American Airlines Pilots Say New Uniforms Bothering Them, Too
It's been a bit of a mess for American Airlines. After rolling out new uniforms, receiving complaints from employees that they caused health issues, dodging questions about said health issues, and trying to prove said health issues don't exist at all, the company is now fielding complaints from pilots that the uniforms are, in fact, not great.
The Star-Telegram reported that more than 100 American Airlines pilots have reported allergic reactions to the new uniforms.
"We've had pilots that are beginning to report the same reactions as our flight attendants," Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, told the Star-Telegram. "We had about 100 reports, but we're getting indications that there are more out there."
Previously, we reported that flight attendants were experiencing hives, headaches, breathing problems and rashes from the new uniforms. In an attempt to sweep the whole thing under the rug, American Airlines executives offered to wear the uniforms to prove the employees wrong.
Well, now that the pilots are complaining, this just stepped up a bit. After all, it's safe to say that a pilot experiencing health issues mid-flight is bad. (That's kind of how the movie "Airplane!" started.)
The Star-Telegram reports:
Some pilots have taken medical leave due to reactions related to the uniforms, Tajer said. The union, which represents 15,000 pilots, has decided to conduct a survey of its members and provide a process where pilots can report uniform problems. At this point, the union does not know how widespread the issue is, he added.
American has declined to recall the new uniforms, although it set up a hotline for employees within days of the uniforms being introduced. The manufacturer has added polyester and cotton versions of the uniforms that employees can order. American has also added an option for flight attendants made by a different manufacturer.
"We've been in touch with the APA for the final process of adding a fourth option for pilots," American Airlines spokesman Ron DeFeo told the Star-Telegram, adding that the airline received only four injury-on-duty claims from pilots related to the uniforms.
The manufacturer, Twin Hill, stood firm in its claim that the uniforms are safe, and that scientific testing has shown chemicals in the clothing are below established industry levels. However, as we reported previously, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants has been pushing for a fourth round of testing.
It's also worth noting that Alaska Airlines received uniforms from the same manufacturer in 2012, and got similar complaints over health problems.