Delta Mulls Updating Employee Uniforms Again Amid Health Complaints

Delta Air Lines crew members have been complaining about their new uniforms, citing serious health concerns from the bright purple material. The complaints have spurred the airline to consider updating the uniforms again.

Delta flight attendants
Delta may scrap the new uniforms. Photo: Delta Air Lines

What is the story?

Delta cabin crew, gate agents and other auxiliary staff recently got a new uniform. The uniform is quite fetching with a bright purple color theme throughout. It is this purple color that has been causing the most grief, with the properties of the color fastening on the material allegedly causing a severer allergic reaction in some people.

There are two main issues with the uniforms:

  • The uniforms have a ‘quality’ issue, as such the seams and buttons are breaking far earlier than the original 2006 uniforms.
  • Some cabin crew have said that the new uniforms “cause skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, breathing difficulties, hair loss, and nausea”.

Delta has tested the uniforms but has failed to find a cause of these complaints. But have decided to turn over a new leaf and believe their employees regardless.

“Our top priority continues to be the safety of our employees, which is why we invested in a rigorous toxicology study to determine if there was a universal scientific issue with the uniform,” said Delta Air Lines in a statement“The results of the study confirm our uniforms meet the highest textile standards (OEKO-TEX) with the exception of the optional flight attendant apron, which we removed from the collection.”

Delta Air Lines
The new Delta uniforms. Photo: Delta Air Lines

How did the Delta team react?

When the first complaints started to file in from Delta employees last year, the airline proposed that they could simply wear the older uniforms (black and without the purple) until they found a solution.

But according to The Points Guy, when Delta offered that option to their team the complaints ‘soared into the thousands’. Essentially, almost half the Delta workforce has now moved back to the older uniforms, rendering the new uniforms effectively obsolete.

“Having a group of folks wearing their own black and white clothing versus a group that’s wearing the Delta uniform ‘was becoming unsustainable'” said Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of Delta’s new uniform program in a statement to The Points Guy.

What has happened now?

Delta has seen the way the tide is moving and decided to explore replacing the uniforms.

As a solution, Delta will be providing a new grey wool dress for the female flight attendants. It is the same design and material as the purple uniform, but without the actual color that is causing the adverse reactions. Additionally, they will bring back the white cotton shirt that was popular in 2006 as another option for those working in hot climates and those that have complained about the high neckline on the dress.

The new uniforms will be made at the same factory as the previous purple ones (Lands End is the manufacturer) but will undergo independent testing at a lab to ensure that Delta is 100% confident of no reactions.

Delta crew
The apron pictured has been removed from the product line. Photo: Delta Air Lines via Flickr

Delta is confident that this solution will solve the problem for the time being.

“It’s about getting it right and getting this uniform on them for hopefully the next ten years.” finished Dimbiloglu to The Points Guy.

It remains to be seen if this solution will solve the problem for Delta. Or it may simply prove that the Delta team really didn’t like the purple color.

What do you think about this news? Is this a good move by Delta? Let us know in the comments.