Don’t be surprised when you see a Virgin Atlantic male crew member on fine skirts as the airline has updated its gender identity policy and is giving its crew the choice of what uniform to wear.
The airline announced that its pilots, cabin crew, and ground staff now have the option of putting on their red or burgundy uniform.
The carrier said it wants to “champion the individuality” of its workers by enabling them to wear clothing that “expresses how they identify or present themselves”.
Female Virgin Atlantic employees were previously required to wear a red uniform, while males wore burgundy. The company said the change makes it “the most inclusive airline in the skies”.
The airline posted a video on Twitter and wrote, “We’ve changed our uniform code to give our crew, pilot and ground team the option to choose which of our iconic uniforms, designed by Vivienne Westwood, best represents them,” with a hashtag See The World Differently.
Cabin crew member Jaime Forsstroem 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 airline said its existing “trans inclusion policies” include allowing time off work for medical treatments related to gender transition, a choice of changing and shower facilities that “align with the gender a person identifies as”, and co-creation of a “personalized transitioning plan”.
Virgin Atlantic is also introducing the option of including pronouns on workers’ name badges and has updated its ticketing system to allow passport holders with gender-neutral markers to use the title Mx and select gender codes U or X on their booking.
Passengers from a small number of countries including the US, India, and Pakistan – but not the UK – can hold these passports.
Mandatory inclusivity training will be rolled out across the workforce at the airline and Virgin Atlantic Holidays, while there will also be “inclusivity learning initiatives” for tourism partners and hotels in destinations such as the Caribbean.
This is to ensure “all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality”, Virgin Atlantic said.
The measures are part of the airline’s Be Yourself agenda.
Previous changes include dropping a requirement for female cabin crew to wear make-up and scrapping a ban on visible tattoos for all cabin crew. The airline’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are.
“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.”