Bonza airline unveils flight attendant uniforms with groundbreaking non-gendered dress code

Australia's new low-cost airline Bonza is giving its flight attendants the freedom to mix and match uniform items as they please, regardless of gender, in an Australian airline first.

The carrier has debuted a 'wear it your way' range, with non-traditional uniform options including white sneakers, crew-neck T-shirts and tailored shorts.

The uniform policy also does away with conventional grooming requirements.

"We won't dictate what lipstick to wear – or whether you have to wear lipstick at all," said Carly Povey, chief commercial officer at Bonza.

As part of the inclusive policy, the airline additionally won't ask crew to cover up tattoos, or require female staff to wear a skirt.

"If you're non-binary, pregnant, work in the office or onboard, we have options for you," said Povey.

Uniform requirements tend to be strict among most airlines, with some international carriers dictating the appearance of their cabin crews right down to which hairstyles they may have and what shade of make-up they can wear.

According to Povey, the brief was simply to create a uniform its staff could wear with pride.

"Bonza is for the many, not the few, and that's what you'll see with our first uniforms," Povey said.


In place of traditional button-up shirts, shift dresses, pantyhose and high heels, Bonza's "legends" (the name given to its cabin crew) will don clothing that "reflects current trends", according to the designer behind the new uniform range, Total Image Group head designer and CEO Pamela Jabbour.

"My goal was for the uniforms to reflect the excitement and optimism that Bonza brings to Aussie travellers,," Jabbour said.

"Instead of pantyhose, polyester shirts, black high heels and traditional embroidery – we have created a uniform that reflects current trends and that legends will wear with pride."

Speaking to Traveller, Povey said the company felt like airline uniforms weren't evolving with the times, referring to them as "the land that time forgot".

"Bonza is all about bringing positive change to the aviation sector and it was important to create a uniform that reflects today's world," she said.

"It's more than a uniform for us – it's about being truly inclusive and empowering our legends to deliver for our customers whilst wearing a uniform they're proud of.

"We would love to see more organisations, aviation or otherwise, adopt a more inclusive approach when it comes to what their teams wear."

The uniforms have also been designed to reflect Bonza's key destination climates.

"'Wear it your way' [policy] allows our legends to let their personalities shine whilst having options that reflect the many climates on our route map – from tropical North Queensland to the ski fields near Albury," said Povey.

Included in the new uniform range, is a blazer with a purple trim, a loose-fitted purple-striped shirt dress, a tailored purple sleeveless coat, a black sleeveless puffer vest, and cropped pants.

There are also a number of accessories in the range, to let flight attendants customise their look, including custom socks, a Bonza thumbs-up pin, and a purple scarf that can be worn as a hair, neck or pocket accessory.

In another break from tradition, the carrier has also abandoned the obligatory pilot hat, claiming Bonza would prefer to pass any savings onto customers instead.

The budget airline has already had to delay its June launch date by more than two months, as it awaits delivery of three new Boeing 737 MAX 8s.

Bonza now plans to launch in September, with services from the Sunshine Coast to take off first to 12 destinations across the country, followed by Melbourne (eight routes).

The uniform unveiling comes as other airlines face pressure to amend their dress codes.

Qantas recently came under pressure by the Australian Services Union for its gendered uniform rules, which require female staff to wear makeup, high heels and hosiery.

The union post an open letter on Facebook, calling on Qantas' chief executive Alan Joyce to adopt "sensible and low-cost changes for a more inclusive workplace".

Among the uniform amendments proposed is the removal of requirements for female staff to wear makeup and high heels, and to consider ditching heels and hosiery altogether. The national carrier claims its uniform is currently under review.

Earlier this month, Virgin Australia debuted a new cabin crew winter uniform, which includes a sleeveless puffer jacket and hooded bomber jacket. The new uniform items are part of a seasonal collaboration with activewear brand P.E. Nation, but will only be available to staff on board the carrier's Tasmania services.