As part of its updated gender identity policy, Virgin Atlantic now permits all of its employees, regardless of their gender, gender identity, or gender expression, to wear any of the three iconic uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood.
Virgin Atlantic is taking a bold step towards being the most welcoming airline in the sky by providing a more flexible approach to its employees’ signature red and burgundy uniforms. This implies that employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community can wear either the red or burgundy uniform.
According to a press statement issued by the airline on September 28, 2022, “Virgin Atlantic will give its employees a flexible approach to its red and burgundy uniforms,” indicating that LGBTQ+ colleagues will be free to select the uniform that “best portrays them.”
This upgrade is part of the company’s new gender identity policy, which also allows employees to wear optional pronoun badges and has updated its ticketing system to accommodate passengers who identify as nonbinary. The airline also provides destination-specific training with its tourism and hotel partners and mandatory inclusivity training for its employees.
Right now, only a few countries, including the US, India, and Pakistan, issue passports that do not specify a gender. Nonetheless, while purchasing airline tickets, passengers must pick the gender that corresponds with the one shown on their passport.
The airline featured Michelle Visage, an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, in a video to explain the change in policy with activists Tanya Compas, Talulah-Eve, and Tyreece Nye.
It’s not about cancelling people or about removing women or men. “It’s just more inclusive language,” says Alison Porte, a Virgin Atlantic first officer, in the video.
“As the mother of a non-binary child and an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, these initiatives by Virgin Atlantic to improve inclusion for its people are tremendously essential and personal to me,” Michelle Visage said. People feel powerful when they wear what best reflects them, and this gender identification policy encourages people to be themselves and bring their whole selves to work.”
Cabin crew uniform standards are famously stringent across the world. Virgin Atlantic Airlines recently provided cabin employees the option of wearing make-up, pants, and flat shoes. Virgin Atlantic lifted regulations on visible arm tattoos earlier this year.
According to a poll conducted on behalf of Virgin Atlantic by 3Gem, allowing people to express their true selves at work promotes happiness, increases mental wellness, fosters a more pleasant workplace culture, and gives a better customer experience.
Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Jarvinen, stated that the company urged employees to embrace their individuality and be their genuine selves at work. “As a result, we want to allow our staff to wear the uniform that best suits them.”