A budget airline in Ukraine has decided to overhaul its uniform policy by swapping high heels for comfortable trainers, having also allowed flight attendants to ditch the tight pencil skirts for trousers.
Founded in 2016 and in operation since 2018, SkyUp Airlines may be a relative newcomer on the travel scene, but is already one of the biggest airlines in Ukraine.
It has now also proven to be one of the most forward-thinking, having decided to replace old uniforms with attire featuring 'soft tailoring aesthetics' from next month.
According to a press release, this includes Nike Air Max 720 trainers, which boast an air cushion along the length of the sole, giving them 'incredible cushioning and resilience for maximum comfort all day long'.
SkyUp interviewed to its crew members and found out that many female employees weren't happy wearing high heeled shoes, tight blouses and pencil skirts.
Olga Tsaregradskaya, curator of the new uniform project, said in a statement: "The study and interviews with flight attendants became the starting point for working on a new image - a modern girl with an active life position - a champion who works for team result and shows respect for herself and her health.
"So we decided to replace the shoes with sneakers."
Speaking to the BBC, 27-year-old flight attendant Daria Solomennaya said the problems many flight attendants have with heels and pencil skirts aren't exactly hard to understand - especially as they might have to rush to open an exit door over a wing for an emergency landing on water, or climb over seats as passengers formed a queue in the aisle.
She said: "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."
She explained that the issue wasn't just a matter of comfort, either, adding: "Many of my colleagues are permanent clients of podologists; their toes and toe-nails are constantly damaged by high heels."
Marianna Grygorash, SkyUp's Head of Marketing, also agreed that cabin crew have a physically demanding job.
She told the outlet: "A flight attendant's work is not that romantic. It's hard.
"We realised that our female flight attendants didn't want to be seen as 'sexualised and playful'."
Of course, SkyUp isn't the first airline to make such changes, with Virgin Atlantic now allowing flight attendants not to wear make up, and Japan Airlines scrapping obligatory high heels and letting employees wear trousers instead of pencil skirts.
Norwegian Air, meanwhile, no longer makes women have mandatory cosmetics on board and also allows flat shoes.
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