United Airlines' new uniforms: you be the judge...

By David Flynn, May 31 2013

United Airlines crew will don new-look uniforms next month, but reaction to the revamped threads seems to be as subdued as the kit's overall design and colours.

The airline has opted for a safe but rather bland corporate look with shades of blue, gray and black, deliberately playing off the palette of United and Continental following their merger in 2010 – although for our money, the look is more 1980s. And we're not alone.

"Where's the wow factor?" asked our friends at Jaunted, lamenting the "standard dark colors and blah design... United did not call upon a fashion designer to update their look and unfortunately it's pretty evident."

In United's home town, the staid Chicago Business Journal noted that while "the new United uniforms may not win awards for most stylish outfits in the sky, but it's a look that nonetheless exudes a certain low-key professionalism."

"Nothing wrong with that as United works to improve its service quality rankings — a matter of much greater concern to most passengers than the uniforms ever will be."

Eyeball the gear yourself with this video of United's catwalk fashion show.

It's certainly a long way from the latest high-fashion looks of Qantas, crafted by Martin Grant...

... China Eastern's Christian Lacroix clobber...

... and Virgin Atlantic's threads by Vivienne Westwood.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

UA is a bland airline so I had not expected a fashionable new look! They are not setting themselves apart, that is for sure, missed an opportunity in my opinion. I wonder if other US based airlines will also follow suit. AA has been revamping their overall product and look, they are now in the process of designing new uniforms (still 18 months away from implementing though), wonder what they come up with, hope it will be a bit more daring.

With regards to the UA uniforms I am not sure about the colours and there seems to be a lot of difference in the uniforms shown in the picture. Is the pic displaying both flight as ground crew and is that why it seems a bit of a mixed bag?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 303

Wow, that is a bland look they've gone for. Looks more like a staff photo from a law firm or car rental company. Certianly makes Virgin Australia and Qantas look fresh and modern.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 328

Represents everything about US airlines.....average.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I did not expect anything flash from United, and this proves why! What drab boring colours, these people could be working for a bank as much as an airline, that's how unexciting and uninspiring the uniforms look!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 169

Alot better than their current uniforms, however that is coming off a low baseline.

DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 170

I find the enthusiasm of the presenter on the video just ridiculous.  Does he really believe what he is saying?

The blue dress is the only thing that says airline staff....the rest look like a bunch of bankers.

Let's hope AA learn from UA's failure.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

Think of the crew that have to wear them every day! Not nice UA!

31 May 2013

Total posts 17

Even if the uniform was cheap and ugly, there was no need for that pathetic unveil. Look how much publicity QF got out of their unveil - well worth the cost I would imagine. UA will only get bad press from this one. The uniform, is not stylish, nor modern, has little to no brand value, and to boot even doesn't look the uniform. The above photo looks like staff from three different American carriers!

 

Appartently the presenter is the a VP of sales or something, his MC abilites show the dire lack of direction in the UA team.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

In some ways uniforms don't overly matter as good service counts for more.

But the issue here is that uniforms are more part of an overall marketing strategy of showing, who we are, what we are and what we stand for as a company. This uniform says we are a drab and boring and don't really care.

So perhaps this uniform suits UA perfectly?

I always find it ironical how US carriers border on tacky when it comes to their presentation, when on both sides of the mainland are two meccas of fashion, design and style.

Perhaps the strategy to look daggy is intentional so as not to alienate customers in the heartlands of the continental United States?

If anything it is a reflection of how incongruous society is in the United States.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

I don't wish to sound elitist, but it appears they have procured their new uniforms from Lowes.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

big deal  i find service onboard to be more important than crappy QaNTAS POLYESTER KNOCKOFFS - FLYING sWISS fIRST uNITE fIRST gLOBAL AND DOMESTIC ps lh fIRST AND lh BIZ AS WELL AS sq  QANTAS UNIFORMS LOOK TARDY AND PRETENTIOUS  -VERY aUSTRALIAN!!!

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Could you perhaps clarify what yo meant with above post? Am I understanding it correctly that you are comparing United Global First with LH F, LX F and sayng it is better than QF F?

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 98

With writing like that, I seriously doubt you fly first on any airline.

Re the polyester comment, "The fine Merino wool woven into the new QANTAS designs has been traced back to around 50 wool growing properties across Australia, including flocks from close to where the QANTAS began at Longreach, Queensland...Merino wool is well represented across the uniforms, from the pure wool knitwear cardigans and vests, through to wool rich blends in jackets, skirts and trousers."

And btw, for something to be a knock-off, it has to be a copy of an original design. Can you point out how these are knock-offs?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

big deal about qantas uniforms - I reg fly LX LH in both F and C longhaul as well as United F  longhaul and UA transcon in ps in F and C  Its more about the service than what the person is waering - and i dont like polyester Qantas uniforms no matter who designed them

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

I like LX and LH in F, but UA Global First is a joke, bad service, bad food, grumpy attendants, definitely subpar, I'd rather fly a whole bunch of other airlines in business than UA in F. Same with LH in C, seats are subpar. Must say their new F is great and I always like the service with LH.

Personally I like the QF uniforms and do not feel they have a polyester look. But that is subjective and my personal opinion ofcourse.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

And really  UA F is good - i havent done qf F becasueI dont do qantas except domestically becasue Ansett is gone - I fly Star Alliance not oneWorld

I am talking about service I really dont care what people are wearing

And really just look at an Australian passenger cf and American (USa/Canada) I find Americans better dressed and although not quite like in the EU on the Continent

Try flying QF in C and see the bogans wearing designer jeans and thongs, likein the Qantas Club  I always fly QF in C domestically - and am  constantly appalled at the behaviours and general appearance and demeanour of Australian compared with USA/Ca pax  And im Austrlaian albeit of EU ethnicity  And try the airport service with the fake smiles and bland disregard for the airline's baggage policies - plain uignorance of plain laziness -0 So really if u need to uniform to compensate for lack of service go Qantas!

Really if you cant tell polyester from cashmere or cotton or silk that kinda reflect upon what ur used to - i only wear natural fibres like  wool cashmere cotton silk and blends thereof  - on board and off board So stop bagggingUnited wake up and smell the borscht and see what has happened herei n Australia with total lack of serivce both on ground and on board the amount of times I have been turned away from biz checkin at Mel and Syd airports domestically with 3 bags at 32kg and told to go to an echeckin ! I insist on personal checkin becasue i have paid for it !Go qantas!

BTW didnt realise u have to look at botttom of page  so my previous posts weren't censored

 

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

I am sorry you have not experienced the true Qantas service, both on th ground as in the air. Especially as premium passenger nothing but great service with genuine smiles. I must say that I personally rather enjoy QF, but as said, I like LH and LX as well for that matter (or NH since we are alking Star Alliance).

Really, I am not bagging Americans (nor is the article if you ask me). I am being critical of the "service" onboard UA, when flying F I expect standards you find onboard earlier mentioned carriers (LH and LX for you as you know them) and I truly never got service on UA that even came close. SImple things as not adressing you by name, keeping cabin lights on during flights, no turn down service, no pyjama's, mediocre food and very subpar beverages. As you said in your example "I insist on service I have paid for", indeed...well, I expect service I have paid for, not insist....

I guess we live in parallel universes, you get the treatment with UA and I get it with QF and that is why it is good everybody has a choice to fly whom they want. Having said that, we are on a forum here and everybody can voice their opinion and being critical of a certain airline or aspect of service from a specific country does not mean I am "bagging" the ctizens of that country, that would be too far fethched and generalising.

For what it is worth I am European as well, born and raised. Another tip, when flying QF in C domestic, you may use the QF Business lounge instead of QF Club, in general these are havens of tranquility.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

I do use the QF C lounges- not havens of tranqulilty and shower facilities are somewhat hospital like withpoor toiletries  - not much different than the Qantas Clubs in terms of standards - but for bevvies and food I do have to say QF excell -  I'd say the domestic QF C lounges in Mel and Syd are right up there - they almost   beat the LX First (but no limo service???)  and Senator Lounges at ZRH - but they dont reach the standards of Senator lounges at MUC or FRA And I can smoke in most lounges in DE and CH

Have u tried United Global first lately? Food is exceptional as it is on PS flights transcontinental LAX-/SFO-JFK  I like toothpicks i like good salad  I like Van Laack PJs but really I cant be bothered changing - I have a showere when i land at my destination in the lounge nd change -  Turn down - well UA do now in Global First   - with their new quilt base but really its too uncomfortable -

But really who cares?You  cant voice an opinion in AU without being ridiculed.  And that goes across the board in any area

You know what Ill stick to Star Alliance and take advantage of my upgrades to F as a LH Senator and a United Premier 1K and  have excellent cheap C and F award with low low low taxes and upgrade availalbility with United on most Star carriers Try that with QF!  My last redemption from MEL-SYD-SFO-JFK vv in F was 160K miles and US$160 in taxes   and a recent redemption from TLV-ZRH in C on LX was 25K miles and US$24 taxes  The cheapest thing Ive done on QF is a redemption in C last year on ELAL TLV-MXP  for 24k miles and GBP21 taxes  Cant do that on QF  Ialso like my free upgrades to UA Global First, my 6 Global Upgrades and 4 Regional Upgrades free each year, using Senator Evouchers to upgrade to F on LX and LH and also using StarUpgrade Awards  and having them clar immeiately on LX and LH using my United Miles

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

I flew UA in F from ORD to MUC last year October, not impressed but good to hear they have picked p their game (as have many other US based areas).

Definitely have to agee with you on their mileage program, best value redemptions,low taxes and indeed the upgrade chances are higher, QF does nt come close (although there are some good value Asia redemptions and any seat awards is a good feature)

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 70

Boring cbourl!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

Im sure it is - u NextGen  pax really dont know the difference between service and non-service And u worry about uniforms! Stop bagging the Americans and take a lot at yourself

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

I do know difference between service and I am not worried about uniforms, just pointing out as the article says as well that they are bland (and the article also makes our point saying it is service that people care about.

You might also want to have a look at forums at FLyertalk, a lot of Americans complaining about UA service, so basically Americans "bagging" Americans is how you would put it.

Seriously, don't take things personal and once again, everybody has a choice and if UA treats you well keep flying them!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

QF uniforms are bland   imho I am an avid reader of flyertalk.com where I am a senior contributor  I am treated very very well by United and Lufthansa  I appreciate it when an employee whom Ive met a couple of times will engage me in personal conversation after having not seen them for many months - on board ,at the airport LAX JFK SFO , in thelounges, to the point of approaching me in the  airport terminal and greeing me and asking me  how thingsare etc etc etc   This aint never hippend with QF Usually its an argument at checkin with a surly agent who doesnt know the baggage entitlements, with a supervisor having to correct thm   Doesnt QF train its staff?  This is a regular thing with QF and ive become used to printing the baggage entitlement pages from the QF website to  correct the agent who tells me he/she is doing me a favour by lettting the bags thru this time

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

01 Jun 2013

Total posts 1

UA stinks!  When they took over Pan Ams pacific routes you would have thought they got it right-wrong...I was on NY-Narita in First Class..simply terrible service. Said the Stew..we are new to this route and are learning. I said I thought you had been flying the Pacific for 50 years.Have not been on UA plane since, From what I hear flying UA is like sitting on top of a train in India. There will never be an American carrier in the World's Best Top 10. Only if Pan Am were still flying would America be in the top 5. The American airlines no nothing about service,,maybe first class on AA.  I remember when Continental used real china and silver and had great food. Give me BA or Singapore any day....

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

Go SQ  A380 Biz from SIN-SYD After a connection from Qatar (now thats an airline!!) Jatz crackers and coon cheese on Givenchy crockery Wow  -obviously catering to their market!!! Have you tried UA lately in C or Global First  - food trolleys so you can make selections Nice cutlery, glasses, totohpicks, salt pepper shakers Fanatastic quality food Would you liek to see any fotos?   Youclearly have not flown UA for a long time - and as we all know Continental always sucked - very New Jersey!! BA and SQ  - Ive flown BA in C and SQ often in C -  - when i go to EU/IL with LX/LH I choose to use there fares with CX/AC/UA via HK or USA to EU?IL and come back via USA lots of flyer miles and  now Im TSA PreCheck after years of flying with UA makes for a smooth seamless experience with good first and C lounges in USA/EU wit hshowers, great arrivals lounges in SFO/FRA,ZRH,  good quality mags (cf with QF) , good food good booze and service wit happreciatio nand a smile Pax always adddress by name and orders taken acccording to status

Why would you fly with BA - crap crap crap and service with atttitude  SQ  rides on a perceived quaility rating - vastly different from the actual expereince the false smiles and  bad food  make sq a 3star like UA    Why dont u try Qatar to see what a real airline should be like?  I have a very good relationship with UA after many years and they treat me very very well -

And yeh try AA  - once from CDG-JFK in Y  pourchase alcohol in Y ? OMG!! And no change for US$20 note on a US carrier - just look at the garbage they serve up in theUSA  For you OneWorld fanatic AA suits you well and we of course dont really want you on the worlds best biggest and best rated alliance,Star  And for those of us in Star we only tolerate SQ becasue we have to - they begrudgingly  offer Star benefits and shouldnt really be in the alliance  So keep up with QF,BA, AA and SQ 

 

Hey all of you bagging UA. Try AA instead! See the difference!!!

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

AA is indeed much better...... UA in my opinion does not even come close, esp with AA having improved their game recently, great new hard and soft product!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 210

Thanks for the entertainment all. The discussion on an article about uniforms seems to have morphed into something completely different, although I'm not sure what.

For what it's worth the UA uniforms do look pretty boring but hey who really cares.

Funniest thing about it all was watching the video and listening to the guy doing the intros - sounded like he might wet himself with excitement, maybe he dsigned them....because they obviosulty weren't that exciting. :)

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

.... Particularly the part about introducing "the most stylish uniforms of ANY airline in the world".  I had to smile at that one.

01 Jun 2013

Total posts 1

Ah, yes, maybe a bland look to some.....but the Mexican General look of Continental Airlines pilots, (not UAL) abounds!  You can see the tasteless adornment of the folks of the Continental touch, since CAL management runs the show at the now, UAL.  Don't be mistaken...there is no UAL input into these decisions, it's all Continental.  Ugg.....

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

Absolutely! Like on a ps flight a few weeks ago in BF (no F any longer) on a PMCO 757  old continental flatbed service shocking  I actually asked the crew and they said they we Continental   It was so obvious and a bit like Qf where you have to ask for water and booze topups The attendant even talked about Onepass frequnent flyer program and how we were all  earning valuable Onepass miles   That week id hade 4 other ps flights JFK-LAX/SFO and vv  in F and C with PMUA crew and as usual great onboard service, jokes, smiles and great food!  want to see the fotos of entrees and mains  and deserts? Jeff Smisek and his other Continental colleagues have managed to make many changes we like and this is similar to what QF has done  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Apr 2013

Total posts 47

I always new united airlines was no where as good as qantas.

But this confirms it!

Great job QF with the new uniforms

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 90

I usually get great service whichever airline I fly. Try smiling at the flight attendant when he/she does the safety demenstration instead of ignoring it, you will be suprised at the level of service you get on th rest of the flight. And yes, Qantas have improved significantly over the last two years, I would rate their service on par with Singapore.

What does this have to do with uniforms. Nothing but I didnt change the subject!   :)

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

ABSOLOUTEMENT!!! QF on par with substandard SQ!!!    If thats all you know good luch to you      I have fantastic funtastic service with LY  UA LH LX A3 Which is why I made a conscious decision not to fly via Asia to EU/Middle East  Do it both ways via USA/Canada/Sth America  on an LX/LH fare Global  earn a bag load of Elite qualifying miles and also redeemable miles and use them to redeem to upgrade to F on LX/LH/UA  Go United!!!! Go MileagePlus!!! and  go Star Alliance   Pity the poor gus who slum it  on Oneworld  even Skyteam has better airlines and a better newtwork!!! BTW Im Skyteam Gold as well   Just a lowly QF and also CX OneWorld Silver who has to fight with QF for the extra baggage allowance entilement    So if u like bagging Star look at your own alliance   btw i have a freind in London who is an acccountant for the company which controls BA/Iberian   they kicked QF out becasue they dont want certain passengers on their aircraft becasue they drink to much,are too unruly   and also offend the local clientele

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 90

Wow, reading your posts cbourl is really difficult, perhaps write it out in an email with spellcheck first and then copy and paste it into the reply field so people can understand you. :)

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

I find it highly unlikely that "they kicked out QF becasue they dont want certain passengers on their aircraft becasue they drink to much,are too unruly   and also offend the local clientele".

Hate to break it to you to you cbourl, but the aprtnership with BA was dissolved because QF decided to enter in a partnership with EK. I think your friends imagination went a bit wild by thinking it was due to rowdy Australian passengers boarding BA planes. You gave me a good laugh with your post, so thanks.

No need to pitty us Oneworld flyers who "slum" it on the alliance, I am happy to inform you that I get excellent treatment and enjoy the service very much.


Anyway, enough said, each to their own and i agree, we moved miles away from the uniform discussion ;)

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

Hmmmm .... how does that old line go? "Methinks cbourl doth protest too much". 

Hahaha!

Horses for courses I say. Although if I was the marketing person for UA I'd be concerned by the advocacy...

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

Kinda brings to mind a major hotel chains PR Manager who was caught bagging out the competition on social networks while talking up his own ....

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

Im out of this   u bag a world class airline and you cant bag QF or Oneworld   not worth my energy to say anymore  And dont flatter urself on the BA/QF split!

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

Why? Are you implying UA is "World Class"?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

Of course its one of the biggest airlines in the world, and if u havent expereiced Global First or PS flights in F or C  U cant comment Ive experienced QF C domestic and long haul  u can stick with ur QF   I ll stick to Star Alliance    BTW Im a totally private pax self funded and have no afffiliations with any corporation    I just get treated well by UA,LX and LH   Flying them alot helps  i like being a LH Senator and a United Premier 1K

04 Jun 2013

Total posts 13

On a more serious note - this thread was initially about UA's new uniform. The first few references were how bland and boring the uniform was. Period. It is your right to disagree, and sure, others may feel the new UA unform "sylish". And that's fine.

It is one thing to defend those you are loyal to.

But to then proceed and viciously attack anything that appears in close view - in this case, other airlines, is, quite frankly, below someone who purports him/herself to be as 'worldly' as you appear to.

This thread was a friendly, competitive banter - until you commenced your crusade against all things non-UA, then citing all the classes you travelled, the people you know, etc. just to back yourself up. That's when it became a slinging match. 

Yes, I know I run the risk of lowering myself to this level, but none of this was meant to be personal. It's just that you 'reap what you sow'.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 110

perio?  wow are u looking aT THE FIRST FEW POSTS THROUGH BLINKERS?  I do travel a lot and i am worldly - and i dont tolerate crap - now whenever i have to sit next to an Australian or near an Australian i feel like puking  The worst dressed people I have ever seen are Australians - even the cashed up bogans and shazzas  - the American heartland is nowhere anything like the Australian general populace - I just love Houston and Texas and seeing the well dressed cowboys who  have actually showered and dont have dental plaque 2km thick  and actually smell good - compare that with ur average RMwilliamsedcashed up country boys who come from generations of landowners who have properties on  stolen Aboriginal land

As for vicious attack - I speak from  extensive personal and recent experience - many of u speak from malice about US carriers,  not necessarily from recent personal experience

Frankly thats it for me - not worth reading this website anymore Ill stick to flyertalk.com where there is a more WORLDLY view and posts are made by experienced travellers - and experience does not mean  solely flying QF/SQ

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 90

Oh I was confused..... I thought this site was Australian Bogun traveller.

Thanks for the clarification cbourl and it would be a pleasure not to have to read your self gratifying posts in future!

QF

15 Apr 2015

Total posts 15

Empty threats... still here in 2017... :)

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on United Airlines' new uniforms: you be the judge...