United Airlines Does Not Want Crewmembers To Identify As Americans

This year kicked off with a heated conflict between the governments of the United States and Iran. As incidents related to this tension continue to occur, United Airlines crewmembers have reportedly been advised to avoid identifying as Americans while on a layover.

United Boeing Aircraft
Along with US operators having to exercise caution with flight operations, crewmembers also have to be cautious on their trips. Photo: United Airlines

What does the memo say?

View From The Wing reports on a memo sent out to United’s 22,000 flight attendants from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA). It advises that since the employees are working for a US carrier, they should be cautious about what clothing they wear while abroad. Additionally, they should be mindful of their surroundings.

“Avoid wearing clothing that will easily identify you as either a crewmember or a U.S. citizen,” the memo reads, as shared by A View from the Wing.


Further to these warnings, the staff members have also been recommended to keep away from large protests, rallies, and mass public events. Altogether, this is useful advice as we are currently in a volatile political climate across the globe.

United Flight Attendant
United flight attendants may have to take a few extra measures to avoid any escalations while overseas. Photo: United Airlines

Critical situations

Moreover, the majority of the major incidents involving the conflict between the US and Iran have related to aviation. The catalyst for the tension was last week’s death of Qasem Soleimani.

He was killed near Baghdad Airport by missiles shot from American drones. In response, Iran launched missiles at airbases in Iraq that hosted US and coalition troops.


Meanwhile, a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet crashed just outside of Tehran, causing 176 fatalities. There was speculation that this incident was somehow related to the political tension.

These reports have now been confirmed as Iran officials have stated that the Boeing 737 was shot down accidentally by an Iranian missile. This was after the plane unexpectedly turned towards a military base.

United Aircraft
United flies to over 100 international destinations across Asia, the Americas, Africa, Europe and Oceania. Additionally, it is constantly expanding on its routes. Photo: United

Needed measures

Altogether, with no confirmation of a resolution between the two parties on the cards, it is better to exercise caution. Innocent people have already passed away due to the conflict so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Along with these measures, the Federal Aviation Administration has banned United States carriers from flying across the airspace above Iran and Iraq. Additionally, United Kingdom operators have also been restricted from operating within this region. Hopefully, the atmosphere can begin to cool sooner rather than later to avoid any further critical escalations.

Simply Flying reached out to United Airlines for comment on these reports. However, we did not hear back from the carrier before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

Do you think this is a necessary measure in the current political climate? Let us know what you think in the comment section


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Its all about minimizing risk; the end.


Yes, but who created the risk in the first place?


United as a company nor its crewmembers on an individual basis aren’t at fault.

Rod Kjerstad

This has been protocol for many decades. Not news. Who ever wrote the click bait headline should be ashamed. Makes people think we are not proud Americans.


Some Americans wear a Canadian maple leaf on their backpack or purse. There are very few places safe to wear a kippah or star of David.


This is what is wrong with the mindset of western company boards these days: the bottom line goes before any principles. I do get this is a safety measure for the crew. Yet I’m pretty sure United wants it to avoid flight disruptions and bad PR, in case crew is targeted, or worse. The crew should be enabled to show their pride for their nation, instead of hiding it.


They should wear a USA jersey and a Colt 45 on their hip.

Tommy Z

I’m a retired USA international pilot and I often urged my crew members to act as Canadians.


Click bait for sure. Even the article states that the memo came from a union, NOT UNITED AIRLINES. And as someone else commented, many Americans traveling abroad have been operating this way for many years…. It’s nothing new or surprising.


Maybe United Airlines crew could walk around wearing Singapore AIrlines uniforms to hide their Americanism! United can claim as SIA is a member of Star Alliance, it is just “sharing experience” for cabin crews to try on uniforms of fellow Star Alliance member airlines!!!

They could do worse….they could be wearing crew uniforms of Emirates or Qatar Airways!!!!

Just kidding!


“These reports have now been confirmed as Iran officials have stated that the Boeing 737 was shot down accidentally by an Iranian missile. This was after the plane unexpectedly turned towards a military base.”

Why are you spreading fake news? The UIA plane never veered off the standard flight path which was also the exact flight path used by Austrian 1h40m prior to the downing of the Ukrainian jet. It is the same flight path used by all airlines leaving IKA bound for Europe.


Well, the author also missed the part about the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, which was (in turn) followed by the obliteration of Qasem Soleimani.

Gerry S

@Andrejs: Way I read it the article merely quoted (or paraphrased) what the response of the Iranians was to the shoot-down. The fake news came from the Iranians. SF merely reported what they said.