American’s Pilots Don’t Like Their New Uniforms

Filed Under: American

Last December I wrote about American’s new employee uniforms, which I know most employees are quite excited about. While I don’t think uniforms as such change the experience for customers, there’s no denying that uniforms that employees are proud to wear contribute positively to morale, and that’s good for customers.


I don’t envy the job of creating employee uniforms, given what a diverse work group American has, not to mention that they’re no doubt on a budget. It’s pretty normal for there to be a bit of controversy surrounding new airline uniforms, as we saw with Delta when they introduced red dresses several years back.

But what’s interesting is that this time around it’s American’s pilots that have issues with the uniforms, and not the flight attendants. Pilots aren’t usually as concerned about uniforms as flight attendants, since they take much of it off when in the cockpit anyway and don’t have to move around in it as much as flight attendants.

The American Allied Pilots Association has taken an official stance against the new uniforms. Via the Dallas Morning News Aviation Blog:

“While individual perspectives varied, the consensus is that the uniforms as tested are unacceptable and management needs to identify a new uniform vendor,” the hotline said. “The testers cited concerns regarding material quality, uniform construction and fit.”

APA reps presented their views to American Airlines management Wednesday afternoon. The hotline said the APA delegation was directed to state “our strong desire” for six things, and we quote from the hotline.

1. A single-breasted/double-breasted choice, (if no choice is allowed, APA prefers the single-breasted jacket),

2. Acknowledgment of the need for regional/operational differences (e.g. Domestic vs. International, Caribbean, including an optional leather bomber jacket etc.),

3. American made pilot uniform (preferably union made),

4. Top quality fabric, fit and production,

5. Fabric that does not create allergy or health issues for crews, and

6. Another pilot wear test and survey with our concerns addressed before final decisions are made.

I’m curious to see how management responds to this one!

  1. I wonder what the FAs think…IMHO, these new uniforms are not very appealing, at least, on the photos.

  2. This doesn’t even make sense. How could you possibly get to quality production AND union made? These guys are idiots!

  3. Management will hopefully tell the pilots’ union to go pound sand. What a bunch of whiny idiots.

  4. I, too, think the new uniform styles are simply ugly. @Ivan – every single flight attendant I have asked about the uniforms have unanimously said they despise them. The material is cheap …. and not breathable material… and they have 3/4 length sleeves… so, not the best type of uniform to have to wear during the summer months. They also have zippers in the back of the dresses which, as any woman knows, usually requires help in getting them zipped (one FA said they joked about meeting in the lobby in the morning for a ‘group zip up’).

    They also comment on the length of the skirts and the fact that the material is stretchy… so will definitely not be flattering on the majority of women.

    As for the pilots, I agree with their assessment. Their uniforms are ugly as well…. and also not constructed of a quality material.

  5. Why does it has to be made by American? Well, if American Airlines want to fly to countries outside US, and make money from those countries, then they’d better buy something back in return…

  6. I was keeping an open mind until I got to the line about the optional leather bomber jacket. Of course commercial pilots need those, because it isn’t like Boeing heats the cabins or anything like that. Sheesh, would the pilots like some Tiffany cufflinks and Cartier Santos watches to complete the outfit?

    Hey pilots, if you think your new uniforms are ugly, how about you look at the new Mica paint on the outside of the AA plane. Now that is ugly.

  7. We need to bring back the days where FAs are weighed weekly. Anything less than 36/24/36 is unacceptable. I’m tired of looking at tired woman on planes. I work to hard to have to see some size 12 with a suttle mustache serving me a drink…

  8. Oh how I miss the old good days of Hooters Air!!!! Everybody loves their uniforms. AA uniforms looks like funeral clothes. Plain gray!!!! No color at all. And I would agree with the pilots: you don’t wan’t to spend all your day wearing a low quality uniform.

  9. Good input to ask for American made uniforms. Im not American, but I like the idea to stand up for your fellow countrymen and women.
    Also, down the road it could be bad PR if it ended up in the media that the uniforms were made by children in locked up factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia etc. Go for union made in America.

  10. LOL You have got to be kidding me. I know pilots have been treated terribly in the past by their employers, but the EMPLOYERS make decisions on the uniform. Whether they choose to invest 2x capital and and 10x time is not a decision EMPLOYEES get to demand.

    What a bunch of losers.

  11. @LOLinSEA
    I dont know where you are from, but where I am from it is very common to ask the people that actually will be using the uniform what they prefer. It would be highly arrogant to do anything else.
    We have tested the clothing on user groups and the unions, if it is comfortable and if it is practicable. It is the same, weather it is for the police, the army, flight attendants, pilots, doctors, etc etc. The users know best. And they are the ones having to use it for thousands of hours a year.

    It reduces the chances of making mistakes.

    And you make fun of it? Your way of thinking leadership was outdated many years ago. Sorry.

  12. John, “suttle”? You’re tired of looking at tired “woman” ? You work “to” hard? Perhaps a little self-reflection is in order before you criticize the FAs …

  13. @John,
    Do I detect male chauvinism here? Do most men still have the body that they had at 21? I doubt that we have the right to criticize .

  14. I know the pilots didn’t write up this list, it was from the union lackeys.

    3. American made pilot uniform (preferably union made).
    4. Top quality fabric, fit and production.

    Those two points directly contradict one another. Union made, American manufacturers? There are probably 2 of those left in the US and they use quality fabrics like polyester or rayon. The cost will be many times what non-American made uniforms cost – someone has to cover the sewing machine operator’s $45 and hour salary and of course the union skim off the top.

    Top quality fabric? That’s going to have to come from Italy or the UK – you want better uniforms for your members? Have them go fly for BA or Alitalia. Leather Bomber jackets? Really? Definitely should go on strike for that!

    Unions are so freaking worthless…

  15. sounds like they are being made out of polyester, if so then that is ridiculous, I can’t imagine anything worse

  16. Leather bomber jackets are issued by Southwest, Alaska, and a few other airlines. More practical than blazers.

  17. I agree with @canuck_in_ca. Quite a few airlines issue leather bomber jackets to their flight crews. Sometimes the employee has to buy the leather bomber jacket, though.

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