British Airways includes jumpsuit and hijab options in first new uniform for 20 years

Airline offers glimpse of suits, dresses and even a tunic to be worn by 30,000 workers

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British Airways has unveiled new uniforms for its staff, the first clothing overhaul at the global carrier in two decades.

Female cabin crew will be able to opt to wear a tunic and hijab, as well as a jumpsuit in what the company described as "an airline first".

There's a tailored three-piece suit for men, as well as dress, skirt and trouser options for women who do not want to wear a jumpsuit. British Airways decided not to allow male pilots and crew to wear skirts, in contrast with rival airline Virgin Atlantic's gender-neutral uniform policy.

The uniforms were designed by British Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng, who spent time observing BA staff in their roles at the airline.

More than 1,500 British Airways workers gave their input during the design and testing of the collection over the last four years, with secret trials in the air and on the ground.

The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be first to wear the new uniform from the spring. All British Airways cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will switch over from their current uniform to the new one by summer this year.

How British Airways uniforms have changed - in pictures

Sean Doyle, chairman and chief executive of British Airways, said the uniform was a key representation of the brand and "something that will carry us into our future, representing the very best of modern Britain".

"From the very start this has been about our people," he said.

"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.”

During the uniform trials, BA staff were able to give feedback on the practicability of the garments, which resulted in amendments being made before the final unveiling. For example, ground handlers asked for touch-screen technology fabric in their gloves so they can use their devices in cold climates without having to take them off.

Cabin crew member Emma Carey, who participated in the trials, said: "It's been a real honour and responsibility to help test the new uniform and put it through its paces at 35,000 feet to make sure it's fit for purpose, with thousands of my colleagues counting on me. It was great to see that adjustments were made after our feedback. The pockets on the apron, for example, were widened after the trial so we had more room for everything we need during meal services on board."

As staff pick up their new uniforms later this year, they will hand in their existing ones, which were designed by the Welsh fashion designer Julien MacDonald in 2002.

The old uniforms will be recycled to make various items, from toys to iPad holders. Some uniforms will be given to charity, while other items will be donated to the British Airways museum.

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Updated: January 06, 2023, 12:27 PM