Sharply Dressed: Family business outfits airline pilots

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Maria-Jose Subiria Arauz


It was a rainy afternoon and Abbott Airline Uniforms, in Atlanta, was

experiencing a slow business day.

Virginia Harris, a seamstress there, managed to keep busy on a sewing machine, adding stripes to a pilot's uniform.

"I love sewing," said Harris.

Harris said that since 1997, she has worked for Abbott Airline

Uniforms, located in the Atlanta Air Center, at 3401 Norman Berry

Drive, Suite 144, Atlanta. Throughout her employment there, she said

she's developed positive professional relationships with customers,

who are mostly pilots.

"If I don't know your name, I know your face," said the sociable


She said most of the uniforms she works on are for pilots of AirTran

Airways, Delta Air Lines and Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA).

Matt Miller, manager of Abbott Airline Uniforms, said he is

responsible for overseeing operations at the facility, which include

customer service, documentation and uniform measurements. He said he has worked for the company since August 2009.

Miller said he finds his job exciting, because he meets pilots from

different parts of the U.S. every day.

"Ms. Virginia [Harris] never keeps it boring either," he said with a


According to William Warren, III, president of Abbott Military

Tailors, Inc., Abbott Airline Uniforms is an expanded service of the

military tailoring company, and serves as a vendor for various

airlines, including Delta Air Lines, ASA, AirTran Airways and World


According to Warren, the business is approximately 10 minutes away

from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and is open

Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m., to 5:30 p.m.

He said that Delta Air Lines has three different uniform vendors, and

Abbott Airline Uniforms is one of them. For World Airways, Abbott

Airline Uniforms is the sole provider of pilot uniforms, Warren


When pilots pick up their uniforms they typically receive numerous

pieces, including a coat, three trousers, a cap and between three and

six shirts, explained Warren.

"Everything that pertains to what a pilot would wear," he said.

He said the individual pilot is responsible for purchasing the

uniform, which could cost a little over $500.

Abbott Airline Uniforms also serves pilots that fly corporate jets,

he said. Pilots who work for corporations such as Wal-Mart and The

Coca-Cola Company get their uniforms from Abbott Airline Uniforms,

Warren explained.

He said for the first 50 years of Abbott Military Tailors' existence,

the company focused on military uniforms for the United States Navy

and Marine Corps.

He said Abbott Military Tailors is a family business that began in

1940 with his grandfather, William Warren, Sr., in Pensacola, Fla.

Warren said his grandfather was working under contract with the

United States Naval Academy, in Maryland, where he outfitted

students. In 1940, the United States Navy began a flight program in

Pensacola, and Warren said his grandfather was asked by the Navy to

outfit the flight students there.

He said his grandfather eventually established Pensacola-based Abbott Military Tailors, in 1949. The company continues to provide uniforms for the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Warren said some Navy veterans, that were former customers of Abbott Military Tailors, became pilots for Delta Air Lines and told the

airline about Abbott's products.

"Delta asked if we would be interested in supplying uniforms," he said.

Warren said the company added a location in Atlanta, where Abbott

Airline Uniforms opened for business in 1991 to serve airline pilots.

Abbott Military Tailors has been passed down from generation to

generation, said Warren.

"We are a third-generation business and we offer quality uniforms

made in the U.S., and we work hard for customers," said Warren.

"Everybody that works for me has years of experience."


On the net:

Abbott Uniforms: www.abbottuniforms.com