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Virgin Atlantic scraps gendered uniforms as part of inclusivity drive

Virgin’s famous red uniforms had been typically worn by female staff since the airline’s inception in 1984.

28 September 2022

Virgin Atlantic has scrapped gendered uniforms and will instead allow crew to choose the workwear they feel represents them most.

The airline has reversed a policy which required pilots, cabin crew and ground staff to wear a specific uniform based on their gender.

Staff will now be given a free choice between Virgin’s burgundy uniform – a blazer and trousers with a tie – or its red uniform – traditionally consisting of a jacket and skirt.

Optional pronoun badges will be made available for crew (Virgin Atlantic/PA)

Jaime Forsstroem, a cabin crew member at Virgin Atlantic, said: “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.”

The changes come as part of a wider series of updates the airline is making to its inclusivity policies.

It will also be making pronoun badges available for crew, while customers could ask for their preferred badge at check in desks.

Ticketing systems have also been updated to allow for those who hold passports with gender neutral gender markers to select ‘U’ or ‘X’ gender codes on their booking as well as the gender-neutral title, ‘Mx’.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are.

The changes come as part of a wider series of updates the airline is making to its inclusivity policies (Virgin Atlantic/PA)

“That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”

Virgin’s famous red uniforms had been typically worn by female staff since the airline’s inception in 1984.

Since 2014, Virgin staff have been sporting a version of the uniform created by British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.

In 2019, the airline stopped telling female cabin crew that they had to wear make-up and started providing them with trousers as part of their standard uniform, rather than only if requested.

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