Oh Boy: Delta’s New Uniforms Are Causing Problems Already

Oh Boy: Delta’s New Uniforms Are Causing Problems Already

34

Only two weeks ago, I wrote about how Delta was launching new uniforms for more than 64,000 of its employees with a bold new ‘passport plum’ color (I still don’t know what that means — what passports are even purple?).

Delta’s new ‘passport plum’ uniforms

At the time I noted:

Perhaps learning from American’s disastrous new uniform roll-out, Delta spent three years testing these uniforms with over 1,000 staff already having trialled wearing them on the job, performing real life duties. They also received completed surveys from more than half of all employees that will be wearing these uniforms as they were designing them.

Problems already

Well perhaps even three years testing was not enough. Business Insider is reporting some employees are already complaining about the following problems, which began just hours after they received their new uniforms:

  • The new apron strap is causing chafing around the neck
  • Loose buttons are already falling off
  • Incorrectly sized uniforms are causing general chafing

In regards to the apron strap, Delta had designed three different versions of the strap and evidently chose the wrong one, so is working on a new version of the strap (presumably testing the chafing of the two strap designs that didn’t make the cut). In the meantime Delta is allowing crews to either tie the apron around their waist (rather than their neck), or not wear the apron at all.

Loose buttons are a quality control issue from the factory in which they were made — they should be able to track these back to the time and location fairly accurately, and ensure this does not happen for any uniforms made in the future.

The incorrect sizing most likely comes down to the fact that these uniforms are not tailor-made, so standardised sizing may not fit some of the 64,000 employees, who are all different shapes and sizes.

I know when I buy a new business shirt, the first thing I will do with it when I get home is to wash it because it is scratchy if you wear it straight out of the packet. Perhaps all staff were supposed to wash their uniforms before they wore them?

Do we have any Delta employees here?

Bottom line

Fortunately there have only been a few dozen complaints about the uniform so far, which pales in comparison to the 3,500 complaints American Airlines received for the uniform comfort last year.

But then again, it has been less than two weeks.

It appears that Delta tried to do everything they could to avoid this through extensive testing, but it seems like even the best planning can’t guarantee these uniforms will be perfect, especially for such a huge and diverse employee base. This gives you an idea of just how difficult it is to design a perfect airline uniform.

Have you noticed the new uniforms on Delta flights?

Conversations (34)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Deb Kenny Guest

    I am retired, but during the transition from Pan Am to Delta, we had 2 uniforms. Navy blue and light slate gray. Each uniform consisted of skirt, vest, jacket and 3 styles of white blouses. There were also slacks. Those uniforms looked sharp and turned heads everywhere we went. No mistaking DELTA WAS IN THE HOUSE! With our uniform codes restricting nail color and amount of jewelry we were allowed to wear it may have...

    I am retired, but during the transition from Pan Am to Delta, we had 2 uniforms. Navy blue and light slate gray. Each uniform consisted of skirt, vest, jacket and 3 styles of white blouses. There were also slacks. Those uniforms looked sharp and turned heads everywhere we went. No mistaking DELTA WAS IN THE HOUSE! With our uniform codes restricting nail color and amount of jewelry we were allowed to wear it may have annoyed some, but we always looked sharp and professional which enhanced our image. Many passengers lost some trust being assisted by one with 3" orange nails and 3 " hoop earrings. Detracted from the professional look they were going for. I think those uniforms with vests and jackets were smart looking

  2. Brad Guest

    Last month I flew on Singapore Airlines, Asiana and Vietnam Airlines. Just today, I flew Delta domestically with cabin crew in the new uniforms. Its a nice change compared to their okd uniforms but honestly, if American carriers had stricter standards about weight like carriers in Asia, any uniform would look great on Delta employees. Now, professionalism standards of carriers in America are also an embarrassment compared to Asian carriers. One FA was eating her...

    Last month I flew on Singapore Airlines, Asiana and Vietnam Airlines. Just today, I flew Delta domestically with cabin crew in the new uniforms. Its a nice change compared to their okd uniforms but honestly, if American carriers had stricter standards about weight like carriers in Asia, any uniform would look great on Delta employees. Now, professionalism standards of carriers in America are also an embarrassment compared to Asian carriers. One FA was eating her own food in front of all passengers and even changed shows in the middle of the aisle.

  3. mpkossen Guest

    Since the introduction of the new uniforms I've both flown Delta and been at a hotel where the crews stay. I've heard nothing but great things about the looks of the new uniforms (most people call them extremely classy) and the ladies seem to love those purses (or bags?). Guess they could sell them ;-)

    As for rolling out new uniforms to about 64000 people: there's bound to be some issues. Those can be fixed....

    Since the introduction of the new uniforms I've both flown Delta and been at a hotel where the crews stay. I've heard nothing but great things about the looks of the new uniforms (most people call them extremely classy) and the ladies seem to love those purses (or bags?). Guess they could sell them ;-)

    As for rolling out new uniforms to about 64000 people: there's bound to be some issues. Those can be fixed. I think the more important thing is how customers experience the new uniforms; having your customers dislike them is harder to fix :-)

  4. Hunter Guest

    Living in Atlanta I fly Delta regularly and I have to say I really think they missed the mark on this new uniform. They can call it passport purple but it really looks like Barney delivering FedEx overnight packages. It’s very close in color to the current FedEx uniforms and the jackets that fan out around the waist look like costumes from an 80s Broadway musical -they really don’t tie into anything that’s on board...

    Living in Atlanta I fly Delta regularly and I have to say I really think they missed the mark on this new uniform. They can call it passport purple but it really looks like Barney delivering FedEx overnight packages. It’s very close in color to the current FedEx uniforms and the jackets that fan out around the waist look like costumes from an 80s Broadway musical -they really don’t tie into anything that’s on board the aircraft or their paint scheme and they’re not very flattering on most of the employees I’ve seen except all but the very youngest and most slender. Has been fun hearing all of the comments made by other passengers in the terminal and on the plane but generally speaking those comments haven’t been very positive comments. More often they have been other passengers making lighthearted fun of the new look.

  5. Robert Guest

    Talk to the staff at Air Canada about their new uniform: poor fits, neck rashes and serious overheating (so much staff were told that they don't need to wear jackets anymore.

  6. Divan New Member

    I know Airline Uniforms can be a big headache in the first few months. For example When my airline first rolled out our new uniforms we were told not to use fabric softener on some items etc. its all about trial and error i guess

  7. Stevene Member

    There’s always a “settling” in time at the beginning of a major uniform change - and no doubt a lot of people take time to adjust to the man made fabric no doubt made in “China” sorry Trumpman- and some people don’t like change especially the older generation - hope it’s successful it does look good

  8. Louis Guest

    Three main DL stations we've visited had ALL the employees we spoke with tell us how UGLY and UNCOMFORTABLE these nasty uniforms are. They ALL miss the old ones.

  9. Santastico Gold

    Passport plum or whatever they want to call I call purple and it does not belong to Delta. When I see Delta crew wearing the new color the last thing that comes to my mind is Delta. I live uniforms that even from a distance you can identify the airline. Singapore, Emirates and Alitalia are great examples where that works. The new Delta does not.

  10. CAROLYNNE ANN LOREK New Member

    They need to do fittings at least 3 like all the major international airlines do so the uniform looks good on the wearer and feels comfortable working in it.

  11. KW Guest

    I flew four legs on Delta last week and complimented the FA on their uniforms each time, as did many people boarding. Each time I received a positive response, mostly "thanks, we like them!" The new safety video shows the history of the Delta uniform as well, and it's quite interesting. The new uniforms look much better than some from the 70s and 80s!

    1. Deb Kenny Guest

      No
      Never better than the navy and gray uniforms. (92-97)?

  12. Jordan Guest

    I do not fly DL (that airline gives me the creeps). Anyway, I saw a DL FA on the Skytrain to JFK the other day, she looked amaaaaaazing and I was surprised that the color did not make me puke....I liked it! Then again her body was totally banging and she could have walked on to a fashion runway with ease. The uniform looked great.

    I do feel it might be a little unfair...

    I do not fly DL (that airline gives me the creeps). Anyway, I saw a DL FA on the Skytrain to JFK the other day, she looked amaaaaaazing and I was surprised that the color did not make me puke....I liked it! Then again her body was totally banging and she could have walked on to a fashion runway with ease. The uniform looked great.

    I do feel it might be a little unfair to make all "sizes" cram into such a cut, but that's not my worry. As much as I dislike DL, I hope the issues do not escalate in numbers too greatly.

  13. David Member

    I have a close friend who was one of the "testers" of the men's uniforms. And he loves it. I haven't heard of any complaints from him or other crew.

  14. Zymm Member

    Just based on the look of the materials, I would be surprised if these were machine washable.

  15. Donna Diamond

    Saw a crew in SAN last week. Up close, the female uniforms looked like spandex. And purple spandex so classy...

  16. Joey Diamond

    I flew DL this past weekend and saw the uniforms. I'm a VS frequent flyer so at first I thought I was flying Virgin at first.
    Personally I thought the old DL uniform was fine and didn't seem dated to me so I had no idea why DL had to update its uniforms but I guess they have a ton of money and that they can.
    As with anything new, there will always...

    I flew DL this past weekend and saw the uniforms. I'm a VS frequent flyer so at first I thought I was flying Virgin at first.
    Personally I thought the old DL uniform was fine and didn't seem dated to me so I had no idea why DL had to update its uniforms but I guess they have a ton of money and that they can.
    As with anything new, there will always be glitches. The issues raised thus far sound very minor compared to what AA experienced. I'd say this has been a success overall.

    1. Deb Kenny Guest

      DL employs pay for their own uniforms, payroll deducted.

  17. AdamR Diamond

    100% agree with @Neil S. Passport Plum was used for travel-related alliteration in the name. It's meant to be quirky, catchy, and fun. It's 100% marketing and seems to have worked because certain bloggers can't seem to shut up about it and no publicity is bad publicity. But really, though, enough with the faux disbelief and pearl-clutching about the name.

    That said, I was on several DL flights immediately after the launch and I thought...

    100% agree with @Neil S. Passport Plum was used for travel-related alliteration in the name. It's meant to be quirky, catchy, and fun. It's 100% marketing and seems to have worked because certain bloggers can't seem to shut up about it and no publicity is bad publicity. But really, though, enough with the faux disbelief and pearl-clutching about the name.

    That said, I was on several DL flights immediately after the launch and I thought the uniforms looked great. Overheard lots of positive feedback from other pax on the flights, too. Plus the FAs I spoke with or also overheard were fairly positive about the looks. Seems like a win for DL. The "problems" listed above - aside from the button QC issue - sound more like wearers are being overly sensitive or have not taken due diligence to make sure they ordered the proper size and/or have opted not to have their uniforms tailored appropriately. Never assume anything directly off-the-rack will fit perfectly.

  18. Dwondermeant Guest

    No wonder why they are always grumpy
    When you buy cheap you end up with scratchy uncomfortable fabric one suffers
    Amazing they can’t afford better with one way 100,000 mile awards
    in coach for short haul domestic travel

  19. Trevor New Member

    Massive difference between some minor chaffing and discomfort and apparent health issues caused by the new AA uniform. As noted by some commentators above this would seem to be a success so far for DL

  20. Jimmy Guest

    Depends how you percept the colours; most of the EU countries have (kind of) "dark plum" passports; France, Poland, Germany, just to name a few major.

  21. Gregg Diamond

    I can see why some crews don't like the new uniforms. Having seen them in person, the gray suit for the men is absolutely hideous and makes the majority of them look fat. It really should be switched out for a charcoal gray or some color that is more flattering. Also, generally speaking the uniforms are ill-fitting, especially the suit jackets which are often too short. On a larger person, the jacket needs to be...

    I can see why some crews don't like the new uniforms. Having seen them in person, the gray suit for the men is absolutely hideous and makes the majority of them look fat. It really should be switched out for a charcoal gray or some color that is more flattering. Also, generally speaking the uniforms are ill-fitting, especially the suit jackets which are often too short. On a larger person, the jacket needs to be longer to create a more flattering vertical line. I do like the purple, though!

  22. Les Miller Guest

    I believe most of the uniform pieces are polyester but there was an option if you had an allergy or other reasoning for asking for a cotton uniform they would oblige

  23. EChid Guest

    Is 24-36 complaints out of 64,000 employees considered significant? I would think that such a low number would be considered a huge accomplishment.

  24. Russ Tanglewood Guest

    I considered “passport plum” to be reminiscent of the color of the ink for some of the stamps, especially those from Asia and the Middle East.

  25. Neil S. Guest

    Passport Plum is marketing people, it's not literal. Could have also been Runway Red, Gate Green or Destination Dark Blue. MARKETING.

    And if 64,000 people are using the new uniforms with some loose buttons and a strap that can likely be quickly redesigned on something extra like an apron, I'd say that's a massive win for Delta overall.

    Yes, the trolls have more fun when it's "all a flaming disaster" but let's get...

    Passport Plum is marketing people, it's not literal. Could have also been Runway Red, Gate Green or Destination Dark Blue. MARKETING.

    And if 64,000 people are using the new uniforms with some loose buttons and a strap that can likely be quickly redesigned on something extra like an apron, I'd say that's a massive win for Delta overall.

    Yes, the trolls have more fun when it's "all a flaming disaster" but let's get real.

    Delta was prepared, had a good process, and these don't seem major to me.

  26. Les Miller Guest

    Passport plum is a combination of our red and blue

  27. SAAdFlyer Guest

    @James. Indeed they do! To Czechia at least. DL 411 JFK-PRG. Seriously, passports could do with a pop of colour beyond red, green and blue ;-)

  28. Mitch Cumstein Gold

    I was on a Delta flight yesterday and my wife complimented the FA on the new uniform. The FA hesitated thanking her, and when my wife asked why, she said "well, they're really uncomfortable to wear. I'd estimate that more than half of us really can't stand them." She also said there were more complaints with the female uniforms than the male ones, but plenty of men hated them too.

  29. SAAdFlyer Guest

    @James, "...what passports are even purple?"
    https://www.passportindex.org/byColor.php
    Ethiopia, Czech and Kosovo?

    1. James Diamond

      @ SAAdFlyer - do Delta even fly to any of those countries?

  30. DLPTATL Diamond

    I'm just glad that Delta stuck with tradition and kept the gate supervisors in red coats. In Delta lingo they're referred to as "Red Coats" with great reverence as they have the ultimate power in who gets on a flight, who gets kicked-off a flight, if your counter-offer on a bump voucher will be granted, etc. Somehow Purple Coats just wouldn't have the same ring to it.

  31. Jason Diamond

    I saw the new Delta uniform on an agent in Madrid a few weeks ago. It literally was a day or two after the debut, so I was amazed that an agent there was wearing one so soon after the roll out. I saw this woman on the subway going into the city from the airport. Sad thing is that when I saw her boarding the train I HONESTLY thought she was wearing an Air...

    I saw the new Delta uniform on an agent in Madrid a few weeks ago. It literally was a day or two after the debut, so I was amazed that an agent there was wearing one so soon after the roll out. I saw this woman on the subway going into the city from the airport. Sad thing is that when I saw her boarding the train I HONESTLY thought she was wearing an Air China uniform. It wasnt until she sat next to me that I saw the Delta widget and the Delta on her name tag. I dont know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Deb Kenny Guest

DL employs pay for their own uniforms, payroll deducted.

0
Deb Kenny Guest

No Never better than the navy and gray uniforms. (92-97)?

0
Deb Kenny Guest

I am retired, but during the transition from Pan Am to Delta, we had 2 uniforms. Navy blue and light slate gray. Each uniform consisted of skirt, vest, jacket and 3 styles of white blouses. There were also slacks. Those uniforms looked sharp and turned heads everywhere we went. No mistaking DELTA WAS IN THE HOUSE! With our uniform codes restricting nail color and amount of jewelry we were allowed to wear it may have annoyed some, but we always looked sharp and professional which enhanced our image. Many passengers lost some trust being assisted by one with 3" orange nails and 3 " hoop earrings. Detracted from the professional look they were going for. I think those uniforms with vests and jackets were smart looking

0
Meet James, OMAAT Editor
Miles Traveled

Words Written

Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT