Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Wed October 05 2016

What's Wrong With American Airlines' New Uniforms?

Airlines & Airports | American Airlines | Patrick Clarke | October 05, 2016

What's Wrong With American Airlines' New Uniforms?

PHOTO: American Airlines's new flight attendant uniforms. (Photo courtesy of American Airlines)  

Sometimes change comes at a cost.

For hundreds of American Airlines employees, new uniforms rolled out last month have led to painful itching and headaches.

Citing sources, the Chicago Business Journal reported more than 400 of the airline's flight attendants have informed their union and management that they have broken out in hives and been battling headaches since putting on the new uniforms, which were introduced for pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, maintenance workers and airport ticket agents Sept. 20.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier confirmed the complaints, blaming a wool allergy.

While an American spokeswoman said flight attendants have been given the option of wearing a uniform made of polyester instead of wool, a source told the Journal that symptoms have also been reported by employees wearing cotton uniforms.

READ MORE: American Airlines Gets A Style Makeover

In an effort to uncover what's causing the widespread hives and headaches, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants representing American Airlines flight attendants is sending the uniforms out for further testing. 

Last month, TravelPulse's Rich Thomaselli wrote that "the uniform was designed in part with employee input." Meanwhile, an American Airlines spokeswoman told the Journal that all of the fabrics used to make the uniforms underwent extensive testing and "all ended up testing far better than other fabrics in the industry."

It remains to be seen whether the shaky start to American's new era of attire will impact employees' look moving forward. However in the meantime, a source tells the Journal that affected flight attendants have been asked to file injury on duty paperwork. 

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