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Video: British Airways Unveils New Cabin Crew Uniforms

The new uniforms, designed by Ozwald Boateng, include a jumpsuit option for female staff, as well as a tunic and hijab for religious crew members

by Fergus Cole

January 9, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of British Airways

U.K. flag carrier British Airways has revealed its new line of cabin crew and staff uniforms for the first time in two decades. The new range of workwear was designed by iconic British designer and Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng and will replace the existing uniforms by Julien McDonald. 

The new line of garments will provide more choices for the BA crew, with a tunic and hijab option and a jumpsuit now available for female staff.

“Designing this uniform was a vast and painstaking undertaking, and it went far beyond clothes,” said Boateng. “It was about creating an energetic shift internally. One of my main objectives was to create something that spoke to, and for, the airline’s colleagues.” 

According to the designer, the new uniforms were crafted to “inspire and empower” the airline’s staff, encouraging them “to conduct their roles with pride and most importantly to ensure that they felt seen and heard.”

The unveiling closely follows a similar overhaul by fellow U.K. carrier Virgin Atlantic. With non-binary staff members in mind, the transatlantic airline now allows female crew members to wear pants, while male staff can wear skirts. However, British Airways has yet to go that far, selecting gender-specific uniforms that can’t be mixed and matched.

The collection does include, however, new three-piece suits tailored for male staff and a choice of skirts, dresses, or pants for females. They have also been made of highly durable materials and tested in all weather conditions, ideal for long-haul staff constantly flying to far-flung destinations with vastly different climates.

British Airways plans for the new uniforms have been ongoing since 2018, and more than 1,500 staff have been involved in the process, taking part in design workshops and fitting sessions. Unfortunately, the whole process was also delayed by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, don’t expect to see BA staff decked out in their new gear if you’re boarding a flight tomorrow, as the first deliveries are scheduled in the spring. The first people to receive their new uniform will be maintenance staff and engineers, while in-flight crew members and check-in agents will start donning their new outfits in the summer.

Photo: Courtesy of British Airways

And to meet sustainability expectations in an increasingly eco-conscious industry, all British Airways 30,000 staff will either recycle their old uniforms or donate them to charity. The carrier also said that all new uniforms are made of sustainable fabrics.

“Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand, something that will carry us into our future, representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers,” said Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways.

“From the very start of this has been about our people. We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear, and with the help of over 1,500 colleagues, we are confident that we have delivered this.”