Delta Flight Attendants: Uniforms Causing Big Issues

Joining their American Airlines counterparts, Delta staffers say new garb causes rashes, hair loss
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2019 12:25 PM CDT
Flight Attendants From 2nd Airline Blame Rashes on Uniforms
This undated photo shows new employee uniforms designed by fashion designer Zac Posen.   (Courtesy of Delta Air Lines via AP)

American Airlines has already pumped more than $1 million into toxicological tests to see why its recently introduced flight attendant uniforms are causing what appear to be allergic reactions. Now Delta is joining the itchy fray, with that airline's flight attendants saying their own uniforms have been leading to skin rashes and other maladies, and that the issue has been going on for almost a year. The Guardian reports that in May 2018, Delta handed out the new purple Lands' End attire, designed by former Project Runway star Zac Posen, to tens of thousands of employees, including 24,000 flight attendants—and soon after, the complaints started trickling in. Among them: skin chafing and rashes, hair loss, and shortness of breath.

One flight attendant says she can't even call what happened to her skin a rash. "It's worse than that. Some of them look like chemical burns ... they don't go away for weeks [on] end," she tells the Guardian, which notes it spoke with "scores" of other workers who didn't want to go on the record due to fears of retaliation, as Delta flight attendants aren't part of a union. Per the Paddle Your Own Kanoo blog for flight attendants, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers claims that some workers have been given the option of wearing "a plain black suit," while others have been "removed from their duties." No word yet on what's been causing the issues, though doctors have told workers it could be the stain-fighting formaldehyde and Teflon woven into the garments. Delta says less than 1% of employees have complained. (More Delta Air Lines stories.)

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