What Do the Stripes On KLM Uniforms Mean?

From the ground to the very highest altitude, all of KLM’s frontline staff are dressed in blue. But that can be a bit confusing for passengers. Because who do you approach if you have a specific question? I conducted a full investigation and can now give you the low-down (and high-up) on every stripe you see. Because therein lies the secret: the stripes on sleeves and shoulders (epaulettes) are important clues.

The following generally applies: the more stripes, the higher the rank. Most passengers will encounter three different groups of uniform staff: ground personnel, cabin crew and cockpit crew. On arrival at Schiphol from the land side, you’ll probably run into ground personnel first.


Both feet firmly on the ground

Ground personnel don’t fly and have thin, gold stripes on the sleeves of their uniforms. A service agent has one thin, gold stripe. And then there are the gate agents, who have two thin, gold stripes. Your ticket will be checked by a ticket agent, who has three thin, gold stripes. The highest ranking staff member in uniform on the ground is the team leader, who has four thin, gold stripes on his or her sleeve.

At greater heights

Once you’ve checked in your baggage, passed through security and scanned your ticket at the gate, you’ll head down the airbridge to the plane, where you’ll be welcomed by the cabin crew. Cabin attendants (better known as stewardesses and stewards) all start out with a single silver stripe on their sleeve, which means they serve passengers in Economy Class. If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of World Business Class, you’ll be served by a senior cabin attendant with two silver stripes on his or her sleeve. Depending on the flight you’re on, the cabin crew will be headed by an assistant purser (three silver stripes), a purser (four silver stripes) and/or a senior purser, who has four silver stripes plus a fifth distinctive orange stripe.

KLM uniform

‘This is your captain speaking’

In the cockpit you will find the pilots. The captain has four broad, gold stripes on his sleeve, the first officer has three, the second officer has two, while the second officer in training has one broad gold stripe. Cockpit crew are easier to recognise, because their uniform is darker than that of other KLM frontline personnel. Pilots also wear a cap, of course – even the women.

KLM uniform

Posted by:   Eline van der Haar  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Christine windsor-smith

Just returned from a months holiday to Netherlands – Russia -Scotland and return to South Africa,with all six (6) flights on KLM – all flights on time, cabin crew really good, Purser took the time to come and speak to us in our seats (first time), pleanty of leg room in economy class.
Thank you KLM as I felt safe and secure on all flights.

Eline van der Haar

Hi Christine, great to hear about your wonderful KLM experience. We hope to welcome you again soon a board of one of our aircraft! Kind regards, Eline


Hardly to read and the pic of stripes”” cannot be enlarged !!!

Eline van der Haar

Hi Reind, sorry to hear you can’t read everything. Which part isn’t clear to you? If you click on the photo, it should enlarge itself. Maybe you should refresh the page? Kind regards, Eline


Flying with you all the time. I’m getting very sad when i can’t get a ticket to flight with KLM…trully a great company with even greater values. Thanks. Keep going forward.

Eline van der Haar

Thanks Michael. Great to hear your positive feedback. We hope to welcome you a board again soon! Kind regards, Eline


Great airline. Has always flown my children unaccompanied to and fro Africa and USA. They (children) have always had great experiences. KLM way to go. You are simply my airline an airline of choice.

Eline van der Haar

That’s nice to hear Zach. We’re very happy that your kids enjoy flying with KLM. See you soon on board of one of our aircraft? Kinds regards, Eline

Westland Jan

THE pilots Will be in THE cockpit When You board THE plane is not correct.
Please update

Eline van der Haar

Thanks for your comment, Jan. I updated the article straight away. Have a nice day!


Why does the article say “THIN gold stripe” with the ground staff and the flight attendants just “silver stripe”?
Isnt it the same “thickness”?

Eline van der Haar

You pay a lot of attention to the details, Klein. Since there are two types of golden stripes, I decided to define the stripes from the ground staff as thin. That makes it easier to see the difference. Hope this answers your question. Kind regards, Eline


I understand your point of view. However it was not neccesary, while the thinckness of stripe of the groundstaff and flight attendants are the same the ariticle could say only something about the thickness of the pilots stripes. To me It sounds degreeding.. But thats my point of view. Thank you for your respons

daniel gutierrez

very usefull !!

daniel gutierrez

muy util esta informaciòn


I miss out famous thick silver Cityhopper IFS stripe, and the “un-striped” CA sleeves from the Regular KLM Cityhopper crew :-(


“Because who do you approach if you have a specific question?”
Stays a question cause it is not answered in this article.
To all who’s got a question, just ask the lovley people in the light or dark bleu KLM costume, they will answer all your questions dispite the rank….:-)


Excellent information! I haven’t seen the three stripe assistant purser rank in awhile, at least on Longhaul flights. Is it being phased out? Thanks!!


Yes it is. There is a small group of AP (assistent pursers) left as the rank will be phased out. The purser took the rank of AP over on ICA flights. The AP won’t be promoted to (senior)purser in te future.

Aldo lambert

About maintenance ? nenni!


why we do not use stripes on our uniforms at KLM LIM station?

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