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No more beige shorts. Southwest Airlines unveils new employee uniforms

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Beige is out. Gray is in. And orange hot pants are not returning.

Southwest Airlines unveiled its new employee-designed uniforms for its flight attendants, ground workers and gate agents on Monday that feature gray shorts, pants or skirts for workers paired with blue and red shirts. The Dallas-based carrier also revealed its new Boeing 737-800 “Heart” interior design that matches the livery scheme it revealed in 2014.

“Introducing our new uniform designs and fully branded 737-800 Heart interiors into the fleet is an accomplishment directly resulting from our hardworking employee design teams,” said Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly in a statement.

The new uniforms were designed by employees and then tested at 37 cities for performance and durability. All employees will begin wearing the uniforms in June 2017.

The carrier had given media a sneak peak at the uniforms last October prior to its wear test of the uniform. Southwest said it expects to spend $23 million on the uniforms that will outfit about 80 percent of its workforce with the new uniforms. Pilots will have a separate uniform design program.

“Our brand, our planes, and our people are bold and modern, and the new uniform represents who our employees are - spirited, professional, unique, and approachable,” said Sonya LaCore, vice president of cabin services.

Southwest Airlines will roll out new uniforms for its flight attendants, gate agents and ramp workers in 2017. Employees are currently conducting a wear test. (October 9, 2015) Video courtesy of Southwest Airlines

The new aircraft interior features a new seat designed by B/E Aerospace that are lighter and a 0.7 inches wider than the current seats as the armrests are slimmer. It uses the same eco-friendly recycled leather that Southwest uses on its current seats and has an adjustable head rest and two backseat pockets.

The carrier also redesigned the galley for flight attendants in the 737-800 aircraft that does not have carts. Instead of pushing carts up and down the aisle, flight attendants will serve passengers with their drinks, using trays.

Southwest said it has three aircraft with the “Heart” interior flying in its system and expects to have 28 by the end of the year.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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