Hot (and itchy) under the collar: American Airlines pilots are having a bad reaction to their new uniforms

Lian Parsons
American Airlines staff reported uniform issues (Source: Getty)

It looks like American Airlines pilots' attitudes to their new uniforms have been sent into a tailspin, after 100 pilots said their uniforms have made some of them so ill they can't fly

The new pilot uniforms, provided by Aramark, are the first update in 30 years, and are now slate grey instead of navy blue - but pilots said they are causing rashes, itching and irritation.

The problem has become so bad, the airline has said it will distribute a survey this week to find out how widely and how severely the uniforms are affecting pilots.

“Whatever they find in their survey, we’re happy to meet and discuss it with them,” said Ron Defeo, a spokesman for American Airlines. “We’ve shown we’re willing to work and find solutions.”

American Airlines has a history of uniform mishaps: in December a total of around 5,000 employees, including 3,000 flight attendants reported reactions to their new uniforms.

The symptoms ranged from skin and eye irritation to headaches and respiratory issues. According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the affected staff asked for a total recall of the uniforms.

The new uniforms are causing rashes, itching and irritation (Source: American Airlines / Instagram)

A recall didn't happen, but staff were given the option to wear their old uniforms or exchange them for uniforms made from different materials or produced by a different supplier.

“We don’t know what we’re going to find out [in the survey],” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association.

“It’s certainly not the same numbers as the flight attendants, but there is some real concern that there’s a bigger problem out there.

"[Pilots] have to be fit for duty. If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change,” he added.

Read more: Check out London Underground's snazzy new staff uniforms

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