new Delta Airlines employee uniforms are displayed
in the front of a fitting event held at the
Airport Marriott on March 12, 2018. The new
uniforms, created by designer Zac Posen, took
three years to create.
know when you go up in a plane and you just bloat in the
air?" Ekrem Dimbiloglu asked me the other morning.
"Your neck and your feet?"
Delta Air Lines’ director of uniforms, Dimbiloglu has
seen what 30,000 feet can do to a person. (The official
term is "jet belly.")
when Delta hired fashion designer Zac Posen to create
new uniforms for its 22,500 flight attendants, he was
sure to include an elastic tab in the collar of the
dress shirts. Necks could expand all they wanted.
little detail is one of many that Posen worked into the
new uniforms, for which Delta’s 3,300 Seattle-based
employees started fittings recently in a ballroom at the
I had to see, for it hasn’t been very fashionable up
there in the air for a very long time. If passengers
aren’t trying to pass hamsters and peacocks off as
service animals, they’re dressing like they’re
headed to Pilates or back to bed, carrying pillows and
stuffed-animal backpacks and grease-stained bags of
Delta employees are looking this good, it might just
inspire passengers to pull up their proverbial pants.
Delta hasn’t had new uniforms in a decade, the company
made the day’s event a party, complete with private
dressing tents and a runway down the center, if
employees were so inclined to walk it.
deeper than a uniform," said Chad Holmes, an
aircraft load agent based in Salt Lake City who
participated in the design process. "It’s
something that you feel proud to wear, and if you have
an employee that feels good, it’s going to transfer to
the customer service."
are fighting words here in the home of Alaska Airlines,
which just last month debuted new uniforms designed by
Seattle-based designer Luly Yang. She went undercover
for six months, quizzing employees about their uniforms,
saying only that she was working on a research project.
too, traveled to get a sense of what Delta employees
needed and then engaged 1,000 flight attendants, gate
agents, and cargo, ground and ramp employees in a
three-month wear test.
suggestions resulted in 65 changes: Everything from the
rise in the men’s pants to the shade of blue, which
was made 20 percent darker to hide dirt and stains.
pen-pocket in the male flight-attendant suit was
deepened a half-inch. There are "sweat
shields" sewn under the arms of all the blazers.
radio clip on the female ground employee’s shirt was
moved from the chest area to the shoulder. Ground crew
shirts are made of Dri-Fit material with reflective
panels built in, eliminating the need for safety vests.
the fabrics have four-way stretch for better mobility,
and all over is the Delta widget, placed everywhere from
the snap on the pants to the top of the ground employees’
gloves to the reflective material on the half-zip
not there for the customer," Dimbiloglu said.
"We want the employees to feel great and prideful
about working for Delta."
uniforms debut on May 29 — the day after Memorial Day,
and just in time for the summer travel rush.
flight attendant Lawrence Knapp has been with Delta
since it merged with Western Airlines in 1987. He loves
the darts in the new vest and the fact that the backing
isn’t silk anymore: "It used to get all pilled
the next fitting area, Rebecca Stratton — who works in
safety and compliance on the ramp — did a little dance
in her new shorts.
she first started with the airline six years ago,
"I guessed what size I would wear and crossed my
only does her new uniform fit, "These shorts are so
soft, I haven’t even washed them yet and I feel like
they’re flexible and breathable."
people don’t understand what the job entails, she
a lot of different movements," she said. "One
minute you’re lifting bags, next you’re climbing a
ladder and after that you’re under an aircraft. It’s
a lot of physical work.
important to be comfortable in what you do. If you’re
not, you’re going to be stiff and it’s going to
Holmes: "We have pretty frazzled jobs. Now we’ll
feel more put together."
hopefully, a little less bloated.