A Ukranian budget airline is allowing female cabin crew to swap their skirts and heels for comfy trouser suits and smart white trainers.
SkyUp, one of the country’s biggest low-cost airlines, announced that the new-look comfort option would be offered to female inflight staff from next month.
“Many of my colleagues are permanent clients of podologists; their toes and toe-nails are constantly damaged by high heels,” SkyUp staff member Daria Solomennaya told the BBC.
“Twelve hours on your feet, flying from Kyiv to Zanzibar and back. If you wear high heels, you are hardly able to walk afterwards,” she added.
SkyUp is not the only airline to offer a more modern, comfy uniform for female crew - in April 2020, Japan Airlines introduced a trousers option for women working onboard, as well as a range of footwear options including flat shoes.
In 2014, Virgin Atlantic allowed trousers for female flight attendants, and in 2019 began supplying them as standard to all staff - as well as changing the rules so female staff do not have to wear make-up.
“Times have changed, women have changed, so in contrast to the conservative classics, heels, red lipstick and a bun, a new, more modern and comfortable image of a ‘champion’ has appeared,” said a SkyUp executive after the designs were unveiled this summer.
“Freedom, natural beauty, individuality, no patterns and sneakers in which everyone would like to fly.”
Many female cabin crew members have reported damage to their feet, problems with varicose veins and flagged safety concerns about helping passengers evacuate while wearing skirts and heels - a uniform that is still required by most airlines across the world.
“I adore free-cut suits and I enjoy wearing them in my daily life. So when I learned that we would have the same costumes at work, I was really happy about it. After all, it has a stylish, comfortable fit, and bright look,” SkyUp flight attendant Maryna Zaburanna told EuroNews.
“On average, we spend six to 12 hours a day on board, so a comfortable uniform for us is an extremely important element of work. Shoes, even with heels, are, of course, beautiful, but it is not comfortable to stay in such shoes for a long time.”