Delta Flight Attendants Sue Over New Uniforms

Delta flight attendants have filed a class-action lawsuit over their new uniforms. The new  “Passport Plum” uniforms have allegedly caused skin irritation and suffer from poor craftsmanship.

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

What is the problem with the uniforms?

Simple Flying reported back in June that Delta cabin crew members were not happy with their new uniforms.

The carrier decided to update their look and move away from the original Richard Tyler designed uniforms created in 2006. This design change cost around $20 million but promised to bring crew members up to date with modern trends.

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However, according to flight attendants who have been wearing the new uniforms, there are some issues:

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  • Apparently, the quality of the uniforms is not the same as the original ones made in 2006, with seams falling apart and buttons popping off.
  • Some flight attendants have alleged that the uniforms “cause skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, breathing difficulties, hair loss, and nausea”. Yikes.

The impacts are so bad for some team members that they develop symptoms after standing near a uniform, without making physical contact or wearing the items.

The allergy issues may stem from the chemicals used to finish the fabric, to give it its color and stain/wrinkle resistance.

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Lands’ End, who actually makes the uniform, has said to The Guardian that they are seriously investigating each case and complaint.

“We take each concern seriously and we work closely with Delta to attempt to find a solution that enables the employee to have a uniform that is both comfortable and functional.”

So far, cabin crew members who are affected have the following options:

  • Flight attendants can wear the old uniform if they prefer.
  • Female flight attendants can wear a male uniform (which seems to avoid the chemicals described above).
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines has turned a blind eye to those wanting to wear older uniforms. Photo: Delta Air Lines

What is happening now?

The situation has gotten so serious that flight attendant unions have filed a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the uniforms, Lands’ End. The class-action is not aimed at the carrier and Delta is not named as a defendant.

The lawsuit, filed at Western District of Wisconsin Court, claims that the uniforms caused “severe respiratory illnesses, rashes, boils, hives, blisters, sinus problems, headaches, and fatigue”. The complainants not only include flight attendants but also ramp and gate agents, lounge managers and more.

They are asking for damages for “personal injuries, pain and suffering, severe emotional distress and financial or economic loss” as well as Lands’ End to recall the uniforms.

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Cabin crew hope that they get different uniforms. Photo: Delta News Hub

Delta and Lands’ End have stated that the unforms are harmless and have passed all internal tests.

“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.”

Somewhat related to this news, Zac Posen, the designer of the uniform, has shut down his brand after being unable to find a buyer.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.

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Lastmate

Forgive me, but I honestly thought the “old” uniforms were just fine.

Richard Johnson

That is what you get when you use the cheapest materials you can find in Asia. No good Quality Control there what so ever.

Rosul Samian

And which part of Asia u r specifically referring to, Mr Johnson? As an Asian, I am personally insulted by ur comment

John Doe

Land’s End hasn’t manufactured anything in years. They are just another one of dozens of middle men peddling substandard goods made by Chinese prison labor. Land’s End’s famed quality has become a tragic joke.

Gerry S

Loved the old uniform. Dislikes that horrid purple.

Gerry S

No wonder that FA this weekend was tugging at her side.

Michelle

There are pictures from flight attendants that show how the purple dye is staining everything from bed linens in hotels, belt buckles and seat cushions on their jump seats, and even toilet seats! This isn’t a joke, there is a serious problem with the dye used for these new uniforms. Most women are having to wear long underwear or tights under their uniforms, but the problem still exists.

Anonymous

Criticizing all quality control or assurance in Asia is a lazy, ignorant cheap shot. Products coming from all over Asia have quality levels ranging from some of the best in the world to some of the worst. Quality has less to do with geography and more to do with what is demanded, and paid for, by the importer.
As anywhere, some manufacturers have neither the management nor production skills to produce at a specified high level. It is the responsibility of the importer, here or elsewhere, to see to it with their engineering boots on the ground to qualify a manufacturer to produce consistently at the level they demand.
Consider that the NFL, NBA, MLB, among others, have much of their on-field gear produced in Asia. (Ever looked at the label on the inside of the official baseball cap you purchased at an MLB park?) Fewer importers have higher quality demands.
If you buy something that falls into the piece-of-c**p category look at the brand name first, there is your villain.

Anonymous

I didn’t know the flight attendants had a union……

Gerry S

Hey, Delta. From your most ardent shill. This uniform is a failure. Unbecoming of a great airline. Wish you could read Michelle's input. Also look at lowly(?) Spirit's FA uniforms. Much nicer. Wish I could upload Simpleflying to your head office.