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Delta workers don Lands’ End uniforms

Kristen Leigh Painter
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Delta Air Lines is debuting new uniforms for 64,000 of its workers on flights and at airports worldwide.

Mary Hitchcock models the new Lands’ End dress.

The Atlanta-based carrier celebrated the launch of its new collection, created by well-known clothing designer Zac Posen, with a traveling fashion show that started in its hometown early Tuesday before making a stop at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Posen incorporated a hue of dark purple, dubbed “passport plum,” into the airline’s new uniform collection, straying from the typical navy blue and red typically worn by employees of major U.S. carriers. It’s a flourish the carrier hopes will help visually set it apart from its competitors as Delta continues its quest of becoming a more global, sophisticated airline.

Lands’ End, the catalog and online apparel retailer, manufactured the uniforms.

The launch comes more nearly two years after the airline unveiled the collection in 2016. Since then, the airline has tested the uniforms on about 1,000 Delta workers performing a variety of jobs. Posen and Lands’ End design teams gathered recommendations from more than 30,000 surveys and made about 170 changes to the original designs.

Delta has not changed the look of its uniforms since 2006 for above-wing employees — which includes flight attendants, ticketing agents and gate agents.

It’s been nearly two decades since the airline last changed the uniforms for its below-wing workers, like maintenance, ramp and baggage handlers, in 2000. About 80 percent of all Delta’s employees will don the new threads.

The airline stressed a “meticulous” process for ensuring its uniforms are of high quality. This launch comes in the wake of American Airlines’ legal and public relations nightmare over its botched rollout of new uniforms for its 51,000 front-line employees two years ago.

Thousands of flight attendants and crew members filed complaints with the airline, alleging the uniforms made them sick. American announced in January it had selected Lands’ End to make it new uniforms.

Delta said Tuesday that it, along with third-party consultants, audited “every factory producing even the smallest elements of the new uniform.”