Philippine Airlines is taking a bold step and offering protective gear to its flight attendants starting this month. This should give its flight attendants a little extra peace of mind in the midst of this global coronavirus pandemic.
What the airline is providing
Philippine Airlines is offering its flight attendants full protective gear to operate flights. The uniform is specially designed for the airline with the colors of the airline and flag of the country.
Philippine Airlines cabin crew wear full PPE – suit/mask/face shield/gloves – as part of the airlines health and safety measures, plus social distancing for passengers onboard
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) April 14, 2020
The suit is extensive, covering flight attendants from head to toe with hospital-style uniforms. The red, yellow, and blue stripe is representative of the flag of the Philippines. For now, the gear is only being provided for crews operating repatriation flights as the airline has grounded regularly scheduled commercial operations until at least April 30th.
Not just in the Philippines
Philippines crews will join Taiwanese flight crews in receiving full protective gear. While Taiwanese flight attendants receive glasses for eye protection, Philippine Airlines is providing its flight attendants full face shields.
Around the world, flight crews are receiving more protection. Most airlines, however, are only offering their flight attendants face masks and gloves at most. Other flights where crews have received full protective equipment are on specially operated rescue flights for hard-hit coronavirus centers.
Is this the new norm?
Airlines, in a sense, have a herd mentality. When one airline makes a change, others tend to follow at various speeds. This one, however, is a little different. To see this kind of operation on rescue and repatriation flights makes sense as those flights are operating with robust health procedures in mind.
Flight attendant uniforms have evolved over time. They serve a dual nature as being both practical and professional. And for airlines, flight attendants are tied to the company’s image. One strong example is the “Singapore Girl” from Singapore Airlines.
For many people, seeing a flight attendant wearing this gear would be a bit jarring to say the least. Just in terms of optics, it could present the visual that flying is not as safe from a health standpoint. Furthermore, providing this gear to every flight attendant around the world would require a considerable investment and take plenty of time by which point, hopefully, the coronavirus epidemic would have subsided.
The flag carrier has embarked on some major expansion these last few years. In January, Philippine Airlines strengthened its US flights with new Seattle and Los Angeles flights. In December, the airline announced a nonstop Manila to Perth connection.
However, its expansion has not been without its controversy. United Airlines has taken a stand against the airlines’ proposed expansion due to its own issues getting slots in Manila– the carrier’s hub.
Philippine Airlines is offering its flight attendants enhanced protective equipment that is similar to what many will see in hospitals. This move is currently in place for repatriation flights.
What do you make about Philippine Airlines’ new uniforms? Do you think more carriers need to adopt this?
Simple Flying reached out to Philippine Airlines for comment. However, the carrier was not immediately available to respond.