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Virgin Atlantic introduces new gender-neutral uniform policy

Sept. 29, 2022
4 min read
Virgin Atlantic flight crew
Virgin Atlantic introduces new gender-neutral uniform policy
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Virgin Atlantic has adopted a gender-blind uniform policy for front-line staff that the airline says will reflect the diversity of its workforce in a bid to “cement its position as the most inclusive airline in the skies."

The move means pilots, cabin crew and ground staff can now choose whichever of its uniforms they feel most comfortable in, whether it’s a red skirt suit or burgundy jacket and pants.

The airline released an ad campaign to announce the news that is fronted by former pop star Michelle Visage and features a group of models dancing on a runway in uniform, all under the tagline, “Your uniform, your identity, your choice.”

Virgin Atlantic is not the first airline to embrace gender diversity among its workforce. In March, Alaska Airlines updated its dress code guidelines to allow employees to wear whatever uniform style, nail polish or make-up that they feel reflects their true identity.

It is unclear if other British airlines will follow suit. TPG has reached out to British Airways, Ryanair, EasyJet, TUI, Jet2 and Aer Lingus for their positions on the subject. At the time of publication, only EasyJet had responded.

“Our uniform guidelines already support our crew to wear whichever uniform they feel reflects their own gender identity/expression and we are continually reviewing, updating our guidelines and support, internally, ensuring we are creating an inclusive place to work, for everyone," an EasyJet spokesperson said.

Virgin said the move was designed to encourage its staff members to express themselves freely, “no matter their gender, gender identity or gender expression."

The airline's iconic outfits are designed by fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.

“It’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work," said Juha Järvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer. "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.”

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Related: Big news: Virgin Atlantic is joining SkyTeam alliance

Visage, who rose to fame as a pop star in the late 90s but is better known today for her role as outspoken judge on the hit reality TV show Ru Paul’s Drag Race, added: “People feel empowered when they are wearing what best represents them, and this gender identity policy allows people to embrace who they are.”

The policy shift is part of a wider attempt by the airline to embrace diversity and self-expression, as well as promote its business as a safe space for all customers.

ROBERTO MOIOLA/GETTY IMAGES

“This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns,” the airline said. “The badges will be available to teams and customers from today and customers simply need to ask for their preferred badge at the check in desk or in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.”

Related: Doors, wireless charging and 4K video: A first look at Air France’s new Boeing 777 business class

Virgin Atlantic has also updated its ticketing systems to allow for those who hold passports with gender-neutral markers to select “U” or “X” gender codes on their booking as well as the gender-neutral title “Mx.” Currently only a handful of countries in the world allow such passports, including the U.S., India and Pakistan.

The carrier said mandatory inclusivity training will also be rolled out for staff at all levels across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic vacations.

Alongside that, Virgin will launch a series of inclusivity learning initiatives for tourism partners and hotels in destinations such as the Caribbean “to ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.”

The announcement comes a day after Virgin Atlantic announced its new partnership with Sky Team Alliance, becoming the only U.K.-based airline member and the first new SkyTeam member in eight years.

Featured image by VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023