Scandalous: British Airways Told Flight Attendants To Wear See-Through Blouses

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 However the flight attendants union report that the guidance has been withdrawn.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’.

About Gary Leff

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. This might be the only way to get me on a BA flight but then again, the last time I flew BA 15 years ago I would not wanted to see the FA’s in this uniform so might as well stick to Virgin.

  2. @Gary Why does your site seem more like the National Enquirer than a review of travel deals and experiences?

  3. This is a very soft way of reciprocity from the Brazilian side.
    Instead of blaming the Brazilian Government, try to put yourself in the place of hundred thousands Brazilian citizens that are humiliated in the US Consulates every year.
    Handling an American passport doesn’t make you a superior kind of human being.

  4. What was the original guidance? There are plenty of fabrics commonly worn in a professional environment that are not sheer but would still allow a textured undergarment to show through, as well as many men’s white dress shirts, and, “Please wear basic undergarments” seems like “Please don’t sexualize the uniform” advice. “Please make sure your T-shirt is white” is solid non-sexualized, gender-neutral advice.

    And when you’re working in a somewhat active role, in an environment that may be warmer than ideal if you’re on the tarmac in a warm place, a breathable fabric as your innermost layer would be functionally preferred.

    If we’re talking sheer as in can see someone’s neutrally-colored undergarments, that’s too sheer. But “Your hot pink leopard print bra might show through” is… please dress for work.

  5. They’re either ugly and too old to be working or air slags anyway so does it really matter?

  6. I just don’t understand how every airline company just can’t get the uniforms right but hotels can!

  7. I agree with Christopher–is this an indication the garments are too sheer, or is it an indication that they are sufficiently conforming that they will show patterns of what’s underneath? The latter is **not** sexualizing them!

  8. It’s stupid anyway. A white bra under a white shirt shows much worse than nude or other colors.

    What are they going to tell them next VPL’s?

  9. This is so typical of that company. Make a huge display of something that should have died a death on the first mention in a quiet office but ignore 101 other faults and problems that are far worse than knowing what bra I have on.

  10. I’m flying BA to Spain in a few weeks. Besides warmer weather, tapas and inexpensive Rioja, I really have something to look forward to now!

  11. Traveling just wouldn’t be the same without sexy flight attendants. BA should let them wear whatever they want.

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