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NWA Flight Attendants Demand Size 28 Red Dress

NWA's new flight attendant dresses, designed by Richard Tyler. Photo via Washington Post.

NWA's new flight attendant dresses, designed by Richard Tyler. Photo via Washington Post.

There has been controversy over weight issues with airline passengers in recent years. But now the issues are coming from within as employees of Northwest Airlines (now owned by Delta) are getting a bit perturbed by the uniform design approved by their employers.

Delta Airlines hired fashion designer Richard Tyler to design their flight attendants’ red dress uniforms. Tyler wanted them to “look sexy.” The problem is, some workers are complaining that they are too small.

The Northwest chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has filed a grievance against Delta. They would like to see the company offer the red dress up to size 28. Currently, the uniform is only offered up to a size 18.

“I think red is an eye-popping color and it’s not subtle, and to me by not offering it in a size over 18, Delta is saying, ‘We don’t want you wearing that if you are over size 18,’” says Reller, who handles grievances for the union’s executive committee. “But the job isn’t about being sexy. It’s about safety.”

Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin responded:

“The majority of pre-merger Northwest flight attendants have given us very positive feedback about the Richard Tyler Collection,” she says. “The sizing of our red dress has not been an issue with Delta flight attendants since the program’s inception three years ago. This is AFA hype leading up to the election.”

When Delta announced plans for new uniforms, they said the decision would boost morale among employees and increase the airline’s bottom line.

What do you think?

(via: Yahoo)

July 16th, 2009

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(Page 1 of 1, 11 total comments)


Hey, Carolina? Yes, it IS discriminatory to hire based on appearance, and people WERE complaining in the sixties! Weight may be an issue in SOME jobs, but just because some of us weren't blessed in the area of attractiveness, and this IS a factor of face shape and the placement of features on your face--heredity, doesn't mean we wouldn't be MUCH better at the job than your bigoted self!

posted Jan 26th, 2012 6:41 pm


Okay first off... there are obvious issues of size when it comes to being a flight attendant and being able to do one's duties. However, what I am more surprised about is that the airline's focus was on the desire for their attendant's to look "sexy". What does being sexy have to do with being able to do one's job as a flight attendant? Like nurses, flight attendants have been placed in categories that are not helpful to their professional roles. People make assumptions based on these stereotypes which can be a sourse of embarrassment to both the consumer and the flight attendant. Now, the airline is doing it to their own employees. I would rather know that they are competent and able to assist in an emergency, or just plain demonstrate courtesy which seems to be more of an issue these days, than whether they are sexy enough.

posted Jul 17th, 2011 8:42 am


Just questioning the 'new' sizes for airline attendents. Back in the sixties (Yes, I'm OLD) I worked for Delta. Weight was a HUGE issue. We had to weigh in monthly, and if we had gained over (I THINK) 5% of our 'starting' weight, we were 'grounded' until we had lost the extra weight. In order to get the job in the first place we had to be basically height/weight optimal. (They went by both the medical height/weight charts combined with appearance.) It's always struck me as odd that these days airlines are not allowed to hire based on appearance. It never seemed to seem strange to anyone back then that airlines wanted hostesses who enhanced their image. Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of miss those days. (I think uniforms back then only came in sizes up to (the old) size 12...(now a size 8, tops) Back then I was a size 7, now a size 0 or 2 at basically the same size, measurements) At any rate, it seems EVERYTHING about air travel has changed. And, not for the better. Nowadays I only fly when I really HAVE to. (Not because of the hostesses of course)

posted Jun 17th, 2011 5:19 pm

Lisa Sciolle

I am 20 lbs. overweight at 140 and I feel squished in some seats. What on earth can a size 28 do in the same seat. I do not believe a heavy person can meet the demands of the job and pass through aisles especially when passengers are very tall and they have to put their legs in
aisles. Airlines are squeezing more seats in planes to their forever shame.

posted Jun 2nd, 2011 9:36 am


As a retired F/A who wore a size 4 uniform her entire career, I am astounded at what I have just read. How can someone needing a size 28, or even an 18, realistically fit through an airplane's window exit, or even walk down its aisle?? How can she react nimbly in ANY emergency if she is that out of shape?

Maybe these F/As should think about downsizing themselves instead of upsizing their uniforms. I can only imagine how comical these lovely red dresses would look in such huge sizes.

posted Jun 2nd, 2011 7:48 am


I'm a flight attendant with another major airline and when I was hired, i had to weigh in. We represented the company and if thats what they wanted to represent them then thats what they want. If that's not liked, then work somewhere else. Flight attendants of size represent in a negative way and physically cannot keep up with some of the demands of the job

posted Jun 1st, 2011 11:19 pm


NWA was a horses*** airline to begin with! Now it's part of Delta! My Father worked for United for 19 yrs in SFO. We moved to MN where he worked until retirement ! He was apalled at the sloppy maintenance and the rotten management among other things! I would never fly on this airline! Give me Southwest anyday!

posted Jun 1st, 2011 4:12 am


Flight attendants uniforms aren't the problem -- the whole flight experience is a disaster. NWA should have more room in the seats and between rows of seats along with better service instead of packing people in like livestock. Red uniforms aren't going to help at all.

posted May 27th, 2011 2:49 am

Carolyn Kros

How would you like thoses SWA minipantd/knee boots FA's helping you off the plane in an emergency like USAir just had?

posted Jun 24th, 2010 11:19 pm


totally agree with the comment above. Size 28 would not be able to fit around people and in those small spaces it is like being a jet pilot, jockey, or race car driver

posted Jul 20th, 2009 9:43 am


Being a member of an airline family for my entire life, if there were a flight attendant that was bigger than a size 18 I would wonder about her ability to do her job. It is a physically demanding job, working in small spaces, sometimes for long periods of time. Being sexy should not be a requirement-being fit and a reasonable weight should.

posted Jul 18th, 2009 5:27 pm


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