The coronavirus has affected just about every business imaginable—but none as affected as the air travel industry. Coming to a near standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak and other related factors (i.e. the duration of community quarantines, relevant travel bans, and restrictions imposed by various governments), flights have so far been limited to repatriation flights. While leisure travel is put on hold indefinitely, many airline personnel have remained hard at work as frontliners to bring Filipinos back home safely to their families.
Airlines across the globe are drastically changing their health and sanitation procedures. Apart from requiring all passengers to wear masks throughout the flight, cabin crews have also been required to don personal protective equipment (PPEs) not only to make fliers feel safe but also keep themselves out of harm’s way.
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A quick Google search of the evolution of airline uniforms will reveal a detailed history of beautifully designed outfits that show off the kind of service one could expect from their airline of choice. While collaborations between airlines and fashion designers isn’t new news, in-flight fashion in the time of a pandemic will definitely go down in history as one of the travel industry’s more memorable milestones. Among these collabs are even led by some of our own local designers taking on the task for a cause.
While the typical intention of a regular airline uniform is style and practicality, a pandemic will dictate otherwise—as seen in the following examples, all requiring a shift towards safety.
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Edwin Tan and Philippine Airlines
With a background in the field of medicine, Tan’s PPEs are unlike your usual hospital gear. Apart from incorporating the usual requirements of protective gear, the piece is notable of the designer’s flair for style even in the subtlest forms. It features adjusted proportions for added comfort as well as a cinched waist to give it more of a form. It is finished off with a striking shoulder accent designed in the colors of the Philippine flag.
Originally making its debut in an all-white fabric, newer photos of the PAL cabin crew show a version done as a jumpsuit in complementing shades of blue, still with the colors of the flag on the shoulder.
AirAsia and Puey Quiñones
Similar to Tan’s approach to corona fashion and protective apparel, Quiñones’ customized PPEs are designed not only to keep both guests and crew safe, but also to ensure comfort for the cabin crew who need to remain mobile throughout the flight.
Done in AirAsia’s striking red color and prominently showcasing the airline’s logo, the red hot PPE is made of a breathable and sturdy material that's DOH-approved. Incorporating his own style, the suit was designed to have a sporty spin to it, similar to what F1 race car drivers wear.
The uniforms are in stark contrast to the traditional cabin crew uniforms and will only be worn on rescue flights, said CEO Tony Fernandes.
[related: In Focus: How Mich Dulce's PPE Designs Are Saving Lives Across The World]
While both PAL and AirAsia have been making headlines for equipping their cabin crew with the most extra PPEs we’ve seen so far, other airlines have also latched on the PPE trend. Stepping up its precautionary measures Emirates has provided all its ground and in-flight crew with disposable protective gear to be worn over their existing uniforms. They are also required to wear a safety visor, in addition to masks and gloves.
To ensure the safety of passengers on repatriation flights, Thai Airways has also provided its cabin crew with protective equipment to be worn on top of their uniforms. The new PPE-uniforms also require the use of visors, hair nets, masks, and gloves.
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Banner image taken from Puey Quiñones' Instagram