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United Airlines

United FAs Claim Slater’s Grooming Email a Ruse

United FAs Claim Slater’s Grooming Email a Ruse
Jackie Reddy

Cabin crew members were recently criticized for slipping standards of personal appearance in two separate emails from John Slater, the carrier’s vice president for in-flight operations. However, unnamed sources told Inc. that Slater’s email is a ruse to distract from uproar over new uniforms.

Last week, United Airlines‘ cabin crew members were asked by John Slater, the carrier’s vice president for in-flight operations, to be more mindful of their personal appearance. In two separate emails, Slater reminded staff to be more vigilant of details such as dirty or wrinkled shirts as well as worn footwear and skirts that don’t quite adhere to regulation style.

“Perhaps because of the distractions of our industry or the merger of our airlines, over time, we became too relaxed in compliance with established standards. We lost our focus on the value uniform standards have on our customers’ perception of our company,” Slater wrote in his second email, as reproduced at Business Insider.

However, unnamed sources have told Inc. that Slater’s two emails seem to be something of a ruse. The outlet reports that photos of new potential crew uniforms had been shared via the United Facebook Galley Gab page and that employees’ reaction to these new outfits has been less than positive.

An unnamed United member of crew told Inc.’s Chris Matyszczyk, “Flight attendants were going crazy. The samples really looked awful. They were not finalized versions of the new uniforms, but we were all up in arms. Colors were terrible and so were the actual uniform pieces.”

“People were so upset they were emailing Oscar [Oscar Muñoz, United’s CEO] to express their disappointment,” the source added.

Commenting on the timing of Slater’s email, another unnamed source told Matyszczyk, “This sudden interest in uniform appearance is really just a clever way to redirect the narrative from the Flight Attendant uproar about the uniform designs. You know,’Sorry you hated what you weren’t supposed to see but let’s talk about the way you wear the current uniform right now.’”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (4)


  1. FlyingNone

    May 21, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Does United get it – that dumbing down and buying the cheapest uniforms from CINTAS is the reason ALL of their employees look so bad and absolutely hate the uniforms ????? Cintas also supplies waitstaff, gas station attendants and janitors – need more be said ?

  2. Gilthoniel4

    May 22, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Conspiracy theories! Regardless of the timing of the two events, (message from the executive and release of potential uniform changes to staff), the likelihood that the message from Slater was an effort to distract the FAs is pretty high on the paranoia scale. To me, the fact that some FAs reacted in this way highlights a much bigger issue – lack of trust between staff and management. If the FAs trusted their management they wouldn’t jump to conspiracy theories to explain management’s behavior.

    I hope that United management can earn back the trust of those who have become disaffected.

  3. UASleeper

    May 23, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I thought United’s FAs are getting new uniforms designed by Brooks Brothers?


    May 23, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Airlines have a history of throwing distractions, in the form of non-essential memos, from time to time. Not just about uniforms, but also the “code of ethics/
    conduct” and other things. No surprise that it is a reflex for employees to think “conspiracy” or “paranoia” whenever this happens.

    Supposedly, the FA’s are getting Brooks Brothers clothing……..and the ramp/mechanics are getting Carhart clothing.

    It is true that Cintas makes really chintzy stuff. But they at least don’t have the allergy problems that American had with their uniform supplier.

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