PHOTO: American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. (photo courtesy of American Airlines)
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker knows he has a ‘huge problem’ with allergic reactions to the new uniforms the carrier rolled out in September, but admitted he doesn’t know how to fix it and refuses a total recall of the garments.
That admission came when The Chicago Business Journal obtained exclusive video of Parker speaking to American employees at a monthly ‘crew chat’ that allows airline employees to meet with top brass.
American rolled out the new uniforms to frontline workers, including flight attendants, back in September. Within a month, hundreds of flight attendants had complained to their union and management about adverse effects, including rashes and headaches.
Six months later, more than 3,000 American Airlines employees have made a complaint about the new uniforms. Parker called it “a huge problem” and "as difficult an issue as we've ever had to deal with."
"So we've got to figure out how to address it," Parker said in the video. "But we can't keep it like this.”
One of the biggest voices on the uniform controversy has been American flight attendant Heather Poole, the best-selling author of “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet,” about the life of a flight attendant.
Poole, who has more than 100,000 Twitter followers, reacted on Monday after seeing the story in The Chicago Business Journal herself.
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Indeed, Parker has declined to recall all the uniforms, saying a total replacement could take years to outfit 70,000 employees.
"That can't be the answer," he said. "We'll keep working through it.”