Your Own Kanoo said that despite a “generous” 10-month window to roll out the uniform to all of the airline staff, the carrier is not able to produce enough of the new uniforms to all employees. The roll out already had a three year-delay due to the pandemic.
Because of this, the airline had to seek approval from aviation regulators to have two types of uniforms— the old one by Welsh designer Julien Macdonald, and the new one, to be worn by British Airways crew until the end of October 2023. It is hoped that by this time, all crew would have received new uniforms.
Quality and design issues
Those who have received the new uniforms in time have given feedback regarding quality issues of the garments.
The new uniform’s high collared neck cut has reportedly given a number of crew sore red rashes around their necks.
Other comments were about the poor quality of the garments, though according to the airline, the uniforms were weather tested before roll out.
Some female employees are reportedly not happy with the airline’s non-binary uniforms,with a staff member telling UK media outlet The Sun that they preferred if the carrier designed a ‘dedicated uniform for non-binary and gender fluid crew’ instead.
Image: British Airways Facebook
Old look preferred
This is British Airways’ first time to update its uniform in 20 years, so people were excited when it made the announcement in early 2023.
However, when the new look was unveiled in “real life”, the majority of crew and airline professionals expressed their preference for the old uniform.
A poll done by “A Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge”, a Facebook page with over 1.3 million airline industry professionals, showed that an overwhelming number of people (1,100 versus 123) preferred the old British Airways uniform.