Two teenage girls wearing leggings were barred from
boarding a United Airlines flight on Sunday, a company
spokesman said amid outrage on social media.
Jonathan Guerin, United airline spokesperson, said the
two girls were barred because they did not meet a dress
code for special pass travellers.
The two girls, who were travelling with a companion,
would not have been turned away for wearing leggings
had they been paying customers, Mr. Guerin added.
“(The two girls) were instructed that they couldn’t board
until they corrected their outfit. They were fine with it
and completely understood,” Mr. Guerin said, adding
that all three passengers missed the flight.
Reuters reports that it is unclear if they had boarded a
later plane or made alternate travel arrangements.
Though the three passengers did not complain about
their treatment, another traveler, Shannon Watts, who
overheard the discussion touched off a firestorm on
social media with a series of tweets describing a
policy she suggested was unfairly targeting women and
“This behaviour is sexist and sexualises young girls,” Ms.
Watts said on Twitter.
“Not to mention that the families were mortified and
inconvenienced,” she added.
United air pass travelers are typically company
employees or their friends or family members.
Ms. Watts’ tweets and United’s defense of it touched a
raw nerve for many women and girls who have made
leggings a staple in their wardrobes.
The popularity of leggings has sparked criticism that
they are inappropriate attire under certain
circumstances. Some schools have barred girls from
wearing them to class.
Social media lit up with outrage against the policy and
the airline for its response to the initial outcry.
United Airline later put out a statement titled: “To our
customers … Your leggings are welcome!” that explained
the policy for passholders in greater detail.
That policy also bars midriff-baring tops, attire that
reveals undergarments or is designated as sleepwear or
swimwear, mini-skirts, shorts that fall less than 3
inches above the knee or dirty or torn clothing.
Mr. Guerin conceded that the airline, in its initial
response to the flap, could have done a better job of
explaining the situation and countering apparently
inaccurate information about the incident that appeared
“We’ll definitely take something away from today, but
we’ll continue to engage with our customers (on social
media),” the United spokesperson said.
Source: Premium Times