Thousands of flight attendants have claimed their American Airlines uniforms are causing allergies. Beth Henry and other flight attendants think the airline hasn’t done enough to protect them, explaining that whenever she gets on the plane hereyes sometimes itch and her throat begins to swell. “The only thing that will make us safe is if there is a total recall,” she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“Last year the airline introduced a gray, wool uniform for its flight attendants that departed from its traditional navy blue. It quickly led to hundreds of complaints from flight attendants about hives, migraine headaches and other symptoms of allergic reactions,” explains Cosmopolitan.
The Fort Worth-based airline recently offered a replacement uniform made by a different manufacturer. Airline spokesman Ron DeFeo told the newspaper that more than 4,600 employees have already ordered that new uniform in the last week.
But Henry, a 17-year veteran of American, and other flight attendants are still worried. More than 3,000 people complained to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
“It was like overnight, I turned into an old lady and I could not get better,” said Cathleen Rusk del Rio, a San Francisco-based flight attendant who suffered skin reactions and bronchitis. Another attendant, Kimberly Terpening of New York, said she hasn’t returned to work since having an allergic reaction last fall. “I don’t want to be part of a company that is not taking responsibility for its actions and is putting people in danger,” she said.
The airline and the maker of the uniform in question, Twin Hill, says the uniforms have been tested for chemicals or any problems with production. “All the scientific evidence we have available to us tells us these uniforms are safe for wear,” the company said in a statement.
And American CEO Doug Parker told the crowd at an employee meeting earlier this year that a mass recall of uniforms also posed an issue. “We have 75,000 people who like this uniform,” Parker said. “So that’s not the answer. We know that. But also the answer can’t just be deal with it. This is a real issue for a large number of flight attendants. We will keep working through it.”