If this sounds familiar it’s because it has happened before: back in December, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said that some 1,600 American Airlines staff had complained of adverse reactions to their new uniform and called for a total recall by the airline. That number has now surpassed 3,000, according to the APFA.
American Airlines Group, however, counts only about 800 complaints. It has undertaken testing on the uniform’s materials and given affected employees the option to wear their old uniforms or exchange new ones for a replacement made from different materials or issued by a different supplier. However, it has refused the union’s call for a total recall of the uniforms, which were distributed to about 70,000 employees in September 2016.
This time around, the aviators’ symptoms are much the same as those reported by the flight attendants: red, puffy eyes, skin irritation, and a general ill feeling. The apparent outbreak of itching pilots was reported by the Chicago Business Journal Tuesday, despite the uniforms having been issued over six months ago.
“They have to be fit for duty. If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change,” Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association told Bloomberg.