American Airlines New Uniforms are Absolutely Underwhelming

Brian Sumer wrote about American’s new uniforms this afternoon.

The uniform process is almost complete, and most of the pieces have been unveiled in the airline’s employee newsletter.

The “wrap dress and scarf” are being reworked with Cole Haan. And they continue “to refine the core pieces and additional items, such as wings and nameplates.”

Employees will start wearing the new uniforms in September 2016.

They need one uniform for legacy US Airways and American crew. And they’re due for an update. These strike me as fine. And certainly better than a photo leaked at the beginning of October.

I can only imagine the feedback they got:

We’ve gathered feedback from almost 25,000 employees in the uniform survey, as well as through email, comments and calls that have come in during the design process. We also held many meetings with representatives from each workgroup and the design team. As a group, we continue to refine the core pieces and additional items, such as wings and nameplates.

This should let them ‘move on’ from the uniform issue, though there’s little distinctive about it. I’m the last person who should comment on issues of aesthetics. However these strike me as functional. Certainly not the kind of branding statements that Delta makes with theirs.

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The way these things are done by committee with loads of internal feedback, I think *functional* is all that they were going to get in the end. It could have been a lot better, but it could have been worse. (At least this is, IMHO, better than the United uniforms.) With the airline industry, the only way you’ll get truly distinctive uniforms (for example, the new Etihad ones) is if a select group of people in management pick them, don’t allow for employee input, and impose it the employees (with strict standards, of course!).

  2. I continue to see US carrier’s uniforms as being developed to fit the bodies of American FAs. As DWT mentioned, unless a design team has full discretion to impose the uniform upon the FAs, we’re going to continue to have FAs in dull, lifeless, sack-like uniforms that are “functional” – and I use that term loosely – and that are forced to attempt to flatter even the dumpiest of body. So, I’m not sure the airlines can actually do anything about this, so they’ve stopped even trying to make FAs look good in uniform; it’s just not possible, so why waste the money.

    The other thing that I find lacking in American carriers’ uniforms is homogeneity. The next time you’re on a flight for any of the US3, take a look at how many variations exist of the “uniform”. By very definition, uniform implies a sameness to all parts. I was on an AA flight to Paris last week and counted 5 variations of uniform. Some with the apron, some without. One with a sweater. One with a blouse and neckerchief but no sweater. One male FA with a tie, the other with a tie but also wearing a vest. And this was in Flagship First where I’d expect things to be at least semi-put together. It was generally unprofessional and unkempt-looking like they’d all just rolled out of one of the flagship suites 10 minutes before the flight. This was an AA flight, but I’ve noticed the same on UA flights. American carriers simply don’t care about the little things that make them terrible airlines and would rather focus on whining about Open Skies and the ME3. It’s really embarrassing for the US.

  3. I cannot believe how long this uniform BS has gone on. Here’s what you do-the designers that AA says they hired[I bet you anything they are in a training phase of their career) get rid of them, then all the money that is saved, can go into the pockets of the CEO and his buddies. All they have to do is-add stretch, make a blouse that has darts, so full figured women, such as myself, don’t have to be ashamed, when the blouse, at the breast line, pulls apart. Hire a real designer, who can make a scarf, and make us feel proud. The material that has been used in the past, is so effen cheap. This must be what the CEO thinks of us. When I am driving to work, I feel like crap. My uniform makes me feel so degraded. I do not feel proud at all. What I feel is, I am a nothing-I am a bottom feeder. PAX treat us like we are their personal assistants.

  4. This is NOT a good look at all….AA crews you are MUCH classier than this. #ItLooksCHEAP!……#CHEAP!

  5. This new uniform looks really great (if not lacking a nitmore color) but not every American employee will get to wear them. Certain airport station agents that traditionally wore the more professional tailored uniform are now being made to wear a very FedEx-like uniform that consists of a blue button shirt and stiff navy cargo pants despite employees voicing desire for the tailored version.

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