British Airways unveiled the new uniforms for ground staff and cabin crew in October 2023.
Actually, British Airways is proud of its progressive dress policy. In October, the company unveiled its new uniforms, designed by British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. The once very strict dress codes were to be relaxed and radically changed.
At the time, the airline spoke of a "new chapter" and saw itself on the way to gender-neutral clothing for non-binary crews. For example, following a change in a policy in November, male pilots and crew members were allowed to wear make-up, apply nail polish or carry handbags. The point, British Airways said, is for employees to be able to bring "the most authentic version of themselves" to work every day.
Now, however, as British media reported, there has been anger over the new clothing and regulations, which seem far less progressive. The blouses for the employees are so transparent that the underwear can be seen underneath, for which British Airways also has strict specifications. According to this, the bras should be "plain white", "without lace, pattern or lettering".
Protest and snapshots
A few days ago, the British newspaper »Sun« first reported that some employees of British Airways had felt humiliated. The reason for this was that passengers repeatedly talked about the appearance of the underwear or even spoke directly to the stewardesses about it.
According to The Sun, union representatives intervened after some stewardesses threatened to walk off the job because of the "humiliating fiasco". Employees shared snaps that clearly showed the bra underneath her blouse.
Meanwhile, the »Sun« renamed British Airways »British Bareways« in the hearty British tabloid tradition – »bare« means naked in English.
The outrage had an effect. In the meantime, the board of directors of »British Airways« has apologized, several British media report. The company told The Sun: "We have removed a recommendation from our uniform guidelines and will continue to listen to our colleagues on what is best for them."
"It is incomprehensible that we had to address this topic at all"
The requirements for underwear for female staff had "mysteriously" disappeared, the airline's union commented smugly on what they considered to be an overdue step. It is incomprehensible that we had to address this issue at all."
It's not the first time British Airways' new uniform has caused trouble: Immediately after its introduction in October 2023, female employees complained that they felt "forced sandrogyn" and robbed of their femininity in the low-waisted dresses, as the Daily Mail reported at the time.