Since Cathay Pacific was founded over 70 years ago, the carrier has required all frontline female employees to wear skirts. This includes ground agents and flight attendants, and applies at both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. That will soon be changing.
This topic came to light earlier this month, when the flight attendant unions of both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon request that the airlines update their image of flight attendants. The Cathay Dragon union was the first to bring this up, and then the Cathay Pacific union quickly supported them. At the time, the South China Morning Post’s awesome Danny Lee quoted a Cathay Pacific union rep as saying the following:
“The stereotype of the flight attendant is very old-style already: looking pretty, full make-up and wearing a skirt. It is a good time to have a revamp of our image,” Vera Wu Yee-mei, chairwoman of the Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union, said.
“It excites us, this idea, that we can think about this direction, so maybe we can do some joint action [with Cathay Dragon] and support them to fight for this issue all together.”
The talks between management and the unions concluded today, with both sides agreeing that during the next uniform refresh, employees will have the options of wearing trousers rather than skirts. According to the latest update from the South China Morning Post:
“The company agrees to consider the option of a trouser uniform item for female crew. This will take place during the next uniform refresh,” the Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Flight Attendants Association said in a statement.
A spokesman for Cathay Pacific also said there had been an agreement.
“We are pleased that we have reached an understanding on matters raised,” the airline said.
“There is no progress without change. Now is the time to make this happen by working together to review the uniforms that accurately reflect the values we represent.”
Better late than never, I guess. This is certainly an option that all female employees at Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon deserve. While I think it should be an option at any workplace, I especially think it’s needed in the airline industry, given the long shifts and challenging conditions under which employees work. They should be as comfortable as possible (while still looking professional, of course, as much as I’d love for them to be able to wear pajamas to work, as I do). 😉