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United Airlines Staff Getting Designer Uniforms From Brooks Brothers

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Although it’s not that difficult to pull off a more polished look than “elastic-waist pants and a sweatshirt,” United Airlines flight attendants and other employees will probably be dressed better than many travelers with plans for new Brooks Brothers uniforms.

After Delta Air Lines rolled out new designer outfits by Zac Posen for its staff last year, United Airlines will follow its rival down the fashion aisle: The carrier announced on Thursday that it’s working with Brooks Brothers, designer Tracy Reese, and apparel company Carhartt on a new line of uniforms for its more than 70,000 frontline employees, with a planned 2020 rollout.

New duds

All United pilots, male flight attendants, and customer service representatives will have uniforms designed and manufactured by Brooks Brothers; female flight attendants and customer service workers will have outfits designed by Tracy Reese and manufactured by Brooks Brothers; and ramp service, technical operations, and catering operations workers will be wearing duds by Carhartt.

All flight attendants will also be getting a choice of two different Tumi rollaboard bags.

“The partners we’ve selected uniquely match what our employees asked for in a uniforms program – style, comfort, and durability,” said Kate Gebo, senior vice president of global customer service delivery and chief customer officer of United.

Time for testing

The new uniforms are part of a multi-year effort by United “to ensure the proper amount of time for collaboration among employees, labor leadership and the partner brands as well as ample time to test uniforms before finalizing designs and materials.”

There will be multiple “thorough wear tests with employees,” United notes.

Testing can be a very important factor: Amid American Airlines’ recent issues with new uniforms that some employees claim cause rashes and other illnesses, the union that represents flight attendants repeatedly insisted that more testing was needed. The airline and the company that manufactured the uniforms maintained that there had been plenty of tests, and that the clothing is perfectly safe to wear.

American has since offered employees an alternative to the controversial uniforms, and dropped the supplier that makes them.

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