In September, American Airlines issued new wool uniforms for its employees for the first time in almost three decades. Since then, more than 2,000 flight attendants have reported a series of ailments including “endocrine issues, eye swelling, rashes, skin blistering, throat and eye irritation, wheezing, coughing, headaches, vertigo and fatigue,” according to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
On Dec. 21, the APFA filed an official complaint for a critical health and safety breach on the new uniforms. It demanded that the airline cease using the uniforms and allow its flight attendants to choose between the old and new uniforms. The complaint also demanded the airline to reissue sick or personal leave and reimburse the flight attendants for all health care requests in relation to the side effects of the uniforms.
In an effort to show that the uniforms are safe to wear, around half a dozen American Airlines executives and middle managers — including vice president for flight services Hector Adler — have started wearing them to work.
This isn’t the first time Twin Hill manufactured uniforms with adverse side effects. In 2011, Alaska Airlines flight attendants experienced similar reactions to those reported by American Airlines flight attendants, CNN reported.
In 2012, Alaska Airlines flight attendants filed a class-action lawsuit against the company’s alleged use of chemical Disperse Orange 37/76, but the court rejected their claim. Alaska Airlines recalled the uniforms two years later.