Last updated: 01:37 PM ET, Tue February 09 2016

British Airways Flight Crews Score A Victory For Trousers

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | February 09, 2016

British Airways Flight Crews Score A Victory For Trousers

Photo illustration by Barry Kaufman




No matter what you call them, some might say this was a battle two years in the making, ever since female flight crew members for British Airways asked for the right to be able to wear slacks instead of skirts during flights.

Others might say it was actually a debate that never should have come to fruition and had its roots back in the suffragette days.

Either way, the argument is over.

Who wears the pants in the British Airways family? Everybody, male and female.

According to Unite Union, which represents the flight crew members, the airline has finally relented and will allow all cabin crew to wear trousers/slacks/pants.

The British paper The Guardian quoted an airline spokesperson as saying: “Our mixed fleet team wear the ‘ambassador’ British Airways uniform. While trousers are not a standard part of this uniform, colleagues wishing to wear them can request this through their manager.”

The union gently chided British Airways for finally joining the 21st century.

“British Airways’ stance was unbefitting of a modern airline in the modern age, and demonstrates that Unite will not allow cases like this to go unchallenged,” United Union Regional Officer Matt Smith told The Guardian. “Not only is the choice to wear trousers a victory for equality it is also a victory for common sense and testament to the organising campaign of our members. Female cabin crew no longer have to shiver in the cold, wet and snow of wintery climates, but also can be afforded the protection of trousers at destinations where there is a risk of malaria or the Zika virus.”

Of course, let’s not dance round the 800-pound gorilla in the room, either – airlines have long favored their flight attendants in skirts since it adds to the now-antiquated sex appeal of flying.

Other airlines still require female flight crew to wear skirts, although most U.S.-based airlines allow female flight attendants to wear slacks.

At least it’s not Ryanair, Europe’s low budget – some might say low-brow – carrier. From 2008 until 2014, Ryanair produced an annual calendar for charity featuring some of its flight attendants in sexy swimwear. In fact, in 2012, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary posed with several of the flight attendants, wearing nothing but a swimsuit himself and both hands placed on the buttocks of two of his flight attendants.

O’Leary finally decided to scrap the calendar two years ago in a bid to make the airline more family friendly.


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