In days gone by, cabin crew and passengers alike would have been expected to deck themselves out in suit, shirt, and tie for the blokes or dresses, tights and – most importantly – heels for the ladies. But oh, how times change: this week, a LinkedIn post alerted the world to a new policy adopted by an Indian airline that puts comfort and sustainability first.
In the early days of air travel, its exclusivity bred glamour. Rarely would you see travellers climbing aboard the early passenger jets decked out in anything but a suit or dinner dress befitting of the occasion.
Thankfully, times change. And with them, so do airline policies. This week, Akasa Air, the low-cost Indian airline backed by the late stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, was revealed to be shaking things up by prioritising comfort over fashion in their cabin crew uniform.
Instead of the typical high heels, Akasa Air has introduced sneakers as part of their uniform, making them the first Indian airline to do so. The move has been welcomed by many passengers, who appreciate the airline’s commitment to their employees’ well-being. Even if we can think of one man who might feel otherwise…
One LinkedIn user, Diksha Mishra, recently shared a photo of an Akasa Air cabin crew member in their new “comfortable attire”, and the post has received a lot of positive feedback. In response to Diksha’s post, the airline thanked her for the post and reiterated their commitment to comfort as one of their core values.
Akasa Air’s focus on comfort goes beyond sneakers. The airline has also introduced custom trousers and jackets made from recycled polyester fabric that has been salvaged from marine waste, making them the first Indian airline to actively prioritise sustainability in their uniform too. The airline claims that this demonstrates its commitment to creating a better world.
As one commenter on Diksha’s post pointed out, this policy is “a great example of good leadership. A company that makes their employees comfortable can ensure that they will make their customers comfortable.”
This is an important message that other airlines should take note of, particularly those that allow laissez-faire seat theft to run wild, causing customers endless anxiety. Happy employees lead to happy customers, and Akasa Air’s focus on comfort could set them apart in a highly competitive industry.
It’s refreshing to see an airline prioritise the well-being of their employees, especially when so many airlines still adhere to outdated dress codes for crew and passengers alike, while others face ridicule any boycott when trying to make theirs more progressive. Akasa Air’s decision to break away from the norm is a welcome change.
Though it may ruffle a few feathers along the way, progressive uniform policy is an important part of a much wider programme of change that airlines will have to undergo in coming decades to make a much-besmirched industry sustainable and accessible in equal measure.