British Airways has quietly walked back a demand that female cabin crew wear “white bras and t-shirts because a new blouse issued as part of the controversial Ozwald Boateng-issued uniform is so sheer that it is partially see-through.”
Cabin crew were told they had to avoid both lacy bras and patterned bras because they would be “visible through the silky blouse.” However the flight attendants union report that the guidance has been withdrawn.
Incredible that we found ourselves in the awkward position of having to discuss what underwear our female members were ‘allowed’ to wear in 2023.
..However, with a huge number of female members, that was exactly the uncomfortable place in which we found ourselves, it could be argued that we wouldn’t have even been in this position if the blouse wasn’t transparent in the first place!
Credit: British Airways
Prior to the pandemic the airline had promulgated similar rules over crew underwear because of their uniform’s form-fitting shirt, and that was criticized by the union as “sexualisation of the uniform” amidst flight attendants being disciplined over their bra choice.
But isn’t wearing bras that can be seen through the shirt the sexualization, rather than flagging for crewmembers that their undergarments can be seen? And of course the bigger issue, is are these uniforms being signed off on without being fully tested and vetted? (Similar to how American Airlines rolled out its standard domestic ‘Oasis’ cabin interior without first building a mockup, ‘taping it out’ in the words of the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, leading to a series of costly problems.)
In a statement to airline crew blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo, British Airways stated:
We’ve removed a recommendation from our uniform guidelines and will continue to listen to our colleagues about what works best for them.
Malaysian airline Malindo Air has required potential flight attendants to disrobe in their interviews. Woman applying for Kuwait Airways had to strip as well.
British Airways flight attendants were allegedly involved in a sex ring several years ago as well, including inflight. Cabin crew might be understandably concerned about the company requiring them to ‘advertise’.