KLM Employees Can Soon Wear Sneakers As Part Of Uniform

KLM Employees Can Soon Wear Sneakers As Part Of Uniform

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Dutch carrier KLM is changing its uniform policy, and that includes the option of more comfortable footwear.

KLM launches sneakers for employees

As of May 6, 2024, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will allow employees to wear sneakers as part of their uniform. This includes all frontline staff, from pilots, to flight attendants, to ground agents. Employees will be able to wear their own sneakers (which must meet certain requirements), or they can buy sneakers developed especially for KLM, designed by Filling Pieces.

KLM employees will be able to wear sneakers

KLM describes this decision as being intended to improve well-being among employees, and it’s in response to the demand for more comfortable work shoes. KLM has been allowing sneakers to be worn as a trial for some time, and a senior purser for the airline describes this policy change as follows:

“In the past year, I have been able to test sneakers as a sustainable part of my uniform. After years of the classic look of pumps, I now wear sneakers with great pleasure! They give me a good start towards a good flight!”

KLM’s specially branded employee sneakers

This uniform policy change reflects the times

KLM is far from the first airline to introduce more flexible footwear options for employees. This is an area where we’ve seen the most innovation from “playful” low cost carriers primarily targeting younger staff, though we’ve also seen some legacy airlines follow that lead.

Iceland’s PLAY has casual uniforms

For example, in 2023, Finnair began allowing all of its staff to start wearing sneakers, so it’s not surprising to see the airlines that are headed in the same direction.

Finnair employees can also wear sneakers

Admittedly this largely reflects the cultures of the home countries of these airlines. I doubt you’ll see such a policy change at Japan Airlines or Singapore Airlines anytime soon, but I’m not surprised to see something like this at many airlines in Northern Europe and Western Europe.

Personally I’m in favor of this, though I’m also a millennial, and basically spend my entire life in athleisure clothing. What matters most to me is that airline employees are comfortable, and can therefore be their best at work.

Bottom line

KLM is modernizing its uniforms standards, and will allow all staff to start wearing sneakers. They can either wear their own sneakers (within certain parameters), or buy company branded sneakers. This is a trend we’ve seen at some airlines, though KLM is among the first legacy airlines to head in this direction.

What do you make of KLM allowing staff to wear sneakers?

Conversations (30)
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  1. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Diamond

    I’m encouraged that the comment section was not a rubber stamp for this idea. I’m not opposed to employee comfort but if you’re going to go with sneakers as part of the uniform, you might as well scrap a uniform design that tries to mimic business formal. I’ve always thought sneakers with suits or slacks looked bad. There are options somewhere between dress shoes, and sneakers that would look far better with a business formal...

    I’m encouraged that the comment section was not a rubber stamp for this idea. I’m not opposed to employee comfort but if you’re going to go with sneakers as part of the uniform, you might as well scrap a uniform design that tries to mimic business formal. I’ve always thought sneakers with suits or slacks looked bad. There are options somewhere between dress shoes, and sneakers that would look far better with a business formal uniform while also offering better comfort. Otherwise, KLM should drop the pretense that the employee uniform represents a higher end product and just go with polos and khakis. You can’t have all of that in one uniform design.

  2. Timtamtrak Diamond

    I’m a fan of this. Working at Amtrak in on board service we had to wear boots for 16-18 hour workdays. Not comfortable or practical working in a 95° kitchen. There are lots of professional looking sneaker-type shoes that are very comfortable. For the work flight attendants are doing this makes total sense.

  3. Andy Diamond

    Iberia has also their own sneaker line, which goes well with the uniform. So does Avianca.

  4. John Guest

    I love that KLM focuses on big picture issues like...footwear. Screw those peripheral non-issues like scheduling, catering, fare pricing, lounge overcrowding, cancellations, refunds etc. etc.

    1. henare Diamond

      having a happy crew is directly traceable to happier passengers.

  5. Alexander Guest

    As a former Airline staff ,I think this is simply Awful .
    Ugly with sneakers for a uniform .
    What is the next step ,pajamas ??
    A Sad trend .

    1. KEEP CABIN CREW SMART, NOT SCRUFFY Guest

      Just as bad as the awful British Airways uniform change. Just AWFUL. Who the HELL wants to see a female cabin crew dressed in -YUK - drab sneakers? Not me. Bring back the high heels.

      Oh yes, and British Airways - please bring back the Julien MacDonald uniform.

  6. Robert Guest

    I disagree. All look awful and highly unprofessional. There are plenty of formal shoes without high heels. Soon they will allow the crew to wear shorts, t shirts and flip flops - as they are very comfy.

  7. polarbear Gold

    Actually would not mind buying a pair - if they decide to sell it as merchandise and the price will be in general vicinity of reality

    1. KEEP CABIN CREW SMART, NOT SCRUFFY Guest

      You will look AWFUL in sneakers, believe me. They would detract horribly from an otherwise smart uniform.

    2. henare Diamond

      if they work well. for flight attendants they might work well for us all....

  8. Kendall Guest

    Another small step toward mediocrity for Europe

  9. Dennis Guest

    Sneakers with formal wear looks so outdated, like from the 90s. It just dont look right.

    1. henare Diamond

      These uniforms are not, by any stretch, formal wear.

    1. henare Diamond

      Come back when you can spell "elegance" and can make it relevant here.

    2. LuisRPM Guest

      Why do you have to be so passive-aggressive?

  10. BSF Guest

    Woof those Finnair sneakers!
    Support this 200% overall though. It's a physical job.

  11. derek Guest

    Racist article by slamming Singapore Airlines and JAL? Not all Asian airlines have clumsy shoes. EVA has low heels.

    Does KLM fly to SF Bay Oakland Super-duper-Galaxy Airport, haha? Just watch the shoes get taken during a robbery

    1. Mason Guest

      Why are you offended so much? Did he say it's a bad thing?

    2. Joe Guest

      It's not a racist comment, it's about those countries having more formal cultures.

    3. Ken Guest

      It's always interesting to see how people see life through different lenses probably based on past experiences. I read that sentence as saying that SG is too formal or conventionally classy to allow sneakers anytime soon. Nothing racist

  12. Joseph Guest

    I think this is a step forward for safety. You can’t wear heels on a slide. And more grip to the surface on an aircraft floor has to be for the better. I think this is a good risk management move.

    1. Mark Christopher Guest

      I highly doubt it was done for safety considerations. As stated the primary purpose is general comfort. A secondary point could be as you mentioned the floor compe

  13. Julia Guest

    A good move, but only if they can make sure people follow the "parameters" to keep a consistent look among employees. Then again, they could always just provide the company branded sneakers with the regular uniforms to keep it all consistent.

    1. Lee Guest

      Agree with your first statement, but some people have weird feet that require special sizes.

  14. Samo Guest

    Every move towards more casual uniforms is a good news. And ultimately it's inevitable since the generations who are keen on formal clothing are gradually being replaced.

    1. Hans Guest

      I respectfully disagree. I am part of the generation you mention and for sure I like my casual clothes, but when I pay for a service, I don‘t want to be surrounded by employees wearing baggy t-shirts or ugly sneakers. Granted, I don‘t expect any high heels etc., but you can‘t speak in general for our generation. If I buy a premium product like a flight with a good airline, I do expect employees to...

      I respectfully disagree. I am part of the generation you mention and for sure I like my casual clothes, but when I pay for a service, I don‘t want to be surrounded by employees wearing baggy t-shirts or ugly sneakers. Granted, I don‘t expect any high heels etc., but you can‘t speak in general for our generation. If I buy a premium product like a flight with a good airline, I do expect employees to wear clothes that primarily reflect their professionalism and not some current fashion trend. Decent suits and leather shoes can be much more comfortable than ugly sneakers.

    2. Samo Guest

      Of course people like you exist, but the move away from formal clothing is obvious in the society. And it's not a full suite vs baggy clothes, there are many options in between. Smart casual uniforms can still look very professional.

    3. KEEP CABIN CREW SMART, NOT SCRUFFY Guest

      It is NOT good news at all! We do NOT want to see our once smartly dressed cabin crew downgraded to cheap, drab, too casual gear. Scruffy sneakers are NOT the way to go.

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.

Samo Guest

Of course people like you exist, but the move away from formal clothing is obvious in the society. And it's not a full suite vs baggy clothes, there are many options in between. Smart casual uniforms can still look very professional.

1
KEEP CABIN CREW SMART, NOT SCRUFFY Guest

You will look AWFUL in sneakers, believe me. They would detract horribly from an otherwise smart uniform.

1
polarbear Gold

Actually would not mind buying a pair - if they decide to sell it as merchandise and the price will be in general vicinity of reality

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