Virgin Atlantic is scrapping its gendered uniform policy in a bid to champion the individuality of its employees and be “the most inclusive airline in the skies”
Virgin Atlantic’s crew, pilots and ground staff in uniform can now opt to “wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves”, with the airline removing the gendered uniform requirements of red skirt suits or burgundy trousers.
The red and burgundy staff uniforms, created by British designer Vivienne Westwood, will no longer be categorized under “male” and “female,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday (September 28).
The airline said the move – which follows an update on its visible tattoo policy – was to reflect the diversity of its workforce and reinforce its brand as welcoming and inclusive.
VA will also implement optional pronoun badges: not only for crew but for passengers, who will be able to request them at check-in to ensure staff use their correct pronouns.
Its ticketing systems will also allow people whose passports have gender neutral markers – available in the US, India and Pakistan – to travel using those gender codes and the title Mx.
The airline is also amending its trans inclusion policy to include time off work for medical treatments related to gender transition.
Drag Race judge and icon Michelle Visage, who showcased the uniform alongside staff, said of the move:
As the mother of a non-binary child, and as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, these efforts by Virgin Atlantic to further inclusivity for its people are extremely important and personal to me,” she said in the press release.
“People feel empowered when they are wearing what best represents them, and this gender identity policy allows people to embrace who they are and bring their full selves to work.”
VA is also set to start mandatory inclusivity training and initiatives for hotels in destinations where some LGBTQ+ staff have faced barriers.
Juha Järvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said:
“It’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”
Typically, *some people* on Twitter weren’t too happy with the move, vowing to “never fly with this airline again” – oh well, more leg room for the rest of us.
Stay mad though.