October 2, 2023

Virgin scraps gendered uniform rules – see video

Virgin Atlantic has updated its gender identity policy by scrapping rules relating to gendered uniforms and allowing its cabin crew and front line staff to wear the clothing that “expresses how they identify or present themselves”.

It previously changed its policy to allow crew to go make-up free, wear trousers and flat shoes, and allow visible tattoos.

Other updates announced today include the introduction of optional pronoun badges and mandatory inclusivity training for staff and training in destination with tourism and hotel partners.

Virgin has also updated its ticketing systems, enabling passengers holding passports with gender neutral gender markers to select ‘U’ or ‘X’ gender codes on their booking as well as the gender-neutral title, ‘Mx’.

Currently citizens from a small number of countries, including the US, India and Pakistan, are able to hold these passports and travellers must travel on the codes that match their passport.

In lieu of passports with gender-neutral gender markers being available for all, Virgin Atlantic is implementing a longer-term plan to amend communication preferences to ensure customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns across all touchpoints.

The airline said the changes come after research found that allowing staff to embrace their individuality at work increases mental wellbeing (49%), feelings of happiness (65%) and creates a better experience for staff and customers (24%).

The airline’s initiatives also include an update of its existing trans inclusion policies, which already allows time off for medical treatments related to gender transition, personal choice of changing and shower facilities that align with the gender a person identifies as and co-creation of a personalised transitioning plan.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are. That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”