American Airlines Estimates That 900 Flight Attendants Will Be Furloug
American Airlines flight attendants arrive for work at O'Hare International Airport July 2, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Union Calls For a Total Recall of American Airlines’ New Uniforms

Dec 05, 2016

Itchy rash? Headaches? Hives? There's something in the air at American, and it looks like the new uniforms may be to blame.

More than 1,600 American Airlines (aal) staff have registered a gambit of complaints with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) ranging from burning skin, to eye irritation, to respiratory problems—all suspected reactions to the company's new uniform.

When American rolled out more than 70,000 to their staff in September, the uniforms were well-received. The wave of sickness, however, has prompted the APFA to call for their total recall until the cause of the reactions can be determined.

“The growing number of reports of suspected reactions, triggered by both direct and indirect contact with the uniform, has prompted APFA to ask that all uniforms be recalled until further joint testing with the company can be completed,” the union said in a memo to its members on Wednesday.

The Fort Worth-based carrier, in conjunction with APFA, is conducting testing on the uniforms but does not plan to recall them entirely, The Dallas Morning News reports.

“This is something we’re taking very seriously. We obviously want to make sure every employee feels good in their uniform,” company spokesman Ron DeFeo told the paper.

He added that after three rounds of testing on the uniform's materials, results were “in line with normal standards.”

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According to Fort Worth-based newspaper Star-Telegram, American Airlines—which is planning another round of testing—has permitted about 200 attendants to revert back to their former uniforms and ordered in 600 non-wool versions, which it hopes will remedy some of the skin reactions.

The union, however, insists nothing less than a full recall will do.

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