Report after report of flight attendants coming down with mysterious mid-air illnesses have been pouring in over the last month. Some of these sudden, unexplained illnesses caused flights to be grounded or even hazmat teams to be called to the scenes of the quarantined airliners. Some initial investigations claimed that de-icing fluids or some other foreign material in the cabin might be the culprit, but according to San Jose Fire Department Captain Mitch Matlow, conflicting conclusions have been drawn:
At this point, we still don’t know exactly what the material is. We’re getting conflicting reports and because of that we’re not prepared to say it was one thing or another. But we are working to identify it.
While these cases are highly disturbing for flight attendants and other airline professionals, the show must go on, as they say. With millions of people depending on commercial airliners every day, it’s not like flights can stop until a cause is found. However, a new report issued by Bloomberg News has identified a potential source of this mystery: flight attendants’ new uniforms.
According to the report, many American Airlines Group flight attendants are accusing their uniforms of making them sick. The most common symptoms are headaches, vertigo, rashes, and respiratory distress. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has requested that all new uniforms be recalled. However, a $1 million in-house investigation conducted by American Airlines Group Inc. has reportedly found no likely causes in the uniforms themselves.
A similar case occurred in 2013, when a flight attendants’ union launched a lawsuit against Twin Hill, a uniform manufacturer that supplies many airlines and manufactured the new American Airlines uniforms in question. However, that case was rejected in California courts on the grounds that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that the uniforms were causing the illnesses. There’s one likely theory the report fails to address, however: flight attendants are simply allergic to the horrible behavior of passengers. Other people are the worst. Just the worst.