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Delta Grounds Flight Attendants Over Uniform Reactions

Delta Grounds Flight Attendants Over Uniform Reactions

Delta Air Lines introduced a new, eye-popping, purple uniform design in 2018 on the tail-end of a huge wardrobe malfunction at competitor American Airlines in which employees reported a myriad of health problems related to chemicals present in the fabrics used to construct the outfits. Eventually, American was forced to scrap the uniform and start over with a new supplier after a long period of denying the extent and severity of the company’s uniform situation. AA is on track to replace the Twinhill uniforms in 2020 but in the meantime there has been no recall. At American, approximately 5000 flight attendants have reported health related uniform issues including proximity reactions as a majority of employees continue to currently wear it.

Delta assured its employees and the public that the company had taken appropriate measures to prevent a similar uniform disaster by closely monitoring the sourcing and manufacturing process.

Since the introduction, we’ve been learning of a growing number of Delta flight attendants that are experiencing reactions to the new Zac Posen designed pieces they were issued last year. As more crew-members have reported the problems ranging from skin reactions to difficulty breathing, Delta management is becoming increasingly less understanding or flexible.

“People are having nose bleeds, many many complain of runny noses, dripping constantly while working in the aisle. Some have lost their voices, and have vocal chord damage, bathtubs are stained from dye leaving her body, toilet seats, bedding bras and undershirts worn under uniform is purple. they have been prescribed emergency inhalers, folks have gone to the ER in anaphylactic shock. they have to take steroid pills, prescribed steroid cream. bloody arms and back from scratching their sores. Skin tags growing in multiple FA’s. Lymph nodes appearing in cancer survivors. Eyes so red they have pulled some off their trips accusing them of contagious illness. . Lost wages. Some are approved to wear the black, some are not. Some are being told they cannot wear the black and white now, after being approved. .Some are being denied OJI, some approved. Doctors notes mean nothing to Sedgwick, which is really Dl making the call…” — Delta flight attendant

Delta’s “Rules of the Road”

— Do as Delta says, not as Delta does! — 

In the beginning, some flight attendants were told they could switch to generic black business attire while the company developed a plan to address the situation but now Delta has informed many of these same employees that they either put on the purple or else. It seems to be rather selective and target older, senior flight attendants who are also the most highly paid at Delta.

Delta management always refers back to the Delta “Rules of the Road” when schooling employees on the conduct that is expected of them.

Flight attendants seeking assistance from managers, who they have been told they can trust, are being immediately pulled from service. Once removed from flight status, they are then dropped into an exhausting disability-benefits gauntlet which eventually leads to a “career decision” situation. In other words, it appears Delta has opted to deploy a clever strategy designed to make their expanding uniform issue disappear while simultaneously ridding the company of sick and often more-senior flight attendants.

Here is what happens to flight attendants, we’ve spoken to, who report health related uniform issues to their manager:

  1. Removed from service
  2. Told to put in for disability and contact Sedgwick — a company contracted by Delta to minimize the cost of employee absences, on-the-job injuries etc.
  3. Progressed to being offered the choice to quit, retire, or retrain for a lower paid, non-flight position

As we hear from Delta flight attendants, we are referring them to a law firm that has offered to assist with their situation.

Delta Ground Personnel Affected

Flight attendants aren’t the only ones we are hearing from who are experiencing reactions to the new uniforms and the resulting company response. After this article was posted we’ve spoken with Delta airport customer service personnel who are also having similar issues.

“There has only been one agent at my station that has been allowed to wear black and white alternate uniform items. Others have filed claims with Sedgwick. Some have been denied and they are are suggesting others go on disability, which is not financially possible for most.” Delta gate agent

Related: There is also a large group of Delta flight attendants involved in a lawsuit regarding discrimination.

More about Gailen:
What really happened with him and American?

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@gailendavid

Gailen David is co-host of the nationally syndicated travel talk show, "The Jet Set" with over 1.8M weekly viewers in over 200 television markets in 12 countries. A former flight attendant, he leads a global discussion about "Jetiquette", the rules or code of civilized travel. Gailen is a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN and USA Today on topics related to the airline travel experience and of course, Jetiquette. Visit Gailen's website

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