Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a new policy which removes the requirement for staff to wear gendered clothing.
The British airline will now allow crew, pilots, and ground teams to wear either red or burgundy depending on their gender identity – removing the previous need for men to wear burgundy and women, red.
In a move to support its LGBTQ staff and customers, Virgin made the announcement as part of an ongoing ‘Be Yourself; campaign which has included optional pronoun badges – including for customers.
Previous changes in 2019 included offering cabin crew the choice to wear make-up, trousers and flat shoes, while more recent tweaks include allowing visible tattoos for crew members.
Those travelling with the airline can also updated its ticketing system to allow gender-neutral options, such as U, X and Mx. Other initiatives include an update to its trans inclusion policy, allowing time off for medical treatments related to transitioning.
Virgin will also roll out compulsory inclusivity training, in addition initiatives for tourism partners in places such as the Caribbean, to ensure the policy works “despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality”.
The change to the iconic Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms comes after research for the airline showed that allowing employees to express themselves at work made them 65 per cent happier.
It also hugely increased mental wellbeing, and gave a 25 per cent better experience for customers.
Commenting on the change, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said “we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are. That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work.”
“It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”
The new policy was showcased by Virgin staff members Michelle Visage, Tanya Compas, Talulah-Eve and Tyreece Nye, through a video.