The itchy saga of American Airlines flight attendants who have had problems with the company’s new uniforms has turned a corner, though it might not be the resolution that makes everyone totally happy: The carrier has tapped another vendor to make a polyester alternative to the woolen outfits that have allegedly been causing rashes, hives, and headaches.
American says it will offer “off-the-shelf” uniforms made by Aramark that are similar, but not identical, to the current outfits, reports the Dallas Business Journal.
“We continue to have full confidence that the current uniforms are safe, and we know that the vast majority of team members have not had any issue with them,” the airline said in a letter to staff this week. “However, we recognize that some still have concerns about the current collection.”
The uniforms at the center of the crew firestorm are made by Twin Hill, a company that has repeatedly claimed the garments are safe.
“We understand and have fully cooperated with American’s decision to provide a new ‘off-the-shelf’ choice for the small minority of team members who are uncomfortable in the current uniform,” Twin Hill said in a statement. “We hope this option resolves the union’s concerns.”
For now, there will be a limited supply of the Aramark uniforms, which will go to employees who have “the most immediate need” first, American says. The new alternative will be more widely available in the fall.
While this isn’t the full recall the Association of Professional Flight Attendants has been pushing for, the group says it’s at least a step in the right direction.
“The alternative uniform is a positive development, and APFA is hopeful that it will prove to be a meaningful option for flight attendants,” the group said in a statement. “But, make no mistake: this new alternative uniform is not enough. It is an interim solution at best.”
APFA says it will continue to demand that American finds a “permanent, long-term solution to ensure that all flight attendants have confidence in the uniforms that they wear.”
Last week, American’s CEO Doug Parker admitted that while the allegedly itchy uniforms are a major problem for the company, he insisted that the airline will not issue a recall.