• United Airlines is equipping its below-wing employees with Carhartt custom designed uniforms.
  • Around 28,000 behind the scenes employees who work on the ramp or directly service the aircraft will receive the uniforms.
  • The airline already dresses its customer-facing employees in uniforms designed by Brooks Brothers and Tracy Reese.
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Airlines frequently team up with designer brands to dress their frontline employees such as pilots, flight attendants, and airport staff in eye-catching uniforms, but those worn by below-wing employees often don’t get the same attention.

United Airlines recently debuted the newest uniforms for workers in its technical operations, ramp service, and catering operations departments, custom-designed by Carhartt Company Gear.

Workers in those departments perform functions such as loading and unloading baggage, fixing mechanical issues with the aircraft, and providing catering items for the aircraft.

Carhartt joins Brooks Brothers and Tracy Reese as designers for United’s employees. The Michigan-based company is known for its workwear and has worked with other airlines including Alaska Airlines for apparel in its 131-year history.

Around 28,000 United employees will receive the new uniforms.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

United's below-wing employees work to service aircraft at all of United's mainline destinations and hub cities. Their jobs are usually obscured from the flying public, unlike frontline employees who frequently interact with customers.

The uniforms took over three years to design with around 1,000 employees contributing to the process.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

Focus groups and wear tests were undertaken to maximize the usage and functionality of each uniform item. Testing was a global affair with both US-based and international employees participating.

"This highly inclusive design process reflects how highly we value the input of our employees and union leadership," Kate Gebo, United's EVP of human resources, said in a statement. "Every day all over the globe our employees on the ground are facing the coldest colds and the hottest hots.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

United serves cities across the country with hubs in colder locales such as Denver and Chicago, as well as warmer spots such as Los Angeles and Houston. The airline also has a large presence in tropical Oceania with stations in Hawaii and a hub in Guam.

Over 50 different uniform items were created to make a wide variety of job functions easier for those working behind the scenes.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

Below-wing workers often perform job functions that require extra tools, such as light wands to guide aircraft or radios to communicate with other workers. Carhartt designed the uniforms in order to accommodate such items.

A women's collection was also created to ensure both genders benefit from the uniforms.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

Special care was taken by Carhartt to ensure that female uniforms had the "proper fit and function," according to a press release issued by United.

United's below-wing employees account for just over a quarter of its total workforce of greater than 75,000 employees.

Foto: sourceUnited Airlines

Below-wing employees are mostly out in the elements, working in the sunshine and in the snow. Though they aren't always visible to the public, these employees ensure that the planes get to where they need to go.