United Airlines Reveals New Employee Uniforms

United has just revealed the details of their new employee uniforms, which they’ll begin testing shortly.

The importance of airline uniforms

As customers, employee uniforms shouldn’t matter to us. At least not directly. The way I see it, what’s important in airline uniforms is that:

  • They make employees take pride in their appearance; it’s nice to look presentable, so if uniform design can help with that, it’s all for the better
  • They allow employees to be comfortable; uniforms can’t just be about style, but also need to be about comfort, especially given the conditions in which airline employees often work
  • They need to be safe to wear, as this has been an issue some airlines have had, where people have allergic reactions (or worse) to uniforms

We’ve seen several airlines screw up uniforms. For example, Alitalia recently had to introduce new uniforms for a second time in a short period, because the original new uniforms weren’t practical enough.

Meanwhile American’s uniforms have caused thousands of complaints among employees, and has caused some employees to break out in hives, so the airline is changing vendors.

A look at United’s new uniforms

Last year United announced that they’d be rolling out new employee uniforms, thanks to new partnerships with Tracy Reese, Brooks Brothers, and Carhartt.

Once tested and tweaked, the uniforms will eventually be worn by United’s more than 70,000 employees. Here’s how United describes their aim with these new uniforms:

Focusing on high quality fabrics, improved breathability and overall enhanced fit, our goal is to design and develop a more cohesive collection that looks good, feels good and enables employees to perform at their best on behalf of our customers.

They’ll be initially testing these uniforms on over 1,300 pilots, flight attendants, and customer service representatives, with a focus on getting feedback on the fit and function of each garment. For now those testing the new uniforms won’t have the new colors, so that the focus remains on functionality.

United Airlines has now shared images of what the new uniform will look like for now, though notes that these aren’t a full representation of the final uniform program, as they’ll continue to refine designs based on feedback.

The new uniforms will all have a base color, which they call “Rhapsody Blue,” to ensure that all groups look like one team.

United says that employees and unions were an integral part in the new design creation, which includes 17,000 survey responses and 35 in-person focus groups.

So, let’s take a look at the new uniforms. Here are the new pilot uniforms:

And the new flight attendant uniforms:

And the new customer service uniforms:

And the new tech operations uniforms:

And the new ramp service uniforms:

And the new catering operations uniforms:

And just for good measure, the new customer service “aloha wear:”

What do you make of United Airlines’ new employee uniforms?

Comments

  1. I like most of them, especially the pilot and female FA ones, but the male FA one looks weird to me. It looks way too slim to me, and there appears to be a weird design on the shoulders of the suit. Not a fan.

  2. Why don’t all airlines just copy Singapore Airlines’ uniforms? Uhh…nevermind, forgot…fat people.

  3. I’d add #4: make employees recognizable to customers. Although I would recognize these people as airline employees, I’m not sure I would recognize any of them as United employees. With the current uniforms it’s easy to recognize United’s blue.

  4. Far from original, borrowing heavily from Qantas and Delta (and some leftovers from Aer Lingus presumably went into the design of the customer service uniforms) but a significant improvement over what they have now.

  5. I’m a fan. I like the purple, there are only so many shades of blue. If they’re going to evolve the product and brand they have to do something different. Also their new premium plus seats have purple accents so this plays into it. The purple complements the blue so they can evolve the livery without a complete overhaul. It’s time.

  6. The male FA uniform looks like the doorman at my Grandmother’s NY high rise. And the female FA uniform is boring but better than Delta or Southwest.

  7. What’s up with the purple in the uniforms lately? First Delta and now United, I guess American is gonna follow the trend soon?

  8. It’s 2019 and they still require female flight attendants and gate agents to wear stilleto pumps? Those poor women have to stand on their feet, push heavy carts and possibly save lives. How about some decent footwear for them?

  9. Horrible… as are all of the U.S. carriers. A mixed bag of boring colors, with cuts and draping that appear as if right off the Topeka WalMart rack in 1989. This is what happens when you let employees and corporate committees guide the direction.

    There is a reason European and Asian crews look so good. Those airlines let the designers actually design without “feedback” and demands from employees whose experience with garments was honed at the local Men’s Warehouse or Chicos.

    U.S. airlines have come a long way down since the days of Pucci doing the uniforms for Braniff.

  10. The ugliest uniform I ever seen. Who ever designed them needs to get fired . And the sad part is united employees will have to wear them

  11. So the customer facing staff will wear a mix of hint-of-purple and hint-of-aqua blue. Where the heck is the consistency in that? The average customer may think that they are dealing with two different airlines.

    Are all flight attendants to wear that dress? I don’t think all of them can. In the past weren’t there alternatives for the larger folk to wear a different outfit (than a tight dress)? I think so. But, this will just give UA passengers a reason to laugh. And God knows we need a good chuckle at United.

  12. Embarrassing! Outrageous! Dated! I thought this was a joke! Unflattering and cheap looking. Especially the flight attendants! What is wrong with the classy and flattering uniforms they have currently? Maybe add a beautiful blouse option or cute jacket. Even a fun and trendy black skirt with a hidden purple klickpleat if you want flare. But really? This is a joke!

  13. These are the same uniform photos leaked to the employees last summer. When the employees protested vehemently, they were told…. “Nooooo- that is not what we are spending all this money on, but shhhhh… it’s a big secret.“
    Reminiscent of Star Trek, Sea World Trainers and the Capt of the Love Boat….
    the United employees are losing their collective minds tonight. Keep in mind, the pics put out are only a few of the pieces shown to employees. The rest are doozies! They are not attractive, professional or classic in design or color.
    Instead of being an industry leader, United has copied other failed airline uniforms.

  14. Why is the female FA the only one on a dress / skirt ?

    Female ground staff gets a scarf. Hope that just pulls off if someone grabs it

  15. > colors don’t support brand imaging

    They will when they re-do the livery and other branding elements in dire need of an update.

  16. Major fail and complete waste of money/effort. The color scheme is completely misaligned with branding, and is creating a mess. Who thought this was a good idea?

  17. When will airlines start to get a little more creative with the men’s wear and stop limiting it to a boring suit and tie? The most they have ever done outside of this is a mediocre sweater vest. It is not just about esthetics- I cannot imagin that a rigid suit jacket is the most appropriate wear when dealing with emergencies.

  18. Male and female pilots look the same.
    But male flight attendants look like pilots, whereas female flight attendants look different.

  19. Why is United trying to win the contest for the ugliest uniforms? Or are they competing with the circus> Those poor flight attendants and agents. The customers won’t be able to find the employees….I think United might want to go back to basic blue or black and use the colors for accent pieces! Be professional looking, so the customer will take them serious!!

  20. Nice uniforms, EXCEPT the flight attendants. They should save the money effort and just buy Air Canada flight attendants’ uniforms. Lufthansa looks a little better but Canada is close to the US so supply might be easier.

    Why not just have a North American Star Alliance flight attendant uniform, which would be AC? Few would notice the copy cat behavior.

  21. Branding has never been a priority for Continental.

    Bring back Pentagram to handle the marketing. Pentagram had an eye and had the skill. Sadly, Pentagram’s efforts would probably be wasted on the joke of an airline that United is. Pentagram would most likely refuse any type of business with the current United.

  22. The problem with United has never been the uniforms, rather, the pissy/not my job attitude of those wearing said uniforms. Until they fix that, you’re just putting lipstick on a pig

  23. Forget the cloths or uniform they wear.

    ALL employees on the flight must be/should be (actually!) required to wear a name tag or badge ALWAYS “””fully””” visible to the passenger(s), without the need of eyeglasses to read the name !!!!!!.

    Not a name tag that can flop over or BE flopped over so no one knows their name; OR to change out of one “wear”: into another like a service apron with no name tag clearly visible to the passengers being served.

    Perhaps United’s service would improve (even in First Class) if they knew we knew (or could see) their name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Waste of capital and they ignore branding. Many of the uniform pieces look terrible. Purple is a terrible base color.

  25. gag me!! saw the grey coat in person. it is felt material, like the stuff you but at a craft store!! All very cheap. Hideous.

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