Virgin Atlantic Is the Latest Airline to Offer Gender-Neutral Uniforms

It may not be the first airline, but it is still groundbreaking news

Group of six people (including Michelle Visage) posing on an airport tarmac in red and burgundy suits. The two people on either end are wearing burgundy pant suits. The person in the middle left is in a pilots uniform and heels, and the other three people are in red skirt suits with matching heels.

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic made waves last week when the airline announced that it was getting rid of its gendered uniform policy. Flight attendants, pilots, and ground teams can now pick whichever Vivienne Westwood-designed uniform suits them best. The updated uniform policy is the latest addition to a growing move towards inclusivity and greater self-expression for airline staff.

"The updated gender identity policy is so important to me. As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear," said Jaime Forsstroem, a cabin crew member at Virgin Atlantic. Along with the new policy, staff and customers will have the option to wear pronoun badges. Customers who want a badge can request one at a check-in desk or a Virgin Atlantic clubhouse. The airline is also working to make sure that customers are addressed with their correct pronouns at all opportunities.

The new policy is exciting for LGBTQ staff and customers, and Virgin Atlantic is now the second airline with gender-neutral uniforms and pronoun badges. Alaska Airlines was the first carrier to make that change in March of this year. Not only did Alaska Airlines remove gendered uniforms and roll out pronoun badges, but it also worked with Seattle-based designer Luly Yang to create brand new uniforms—with input from employees–intended to be worn by people of all genders. The uniform changes for both airlines, follow loosened policies allowing for visible tattoos, more hairstyle options, nail polish, nose piercings, and more.

Virgin and Alaska are leading the pack regarding freedom of expression for their staff, but they're not the only airlines loosening the notoriously strict uniform policies. United Airlines relaxed some restrictions in 2021, allowing staff to show certain tattoos and giving people the option not to wear make-up.

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  1. Virgin Atlantic. "Virgin Atlantic Updates Gender Identity Policy, Allowing People to Wear Uniforms That Express Their True Identity." Sept. 28, 2022.

  2. Alaska Airlines. "From Our Employees: What More Inclusive Gender-Neutral Uniforms and Policies Mean for Bringing our Best Selves to Work." March 28, 2022.

  3. CNN. "United Airlines to Introduce More Inclusive Cabin Crew Hair and Makeup Rules." Aug. 11, 2021.