American Airlines’ new uniforms have given a few flight attendants hives and headaches.
“We have received some reports about fabric sensitivity, and we’re working with those employees,” said American spokeswoman Lakesha Brown.
About 80,000 flight attendants, pilots, maintenance workers and customer service agents began wearing new uniforms for American Airlines last week. The modern-styled uniforms, which include gray suits and red and blue scarves, were created with input from employees.
Fifteen flight attendants have contacted the Fort Worth-based carrier about issues related to a wool allergy. In the past, uniforms were made out of synthetic materials.
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Brown said the airline has offered those flight attendants a 100 percent cotton or polyester uniform that looks exactly the same as those made from the wool knit fabric.
During the past three years of developing the uniforms, American did fabric and wear tests with employees and also tested the fabric for known fabric sensitivities, she added.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants disputes the low number of flight attendants affected reported by the company. The union said it has received over 700 reports of uniform issues on its website reporting form.
“We are currently doing independent testing on the uniforms in order to find out what chemicals are involved in the manufacturing process,” the union said in an e-mail. “We are encouraging our members to file ‘injury on duty’ claims with the company when they experience any type of reaction.”
Previously, the pilots union had complained that not all of its pilots had received the correct uniform pieces or that uniforms that had been delivered did not fit or were of low quality.
Brown said the airline has received mostly positive feedback from its employees about the new uniforms.
“An enormous number of them have told us how proud they are and how good they feel in their uniforms,” Brown said.