Virgin Atlantic is scrapping gender-specific uniforms

Virgin Atlantic is letting its crew choose which uniform to wear in an effort to update their gender identity policy.

The airline announced that its pilots, cabin crew and ground staff now have the option to wear their red or burgundy uniform.

The airline said it wants to encourage “the individuality” of its employees by allowing them to wear clothing that “expresses how they identify or present themselves”.

Formerly, female Virgin Atlantic employees were required to wear a red uniform while males wore burgundy uniforms.

The company said the change makes it the “most inclusive airline in the sky.”

Cabin crew member Jaime Forsström said: “The updated gender identity policy is very important to me. As a non-binary person, I can be myself at work and have a choice in what uniform I wear.”

The airline said its existing “trans inclusion policies” include granting waivers for medical treatments related to gender change, a choice of changing room and shower facilities that “match the gender an individual identifies as” and co-creation of a “Personalized Transition Plan”.

Virgin Atlantic is also introducing the option to put pronouns on workers’ name tags and has updated its ticketing system to allow passport holders with gender-neutral markings to use the title Mx and select gender codes U or X when making their booking.

Passengers from a small number of countries, including the US, India and Pakistan – but not the UK – can hold these passes.

Mandatory inclusion training will be introduced for airline and Virgin Atlantic Holidays staff, while there will also be “inclusiveness learning initiatives” for tourism partners and hotels in destinations such as the Caribbean.

This is to ensure that “all of 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 removing the requirement for female cabin crew to wear makeup and removing a ban on visible tattoos for all cabin crew.

The airline’s chief commercial officer, Juha Jarvinen, said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are.

“That’s why it’s so important that we enable our employees to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work.

“For this reason, we want to allow our employees to wear the uniform that suits them best and how to identify our customers and ensure that they are addressed with their preferred pronouns.”

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