Almost six months after American Airlines flight attendants started complaining that their new uniforms were giving them hives, headaches, and rashes, the carrier’s CEO is admitting that it’s a major problem, while insisting that American won’t issue the recall of the clothing that employees have asked for.
CEO Doug Parker admitted during a town hall meeting with the crew last week that the uniform situation is “as difficult an issue as we’ve ever had to deal with,” reports the Chicago Business Journal, citing a two-minute video of the chat that it obtained.
Parker’s main role at the meeting was to put the kibosh on the idea of a total recall of the allegedly itchy uniforms, contrary to the demands of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
“That can’t be the answer,” he said of a recall, noting that it could take years to get a whole new line of uniforms ready.
Although most of the complaints of adverse reactions to the uniforms have come from flight attendants, sources tell CBJ that pilots and customer service agents, as well as others, have reported problems.
Parker suggested at the meeting however, that most complaints have been from flight attendants. He reiterated the company’s temporary solution — offering flight attendants and others the option to wear cotton and synthetic uniform options — while admitting that some workers have continued to report issues with those as well.
“So we’ve got to figure out how to address it,” Parker said, adding that the airline is trying to work with APFA on ideas, without offering anything more specific plans to attack the problem. “We’ll keep working through it.”