Alaska Airlines recently changed its staff uniform and grooming regulations, allowing people to express themselves in an industry where rigid policies have historically been enforced. Starting last week, flight attendants, lounge staff, and airport agents will all be wearing new uniforms. In a letter to staff, the airline announced the new regulations, which include gender-neutral guidelines on footwear, makeup, jewellery, and nail polish.
Alaska has been modifying its uniform standards since 2020 in order to provide employees more choices, such as allowing flight attendants to purchase any pant, parka, or uniform kit regardless of gender identity.
In a statement, the airline stated, “We've modified our uniform standards, which go into effect immediately, to allow for more individual and gender expression freedom and flexibility. We've also revised our grooming regulations to allow tattoos in more places, more hairstyle alternatives, and we're renaming our uniform kits to emphasise fit rather than gender identifications.”
In 2021, an Alaska Airlines employee alleged that the airline's uniform policy discriminated against employees whose gender expression did not fit the male and female attire criteria, especially nonbinary personnel - people who do not identify as male or female. The firm has also created personal pronoun pins for employees to wear with their uniforms.
In recent years, Alaska isn't the only airline that has dropped gender-specific uniform requirements. In October, SkyUp, a cheap airline based in Ukraine, declared that female flight attendants would no longer be obliged to work in heels and pencil skirts. Employees can instead dress with sneakers and slacks. In addition, beginning in 2019, Virgin Atlantic will no longer require women to wear makeup while on the job.