Real Answers from Real Pilots

Uniform Standards?

As a mentor I’m generally the guy answering questions but for a change I’d like to ask one. Before I do I want to preface by saying I’m not bashing or criticizing I’m honestly just curious?

So the other day I was traveling to NY to visit family and had to 2 leg it through ORD. While waiting for my connection I couldn’t help but notice the majority of RJ pilots were dressed pretty casual (I’m based in HNL where we have no Regionals for comparison). None had hats or blazers and most were wearing fleeces, North Face jackets or even hoodies. Flight cases are gone too due to the use of tablets. If it wasn’t for the fact I was looking and can “smell” my own kind you wouldn’t know they were pilots. Now back in the day I can remember vividly the pride I felt when I first put on my uniform and I still enjoy the smiles and nods I get walking through the terminal and the occasional “ooooooh that’s the pilot” from the young children. Call it ego but it’s an aspect of the job I enjoy and I’m certain I’m not the only one. So my question is why the change? It definitely more prevalent amongst the younger pilots so it’s you I’m asking. Is it rebellion? I quest for individuality? Comfort? Too much bother? Don’t like/need the recognition? Again I’m honestly not bashing just asking? Thoughts?

Adam

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Adam, I think it’s a combination of things. Part of it was rebellion. The regionals in 2004- were a different animal than they are now. There was a lot of “you ignore my contract, I’ll ignore yours” attitude going on. We didn’t have to wear the Blazers unless the Major we contracted with required it. Also, we ordered our shirts from Sporty’s or whoever was cheapest and they never fit right. I don’t know, you wear clothes that don’t fit you long enough and you lose the pride that comes with looking the part.

At my second aviation job we wore tailored uniforms from a prestigious suit maker and it changed everything for me. Now I won’t even buy dress shirts that aren’t cut for me.

I agree that pilots should carry the responsibility of looking the professional part but I was part of the problem for a few years myself.

I tell the students here all the time, it’s all one big interview. When you’re sitting across the table from (insert Major Airline here), how you conducted yourself in your training, career, and personal life matters a lot. It could be you’re old Captain, Instructor, or Crew Cross Country Partner sitting across from you. How do you want to be remembered?

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Zac,

I hear what you’re saying and that existed when I was at the Regionals as well. BUT, things are SO good now so there’s no reason for animosity or revolution. Are you saying it’s a carry-over from those days?

Adam.

No, I don’t think it’s a carry over.

I do think that pilots are more disheveled looking than say 20 years ago but if you go back 20 years before that people dressed more professionally using the same standards.

It could just be the way things are going.

The quality of the Pilot Mustache has been declining too.

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I’d say that’s a positive :slight_smile:

Adam

Just my random input on the matter. I noticed it in CLT, RDU, and LAX last week. However in Australia, as you have probably personally seen, all the pilots, whether Qantas, QantasLink, TigerAir, whomever all wore clean cut uniforms and their bright white hat. The pilots stood out and it looked great. They all were enthusiastic to talk to and to say the least, our American pilots were not so much, less the older generation of guys. In my opinion, I can’t wait to get that uniform and wear it with pride. Why do anything if you don’t have pride in what you’re doing? I especially want to do my best to make my airline look good. I look forward to getting the best fit shirts I can, wearing the blazer, and most of all the hat. And in my opinion, all of us that will make up the next generation should do our part to bring back the level of pride in the career. Just my two cents

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Kamrin,

I agree completely. Most of the foreign carriers make us look rather sad by comparison. Again I’m not picking on the US pilots or even the younger ones. As you said why do anything if you don’t take pride in it? Just trying to understand why they don’t or maybe don’t see it that way?

Adam

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I can’t wait to wear the hat :slight_smile: And I agree. The image in my head when I think of pilots is a with a well kept, clean cut uniform and that is what I plan on displaying. Take pride in wearing the uniform.

I would be more than happy to wear a full pilot uniform with pride, to me it seems that wearing it, ihave accomplished something big, though it i keep my hairstyle i wont be able to wear a hat

And if the airline required hats would you change it?

Adam

I would definitely

You always say pilots love to complain. I agree. But when some of these guys are complaining so much about every little thing that they forget why they got into aviation in the first place, I see a problem. To me, I would do anything to get to fly at anytime, and I have for the past few years (from skipping classes to missing sleep to flying somewhere just to ferry a plane then drive back), and I hope to always be able to do that. Every time I go up I can’t help but to think that it’s so amazing what I’m doing, then I think about how much people 200 years ago would love to be able to do what we do.
In my mind, the issue you state with some pilots stems to the passengers. In the past, flying was considered as an enjoyable experience, and now all the passengers (you guessed it) complain about everything related to flying (too long sitting, not enough space, too exspenive, etc). I feel that this attitude goes from the passengers to the pilots and complacency occurs and the mindset of “ehh who cares” presents itself. If people would just take a second, look out the window, realize the blessings they have to be able to do what they’re doing, then things would start to go back to how they were. In short, enjoy life, don’t dread every little bit of it.

Kamrin,

Good thoughts and perhaps you’re right that it’s a “push-back” against the passengers? But I would argue most of the passengers don’t complain and conduct themselves properly (it’s the ones that don’t that make the news). But I would argue that almost EVERY student pilot who dreams of that first airline job would swear “they’d do anything” and “would be proud”, “compliant” etc. Complacency is definitely part of it but all pilots deal with that threat. This is a very specific manifestation. Regardless of the passenger’s attitude everyone so far agrees that taking pride in ones appearance is important. At Hawaiian hats must be “carried” but don’t have to be worn and blazers are seasonal BUT most of our pilots wear theirs because they want to look like professionals. Trust me (I’ve watched) when you walk up to the gate those passengers are looking at YOU! Personally I want to present a professional appearance. Maybe there are many factors contributing to decline BUT I would also argue if we want to be treated and PAID like professionals perhaps we should look like professionals?

Adam

I agree 100%. I’ve worked at a major resort golf course as a caddie since I was 13, so 9 years, and any slight deviation from standards gets you on probation and the bosses bad side. Our motto at the resort is and has always has been “Ladies and Gentleman serving Ladies and Gentleman.” In 9 years we’ve had 1 issue in total and it was an out of town guy who was just trying to make some easy money. I agree with all of your points and I’d like to add that an upper level management making professionalism a priority and holding themselves to similar standards makes things work a lot smoother as well. I obviously have no experience with the airline industry as an employee at this point so I have no idea how things are there, but I know with us that ir is a big factor in our attitudes and our pride for our work and our course and our hometown. We have one week a year to showcase ourselves to the world with the PGA Tour event we host and we always end up with solid reviews as a working family from all related to the event. From what little I know about you, I can say that I wish more people were like you and carried themselves similarly, as it would make the world a whole lot better place.

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I have been in uniform for the last 15 years! I’m eagerly awaiting to put on that airline pilot uniform and wear it gladly. May even take a mirror selfie of me wearing it!!:joy::joy::airplane:️:airplane:️:airplane:️

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Are you kidding me! I honestly can’t wait to be able to wear a uniform that I have worked all of my life for! The overcoat, the classic hat, epaulettes, metal wings, they all seem like a luxury to me right now. I grew up in a military family and appearance and professionalism was very important to us. I’m currently 22 years old and I still “gawk” at pilots when I’m traveling through an airport in the same manner I did when I was 4 years old. I think wearing a uniform should represent hard work, status, and self-pride. Regardless of social or political status, I feel as though a general standard for uniform wear should be adhered to. :airplane:

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Ok fair enough, BUT 2-3yrs from now when I see one of you with your spiked hair, backwards sunglasses, North Face fleece, and back pack rockin’ out with your Dr Dre Beats on I’m calling you out! :slight_smile:

Adam

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