Ukrainian airline ditches skirts and heels for loose suits and sneakers
A European budget airline is ditching high heels, blouses and pencil skirts for its female flight attendants in a bid to make the working environment more comfortable for the crew.
Instead, SkyUp Airlines is introducing Nike Air Max 720s and a loose suit with trousers, and a white T-shirt and silk scarf.
The changes come into effect later this month and Alexandrina Denysenko, a senior flight attendant at the Ukrainian airline, told Reuters that it can’t come soon enough.
”Shoes on heels look beautiful, I do not argue with that, but feet suffer and swell by the end of the flight. Sneakers are absolutely cool,” said Denysenko.
The safety factor was also an issue for her: “God forbid, but if a crew has to do a landing in water and an evacuation, heels can damage the ladder and it won't be very comfortable to swim in a skirt.”
SkyUp Airlines is following a trend by airlines away from the more formal look for crew, especially female staff. Virgin Atlantic dropped its mandatory make-up requirements for flight attendants in 2019, while Japan Airlines and Norwegian Air dropped high heels for flat shoes.
SkyUp, which serves 34 scheduled year-round and seasonal destinations from airports in Ukraine, announced the changes earlier this year and at the time, the Head of SkyUp Airlines Marketing Department Marianna Grigorash said it was well overdue.
“Before creating a new concept in collaboration with Frame Fashion Consultancy, we delved into history and analysed the global evolution of the uniform of flight attendants from the early 1930s. It changed depending on the role that the crew performed in flight,” said Grigorash.
“Times have changed, women have changed, so in contrast to the conservative classics, heels, red lipstick and a bun, a new, more modern and comfortable image of a ‘champion’ has appeared. Freedom, natural beauty, individuality, no patterns and sneakers in which everyone ‘would like to fly’.”
Flight attendant uniforms made news earlier this year here in Aotearoa when Air New Zealand issued a video of outfits over the years.
From a military-style women’s suit inspired by World War II to a colourful mini dress dubbed the “Jellybean” and outfits criticised for making cabin crew look like characters out of cult 60s sci-fi series Thunderbirds, the national carrier’s uniforms have always provoked a reaction.