United Airlines Releases New Employee Uniforms

Fancy a first look at the revamped image for United staff? Well, Simple Flying have got all the lowdown on their brand new uniforms, and we have to say, they look pretty snazzy.

United flight operations new uniform
Flight operators make the most of Rhapsody Blue, the United brand colour. Source: United

The uniforms will, eventually, be rolled out to all 70,000 of the carriers frontline workers, giving United’s image a much needed overhaul.

When formulating the new designs, United’s aim was clear. They described their brief as:

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.

With this project, United have really gone the extra mile to get staff on board, using extensive feedback at every stage of the process to ensure they get it right.

The colour palette

The base colour for the new attire is in keeping with United’s brand, using a colour they’re calling Rhapsody Blue. The new line comes with some distinct pops of colour, which united have described using sexy, aviation-esque names. There’s Pacific Purple, Atlantic Amethyst and Runway Gray, among others.

United Customer Service new uniforms
For customer service, a splash of teal modernises the outfit. Source: United

You can hear more about their inspiration for the chosen colours in the video below.

You’ll not only see your cabin crew and ground staff donning the new colours; United have already started to introduce the new hues on their updated cabin interiors too. Check out the coordination with their new Premium Plus seats.

The most noticeable changes are in the designs for flight attendants and customer service agents. Their current colour scheme is heavy on the neutral blues and greys, but the new one really pops with colour.

United inflight service new uniforms
United’s cabin crew uniform showcase the Atlantic Amethyst colour. Source: United

We’re loving the purple hued dress with its light blue accent, which is one of the options for female flight attendants. For the guys, a striking ‘Atlantic Amethyst’ tie brings a splash of colour to the new uniform.

United catering new uniforms
Even catering have had a flashy new makeover. Source: United

They haven’t left anyone out of the redesign. From ground crew to tech staff, everyone’s getting a brand new look. The ground crew are already wear-testing the new clothes, which promise to be more comfortable, breathable and durable than their current attire.

United ramp staff new uniform
Ramp staff’s redesign will be more comfortable and breathable. Source: United

By the end of the month, more than 1,300 pilots, flight attendants and customer service workers will join in the wear test to get a feel for the new uniforms. But don’t expect to be seeing splashes of blue and purple around the airport anytime soon.

United tech operations new uniforms
Tech operations have already been wear-testing the new uniforms. Source: United

For a while, the wear-test will be checking out only the style and fabric and will be visibly very similar to the current grey-blue uniforms. United aren’t expecting to roll out the new look until late 2020, using feedback from staff to tweak the fit and design of their updated look.

The design

The new uniforms have been in the works for more than a year, with top designer Tracy Reese working with Brooks Brothers and Carhartt to craft the new look. Speaking to USA Today, Reece commented:

“United should stand toe-to-toe with any global airline in terms in of how good their employees look and the quality of their uniforms. We wanted them to be proud of what they’re wearing, but I also I didn’t want to be cookie-cutter like the typical uniforms that are out there.”

While Reece took charge of the female clothing designs, Brooks Brothers focussed on the attire for the men. The project began in 2017 but has taken some time to put together as United were keen to gather employee feedback at every stage of the process.

During the design process, United and the design team collected 17,000 survey response, ran 35 in person focus groups, conducted 25 observation tests and airports around the globe and worked with a committee of more than 120 employees. Commenting on the project, Brian Lane from Brooks Brothers said:

“Uniforms are such a critical part of employees’ work lives, so no stone was unturned as we created these designs with enthusiastic employee input. This includes high-quality fabric, improved breathability, enhanced fit and pops of colour. We will continue to refine these garments based on feedback following the upcoming wear test.”

United are following in the footsteps of the other biggest US carriers, as American, Delta and Southwest have all modernised employee attire since 2016. Turkish Airlines have also recently rolled out a new, modern update to their appearance. Their updates were well received in terms of looks, although American Airlines’ employees claimed their new garments were making them sick.

United customer service aloha wear
We’re particularly loving the customer services ‘Aloha’ look. Source: United

Preempting this issue, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) went so far as to include a professional hygienist in the testing of fabrics considered for United’s new clothes. The airline has worked closely with employees to develop something everyone can be on board with, so with any luck the rollout should go ahead smoothly.

What do you think of United’s new uniforms? Let us know!