United shows off their new uniforms in Newark. Image from United.

United shows off their new uniforms in Chicago. Image from United.

This story was written by Christopher L. McMullin (@787forlife) for AirlineReporter.com:

The world’s largest airline (based on scheduled passenger-kilometers flown) has recently changed up their employee couture. May 21, 2013 marked United Airline’s 25th anniversary at Newark’s Liberty International Airport (EWR) and felt it would make a great backdrop to show off their new uniforms.

United is the largest airline in the New York area and currently the sole tenant of Newark’s terminal C and the airport serves as their third-largest U.S. Hub. They have more than 13,000 local employees and offer more flights & seats from the region to more world-wide gateways than any other airline in history. Currently, United offers more than 400 flights daily from Newark.

A current United route map out of EWR. Image from United.

A current United route map out of EWR. Image from United.

Those traveling on United that day (May 21st) , were in for quite a surprise. Not only was there a ’œFashion Week’ styled runway show unveiling the airline’s new uniforms, but the opportunity to win amazing prizes, travel discounts & MileagePlus miles.

Around two dozen employees consisting of United’s pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents and ramp workers participated in the fashion show. The new uniforms will take effect on June 25th.

This marks milestone, as employees at the new United have never worn the same uniforms.

Looking sharp! Photo from United.

Looking sharp! Photo from United.

United’s chairman, president and chief executive officer was in attendance to share his gratitude to the Port Authority for their continued support and partnership as well as outlining the airline’s future plans at Terminal C. ’œWe are pleased to celebrate United’s long history at our Newark hub ’“ a premier global gateway and a powerful economic engine,’ said Jeff Smisek in a Press Release.

United plans to invest more than $150 million towards upgrades and state of the art facilities at Terminal C, including: redesigning the airline’s check-in facilities, more detailed flight-information displays, a new wide-body maintenance hangar, checked-baggage screening system and more.

[nggallery id=50]

Video: The Boeing 747 Family – From the 747SP to the 747-8

While uniforms represent the company to a degree, they must still be functional and – above all – comfortable. Fabrics should be varied to accommodate the role that one serves while on duty. Crisp, business attire may be appropriate for a gate agent, while flunking for pilots. (Remember that some staff can walk around almost at will, while the pilots are essentially confined to their seats for the duration. Their uniforms also have to survive a multi-day, multi-leg trip with – at best, one change. The uniforms should also be user-cleanable and I think they get a fat FAIL on this one. (Just picture a short, minimum rest lay-over: Barely enough time to eat and shower, then some sleep. Perhaps another shower, but who – FA or pilot, wants to climb into an already thoroughly worn uniform for the trip home. Of course they have fresh undies and shirts, but…
Costume and public image is a good thing. My only **serious** objection** here is the continuing attempt to dress female pilots as ‘fake’ men. The many women who fly for united cannot be happy with this garb. At their own insistence, they are pilots first, but retain every bit of their gender identification. I do NOT KNOW the ideal uniform for a female pilot, but I do not believe that it requires them to ‘look like’ men. In a perfect world, United would have consulted with many of their female pilots before ordering this uniform. Obviously, they did not talk to enough women pilots or pay much attention to their comments. Again, I do not know the ideal ‘dress’ uniform for a female pilot, but this example is darn sure not it. A woman with a Windsor knot in her neck dressing looks about as appropriate as a guy in a skirt and panty hose, ‘just for functional comfort.’ I doubt that a long skirt is what the women want to wear while flying, but it is not my choice. Did anyone at UA bother asking the women what THEY wanted to wear? The suit jacket is dumb, unless tailored for a woman. The shirt is OK – comfortable is good. Some neck closure is just fine, I guess, but a woman with a fat Windsor knot is not – it is not anything. It is just plain silly. Try again, United, at least for your female staff. Good Heavens!

Mr Bill

Vendors have always been a problem. The material they use never lasted more than a few years and that’s only flying maybe 3 trips a month on average. And the price is rediculous as well. Too bad the government isn’t as worried about monopolies when it comes to uniforms as they are with how many carriers exist!!!

All of the stories and press releases say United has been at Newark for 25 years. United has been in Newark FOREVER, almost since the concrete runways were put down! Maybe at Terminal C for 25 years, though that was Continental. It’s amazing United gets this wrong.

Robert Schur

That photo is from O’Hare terminal 1

Thanks, that is my fault — it has been updated.


The one in blue looks like she belongs more on the USS Enterprise and not an airline flight

Mr Bill

Looks like more cross dressing. Women look absolutely awful dressed like a man. Those “new” uniforms are so-o-o-o- old school. Maybe consider pull over sweaters for everyone with some sort of rank for the pilots sewn in the fabric. Maybe a Trekkie kind of uniform, except you know how bad Ohura looked like in one of those uniforms. The problem is they need to dumb uniforms down to make the fattest employees look acceptable. There’s also security issues that wearing neckties creates. Its a good way to take someone out of the picture by strangulating them with their own tie. Clip ons are rediculous and of course bow ties wouldn’t do either. We’re still looking 19th century in the 21st. When are designers going to get with the times???? Above all other considerations the women need to ditch the rediculous looking hat!!! I always told my female FOs to not wear them when flying with me. They were always quite accommodating to my instructions!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *