Fit for the runway: We begin testing new uniforms
Last year we announced new partnerships with Tracy Reese, Brooks Brothers and Carhartt — best-in-class fashion and apparel designers — to help reimagine uniforms for more than 70,000 of our employees. Focusing on high quality fabrics, improved breathability and overall enhanced fit, our goal is to design and develop a more cohesive collection that looks good, feels good and enables employees to perform at their best on behalf of our customers.
"I'm excited for United employees and customers to see the designs we've been hard at work on, and for employees to begin to wear-test these new looks to test their fit and function. I've traveled the world with United to meet with thousands of employees to better understand their job duties and hear first-hand what is needed in a uniform so that these women look and feel good, but most importantly – perform at their best," said Designer, Tracy Reese.
We're now ready to share images of uniform designs we will test at multiple times over the coming year.
Our employees and unions were an integral part in every step of the new uniform creation. This included input from our employee design committees as well as 17,000 survey responses, 35 in-person focus groups, 25 observations at 25 airports around the world.
"From inception of its new uniforms for above the wing and below the wing groups, the IAM has worked in partnership with United to help create uniforms that employees find comfortable, functional and stylish. United's commitment to be inclusive and reflective of its entire workforce is evident in the thoughtful choices of the exceptional designers and manufacturers — Tracy Reese, Brooks Brothers and Carhartt, " said Maria Tusa, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 141 Vice President East.
"My involvement with the uniform program has been very productive and eye opening. Being asked to represent our coworkers and having the Company ask, 'OK what are you looking for in a new uniform?' is very refreshing. All of our suggestions have been written down and given the attention they are due. It is amazing how many steps are involved in putting together a new uniform. A uniform that is not only functional and comfortable but stylish and will reflect the image of United. It has been wonderful working with employees from across the system and putting our thoughts and ideas into action. The brands that we are partnered with are absolutely unbelievable. The designs from both brands are well equipped to launch us into the future of United Airlines. They are poised to give instant recognition to our customers the minute they see our new uniforms," said Danny Lopez, Dulles Customer Service Representative.
Our new uniform design will have a base color, Rhapsody Blue, to ensure all of our work groups look like one team while pops of color inspired by our new color palette will accentuate each design and easily differentiate each work group for our customers. From new patterns to colored inseams and kick pleats, our new uniforms will be uniquely United.
"These designs represent months of collaboration with United's front-line employees to develop a uniforms program that the United team will be proud to wear. Uniforms are such a critical part of employees' work lives, so no stone was unturned as we created these designs with enthusiastic employee input. This includes high quality fabric, improved breathability, enhanced fit and pops of color. We will continue to refine these garments based on feedback following the upcoming wear test," said Brian Lane, Brooks Brothers Designer.
More than 1,300 pilots, flight attendants and customer service representatives will soon begin wear testing pieces, which will focus on the fit and function of each garment and will not include the new color palette, to ensure the proposed uniforms meet the needs of day-to-day duties. These images are not a full representation of the final uniform program – we'll continue to refine designs based on employee feedback.
Read more of what our employees and Union leaders are saying about the new uniforms below:
United employees can learn more on the uniform designs by visiting Flying Together.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Connecting products and mail to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.