United Airlines To Update Its Employee Appearance Standards

United Airlines has shared with its employees that it will revise its appearance standards for flight attendants and customer service representatives. Starting from September 1st, new appearance standards will go into effect. More details will come out next month, but here is what United is planning for now.

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United Airlines will release updated employee appearance guidelines for customer-facing employees this fall. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

More inclusive appearance standards

United Airlines wants to ensure its employees can express themselves through appearance standards that portray them as ambassadors of the global United brand but allow employees to be their authentic selves and celebrate their individuality. The focus is to allow employees some more freedom to express who they are while maintaining a professional standard.

The initial appearance standards update will be for uniformed, customer-facing United employees. This includes customer service representatives and flight attendants. The goal is to provide a more modern look for employees while maintaining inclusive standards. This is also designed to give employees more freedom of gender expression.

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The focus will be on letting flight attendants be more expressive about themselves while also maintaining professional standards. Photo: United Airlines

Kate Gebo, Human Resources and Labor Relations Executive Vice President, stated the following on the updated appearance standards:

“As the face of United, our customer-facing teammates can provide an even better experience for our customers when they look and feel their best. We’ve spent the last several years listening to the feedback we’ve received from our employees and our Business Resource Groups to develop these revised standards.

“We’re confident that these modernized and more gender-inclusive appearance standards will provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today.”

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What to expect

A full list of updated appearance standards will come out next month. However, the updated standards will go into effect from September 1st. United released the image below for a sneak peek of the updated changes.

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The teaser United released. Photo: United Airlines

The changes will become more inclusive regarding visible tattoos, nose piercings, hair, make-up, and nails. While there will be limits on this, it will still be more inclusive than the current guidance.

The plan is to expand many of these updated appearance standards to additional workgroups. This includes pilots, ramp service employees, and, eventually, other workgroups.

Employees who are not covered by specific uniform standards, such as those in airline management and administration or other non-uniformed groups, will have other guidelines on maintaining their professional appearance. United Express employees will receive other communications regarding their appearance standards.

New uniform programs

The launch of the new uniform program was delayed as a result of the crisis. The launch of the new uniform programs for pilots, flight attendants, and customer service representatives is still planned.

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United still plans on releasing new uniforms. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United stated it is committed to completing the design process and incorporating feedback from employees during the last wear test in early 2020 to improve the new uniform program. The focus is to revisit this program and the next steps once United gets to a more solid financial footing.

The focus will continue to be on presenting a professional appearance but allowing employees to express themselves within reason.

Are you glad to see United Airlines update its employee appearance standards? Let us know in the comments!