By Mel Fernandez

AUCKLAND – Amid the raging coronavirus spread around the world most airlines were hastening to ensure flight attendants’ safety by offering basic face masks and gloves as part of their health and safety measures. Hospital-style full protective gear was reserved for those flights that were operating rescue and repatriation, which required more robust health procedures.

While Philippine Airlines isn’t the first to introduce protective gear for cabin crews, they were the first to have a designer collaboration for these uniforms and in the process have taken couture protective gear to a whole new level.

The uniforms were designed by Filipino couturier Edwin Tan, who wanted to incorporate elements of the airline’s branding into the crew’s protective gear.

“The detail is a subtle branding for PAL. We didn’t have time to print or embroider the logo, so we came up with the idea of mimicking or reworking the ‘flag’ logo of PAL,” Tan said.

“We used a non-porous material for the PPE, a material with substantial weight to give it better fall than generic PPE.”

The protective suits have a ‘fit and function’ that allows cabin crew to perform their duties in them. Calf-length gowns and full face shields are part of the uniform designed to offer flight attendants extra peace of mind.

The airline said that it issued staff the new reusable uniforms “along with a special bag that it gets put into after use to take home to wash – with instructions on washing”.

PAL’s designer PPE made its debut on a 10-hour repatriation flight to Auckland in April last year. Other airlines are expected to follow suit and redesign their protective gear to look more chic as this could well be the new norm.