A budget airline in Ukraine has decided to ditch uniforms involving skirts and high heels in favour of trousers and more comfortable trainers.
Anyone who’s ever worn heels will know that the time between putting them on and starting to feel an uncomfortable pain in your feet is tragically short, so naturally they’re not the most ideal shoe to wear while having to spend a lot of time on your feet.
Unfortunately, heels are part of the uniform for some workers, leaving employees having to try and come up with solutions for aching feet, but SkyUp Airlines has decided to make its staff more comfortable after getting feedback from the workers.
A survey of employees revealed the female staff were tired of having to wear high heels, tight blouses and pencil skirts, with flight attendant Daria Solomennaya explaining many of her co-workers are ‘permanent clients of podologists’, with their ‘toes and toe-nails… constantly damaged by high heels’.
SkyUp Airlines, one of Ukraine’s biggest low-cost airlines, is not the first European airline to do away with uncomfortable or strict dress codes, though Ukrainians view the changes as a sign of progress from old traditions, BBC News reports.
Instead of high heels, orange skirts and tight blouses, flight attendants working on the airline will be dressed in trainers, loose orange jackets and trousers.
Discussing her joy at the change of uniform, Solomennaya explained, ‘Twelve hours on your feet, flying from Kyiv to Zanzibar and back. If you wear high heels, you are hardly able to walk afterwards. That includes four hours of security checks and cleaning.’
Learn more about the uniform changes below:
Marianna Grygorash, head of marketing at SkyUp, stressed that a flight attendant’s work is ‘not that romantic’, but rather ‘hard’.
She continued, ‘We realised that our female flight attendants didn’t want to be seen as ‘sexualised and playful’.’
Ukraine International Airlines, which has a big share of the airline market, does not appear to be so keen to give up on tradition, saying in response to SkyUp’s announcement that its flight attendants ‘have enough time for breaks’ and that ‘their heels aren’t that high at all: they’re rather token’.
Solomennaya has pointed out that the issues with heels and pencil skirts go beyond that of comfort, presenting a situation in which an aircraft made an emergency landing and attendants were tasked with opening an exit door over a wing. Wth passengers lining in the aisles, staff would be forced to clamber over seats, with Solomennaya commenting, ‘Imagine how I could do that in a pencil skirt.’
As for giving safety demonstrations, the flight attendant said, ‘You put a life vest, a mask and a belt on the ground, as all the seats are occupied by passengers. You bow down carefully in your tight skirt to pick up one item after another. Suddenly it’s as if you’re on a stage and your blouse has leapt up above your skirt.’
SkyUp’s decision comes after similar moves by other big airlines, with Virgin Atlantic scrapping mandatory make-up, Japan Airlines getting rid of obligatory high heels and giving their employees the option of trousers instead of pencil skirts, and Norwegian Air allowing flat shoes and dropping the requirement for women to have mandatory cosmetics on board.