New British Airways jumpsuit uniform for female cabin crew mocked online as staff member brands design 'impractical'

7 January 2023, 02:02 | Updated: 9 January 2023, 09:56

British Airways has unveiled a new uniform collection including a jumpsuit for female cabin crew, but not everyone is taken with the new design, with one staff member branding it "completely impractical".
British Airways has unveiled a new uniform collection including a jumpsuit for female cabin crew, but not everyone is taken with the new design, with one staff member branding it "completely impractical". Picture: British Airways

By Chris Samuel

British Airways has unveiled a new uniform collection including a jumpsuit for female cabin crew, but not everyone is taken with the new design, with one staff member branding it "completely impractical".

As well as the traditional trouser suit, skirt, tunic and hijabs - designed by top Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng - the carrier has decided to include a “modern jumpsuit” for female crew in its range of uniforms.

But according to one cabin crew member, many of her female colleagues aren't exactly taken with the new design.

“I would say that by a big majority most of the female crew hate it,” one British Airways cabin crew member told The Telegraph, “I won’t be wearing the jumpsuit, it’s completely impractical.”

The UK's flag carrier airline highlighted that the jumpsuit uniform is not the only option for on-board staff.

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Mr Boateng’s collection, which has been five years in the making, features a subtle navy jacquard fabric which is designed to stand up to heavy use.

Male cabin crew will be able to choose from a three-piece suit with regular or slim fit trousers, while female cabin crew will get to wear a dress, or a top with a skirt or trousers.

British Airways reveal new uniforms

Mr Boateng’s collection, which has been five years in the making, features a subtle navy jacquard fabric which is designed to stand up to heavy use.
Mr Boateng’s collection, which has been five years in the making, features a subtle navy jacquard fabric which is designed to stand up to heavy use. Picture: British Airways

But it's the jumpsuit that has dominated conversation among staff members, the paper claimed, who are only too familiar with the modest proportions of an aeroplane toilet.

Former BA cabin crew member Ellie Upton said: “Just imagine being in a really small cubicle trying not to touch the floor, which can get quite grim on a plane.

"And you're in a bit of a rush mid-service undoing the buttons, and there's a zip at the bottom as well. It’d be a real pain.”

BA chief executive Sean Doyle said the new range would carry the airline into the future, "representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers”.

Sean Doyle, BA chief executive, said the new range would carry the airline into the future, "representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers”.
Sean Doyle, BA chief executive, said the new range would carry the airline into the future, "representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers”. Picture: British Airways

He added: “We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear… we are confident that we have delivered this.”

Gloves for use by ground handling crew have also been changed so they have touchscreen capability, so staff can check mobile phones and complete online forms whilst working in cold conditions.

The best part of the new collection, crew members who've been able to see and try it on said, is the navy trench coat, which they described as being light weight and understated enough to don off-duty.

The jumpsuits were met with amusement by some social media users, with one Tweeting: "Jumpsuits are a cute idea until you got to go to the loo and pretty much get naked just to pee."

While others said the new uniforms lack the glamour of the 1950s and '60s 'golden age' of flying.

BA CEO Sean Doyle said: “We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear… we are confident that we have delivered this.”
BA CEO Sean Doyle said: “We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear… we are confident that we have delivered this.”. Picture: British Airways

Other staff members said they were pleased with the new uniforms.

Ola, a cabin crew member in London's Heathrow, said it was “a positive change”.

Alicia, a cabin crew member operating out of Gatwick airport, said: “I was really pleased to see how many options there are and how modern it is.”

And Georgia, an inflight manager said the outfits have a “really smart, well-fitting cut”.

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