airline uniforms

Delta Air Lines’ new uniforms. Passport plum and all

Delta Air Lines’ 64,0000 uniformed employees will look different.

It is the new uniforms created by fashion designer Zac Posen and produced by Lands’ End that we’ve been hearing about and now get to see in the sky and in airport terminals being worn by  Airport Customer Service, Delta Cargo, In-Flight Service, Ground Support Equipment Maintenance and TechOps employees.

Delta didn’t just give Zac Posen the contract and say “Come back when you’re done.” Here’s the process the airline says it used to get from the old uniforms to here:

  • A Cross Divisional Uniform Committee made up of 24 employees from each frontline division helped guide the three-year uniform creation and development process
  • 80+ employee focus groups that Zac Posen and Lands’ End teams attended
  • 165+ changes made based on direct employee feedback
  • 73 hours spent collecting data via job shadows by Zac Posen and his design team
  • 52 stations across the globe involved in focus groups and job shadows
  • 1,000 employee wear testers who put the uniform to the test over 3 months and across 5 continents
  • 30,000+ survey responses and emails from employees
  • 64,000 uniformed employees across 300+ stations around the globe
  • 60,000+ Wings and Name Bard handmade in the U.S. by Engage2Excel
  • 200+ show options available via Zappos at Work
  • 3+ years in the making
  • 25,000+ employees fitted
  • 1.2M items were produced for the May 29 launch

Delta’s uniforms used to be navy and red. Now they’re Passport Plum – a shade said to flatter every skin tone – Cruising Cardinal, Groundspeed Graphite, Traveling Thistle and Skyline Slate – and have signature details incorporated such as a collar on the women’s blouse that is inspired by the wing of an airplane, and pockets for passports and pens.

Here’s Delta’s new in-flight safey video, with special appearances by – the new uniforms:

85th anniversary for Hawaiian Airlines


Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating its 85th anniversary on Tuesday, November 11 and, in preparation, the airline has been reflecting on its past.

They’ve put out this lavishly illustrated book celebrating and documenting the company’s history.

Hawaiian Airlines

The airline has also been going through its archives and shared these photos of the evolution of its uniforms.


Hawaiian Airlines uniforms – 1943

Hawaiian 1957

Hawaiian Airlines uniform – 1957


Hawaiian Airlines uniform – 1969

Hawaiian Airlines uniform – 1971

Hawaiian 1974.

Hawaiian Airlines uniform – 1974

Hawaiian 1989.

Hawaiian Airlines uniform – 1989


Hawaiian Airlines uniform- 2013

New uniforms for new/rebranded Fiji Airways

Last week, Fiji’s national airline officially retired its Air Pacific brand and returned to using its original name: Fiji Airways.

Fiji Airways new plane

In addition to new livery, there are loads of other changes, including a new website, new routes, new airplanes (A330-200s; two of which have already been delivered), and new service classes: Pacific Voyager (economy) and Tabua Class (business) are out; Fiji Airways’ Economy and Fiji Airways’ Business Class are in.

The in-flight crew also has new uniforms.

FIJI Airways new uniforms

According to Fiji Aiwarys, the outfits are styled in accordance with the Fijian attire of Sulu Jaba and Bula wear and have aqua colors that contrast well with the earthy brown colors featured in the cabin. The uniforms feature three different masi motifs created by Fijian masi artist Makereta Matemosi: the Qalitoka symbolizes the unity of people to complete a task, Tama symbolizes friendly service and Droe, which means clear blue skies and cool breeze on beaches.

Fiji Airways uniform

SFO Museum displays vintage United Airlines uniforms

The SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is currently displaying eighteen United Airlines flight attendant uniforms, some of them dating back to the 1930s.

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

United Airlines stewardess uniform – with cape. 1930-1932. Courtesy SFO Museum

The exhibit is part of a donation of fifty-five flight attendant uniforms given to the SFO Museum by the United Airlines Historical Foundation and which represent the full history of the airline’s company-issued cabin crew attire.

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

Look for the exhibit – United we Stand: Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines – through September 15, 2013 at the San Francisco International Airport Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum in the International Terminal, Departure Level, near the entrant to Boarding Area ‘A.”

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

United Airlines uniforms 1968-1970 – courtesy SFO Museum


There’s no admission to enter the museum, which is open 10 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Friday.

Here’s a link to more images from the exhibition.

Virgin America flight crews change clothes

On August 8th, when Virgin America celebrates its 5th anniversary of operations, the airline will also debut a new uniform for more than 2,000 of its flight attendants, pilots and other “guest-facing staff.”

The new uniforms embody “utility chic,” said Jesse McMillin, Virgin America creative director. “We wanted to find the place where performance and functionality collides with fashion … and the energy of our engaging brand.”

Developed during 18 month collaboration with Banana Republic that included brainstorming sessions, a spirited “Design Challenge” for designers and numerous focus groups and fitting sessions with many staff members, the new uniforms address some of the function issues Virgin America team members have with the uniforms they’ve been wearing for the past five years.

“Things like an in-flight person reaching up to open an overhead bin and having their shirt put out from their pants,” said McMillin.

The new uniforms still have clean lines and a simple color palette grounded in black and white, but Banana Republic designers have added warm grays, interesting fabrics and accents of Virgin America’s signature red. “They done things like put red piping on the women’s shirt and added a fun scarf set, a red trench coat with a removable quilted lining and a red sweater,” said McMillin.


Banana Republic designers also addressed some of the functionality issues in creative ways. “Shirts are a little longer and there’s a grippy lining on the interior of the pants to address that ‘reach’ issue,” said McMillin, “They’ve also added some spandex to pants, skirts and shirts and they’ve used performance fabrics that can be easily be cleaned and worn for long periods of time.”

According to Virgin America, the full line of new uniforms has nine styles for men, including leather jackets, striped sleeve sweaters and woven shirts and pants. Thirteen new pieces for women include a classic pencil skirt, a slim dress, trousers, leather jackets and trenches, silk print scarves and new Virgin America-branded serving aprons for in-flight meal service.

If some of this sounds like clothing that might work for your travel needs, you’re in luck. Many of the items in Virgin America’s new uniform line are based on pieces that Banana Republic was already working on for a collection centered on the urban traveler.

So as soon as the Virgin America staff begins sporting their new look, you can too. Some items, including aviator sunglasses, luggage and belted trenches for men and women, will be available in some Banana Republic stores and on-board all Virgin America flights via the airline’s seatback, in-flight entertainment platform, called Red.

My story about Virgin America flight crews changing clothes first appeared on Travel.

(Photos courtesy Virgin America)