From our employees: What more inclusive gender-neutral uniforms and policies mean for bringing our best selves to work 

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine | Story by Ali Garbino, Alaska Airlines

Monique “Mo” wears her Alaska Airlines uniform with immense pride. She ties her tie, buttons her shirt, puts on her pants one leg at a time and steps into her dress shoes. It’s not common to see a female flight attendant wearing a male uniform, but it’s what Mo feels best in.  

This is what it means to care – to ensure everyone can bring their best and most authentic selves to work and to be an inclusive and welcoming environment for employees and guests alike. That’s the journey we’re on, and the future of Alaska Airlines.  

In partnership with our employees, we have updated our uniform guidelines, effective today, to provide more freedom and flexibility in individual and gender expression.  

“I love who I am and refuse to make myself smaller in order to be accepted. This is one thing that I can’t compromise over,” said Monique “Mo,” she/her, Alaska flight attendant based in San Diego. “We all want to look professional, and we all want to be ourselves at the same time—your gender shouldn’t define what you wear or how you look.” 

We are also developing new, gender-neutral uniform pieces for our frontline employees, including flight attendants, customer service agents, and uniformed lounge employees, working with Seattle designer Luly Yang and with input from employees. 

With these changes, fingernail polish, makeup, two earrings per ear, and a single stud nose piercing are expression options available to all employees. We’ve also updated our grooming policies to allow tattoos in more locations, more hair style options and are adjusting the names of our uniform kits to be focused on fit vs. gender identifications. 

“Updating our uniform policy shows people without telling them, what Alaska’s values are,” said Tim, he/him, a flight attendant with Alaska for 17 years. “Showing people who we are is just as important as telling them.” 

Tim C., he/him, flight attendant based in Los Angeles

“Alaska gets it and we’re making the right choices and moving in the right direction,” says David, he/him, lounge concierge. “It’s what I expect from Alaska/Horizon. We do the right thing. It’s part of our culture.” 

David, who works in Alaska’s JFK Lounge and models part-time in New York, says choices like these reaffirm he’s chosen the right career path. 

David, he/him, JFK Lounge

“This is so important not only for the well-being of our employees, but also as a company,” said David. “It allows us to focus on what we can do for each other and what we do for our guests while being the best employees that we can be.”  

This is an important step on a continued journey to be more inclusive, and there’s more work ahead. We will continue to look at our policies, programs and practices to ensure we live our values and create a place where everyone feels they belong. 

“I know firsthand what it feels like not to be seen, heard or able to bring your authentic self to work. When I’ve experienced this, it didn’t feel great and honestly made it hard to come to work every day during those times, or to deliver my best work,” said James Thomas, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Alaska. “Our employees, guests and communities we serve have my commitment we are going to keep listening and pushing ourselves to be better.”

Jason, they/she/he, Alaska flight attendant 

Eager to always live their best life, Jason, an Alaska flight attendant by day and drag star by night, says the best thing a person can do when they don’t understand someone is to treat them with kindness and put themselves in their shoes. 

Jason shared they chose to come out at their senior prom. They slipped on a dress while their mom was out of the house and went to the dance. There, they were called a disgrace and accused of seeking attention. “I didn’t do it to make anyone uncomfortable or to be the first,” Jason said. “I did it for me, and that’s all that matters.” 

Jason says while the uniform changes are very positive, they also appreciate and look forward to the company’s support if faced with adversity among peers or guests who may find it difficult to see them wearing nail polish.  

Me wearing something that makes me happy and expresses my fashion sense should have no bearing on how you treat me as an individual,” Jason said. “We are all human beings and should treat each other with kindness.” 

Nesha, she/her, customer service agent in Portland

“I believe having the ability to have some form of self-identity is amazing,” says Nesha, she/her, customer service agent in Portland. “Allowing tattoos and nose rings as well as gender-neutral pieces is what makes Alaska such a great and inclusive company that everyone loves. By far THE best job I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to see where my future takes me!”

Welcoming personal pronouns 

Work continues to enable our guests to have the option to choose their personal pronouns while booking travel by the end of 2022. In the meantime, we’ve created personal pronoun pins that each employee has the option to wear with their uniform. 

“I answer to all pronouns,” says Isaac, a lead customer service agent in Washington D.C. “I accept he/him/his, she/her/hers, and they/them/theirs. I feel that there has been greater awareness and sensitivity to personal pronouns, and I love that. But I’m also cognizant that changes take time and I want our society to feel comfortable with how they view and communicate with me.” 

Isaac, he/him/his, she/her/hers, and they/them/theirs, lead customer service agent 

Isaac added that this is an exciting time for the company and these policy changes are most meaningful for them because they represent freedom to be who they are. 

I applaud Alaska Air Group for having the courage to move forward with creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace,” said Isaac. “Celebrating uniqueness so that all teammates feel accepted and, in some ways, celebrated, brings me pure joy.”