Teens barred from United Airlines flight for failing to comply with corporate dress code
The incident, which happened at Denver International Airport, was flagged on Twitter by another passenger, Shannon Watts – the founder of gun reform group Moms Demand Action.
Watts tweeted that airline staff were “forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can't board. Since when does @united police women's clothing?”
1) A @united gate agent isn't letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
2) She's forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can't board. Since when does @united police women's clothing?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
3) Gate agent for flt 215 at 7:55. Said she doesn't make the rules, just follows them. I guess @united not letting women wear athletic wear?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
United Airlines responded, saying that the company has the right to refuse passengers who are not “properly clothed” via their Contract of Carriage.
The airline later clarified that the refused passengers were “pass travelers,” – a company benefit that allows United employees and their dependents to travel for free on a standby basis.
A condition of this benefit, however, is that passengers abide by a dress code policy which United Airlines claimed leggings violated.
Under the dress code "pass riders" are not allowed to wear clothing that doesn't look "neat and professional,"reported CNN who said they received a copy of the policy from an airline employee.
@shannonrwatts (2/2) There is a dress code for pass travelers as they are representing UA when they fly. ^KP— United (@united) March 26, 2017
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin told the New York Times that the girls stayed behind in Denver and “made an adjustment” to their outfits as they waited for the next flight to Minneapolis. Guerin did not know, however, if they had successfully boarded.
The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel.— United (@united) March 26, 2017
To our customers…your leggings are welcome! Learn more about our company’s pass travel privilege: https://t.co/5e3euG1H9G.— United (@united) March 27, 2017
The company continued to engage with the public as they were inundated with sharp criticism for the policy and insisted that ordinary passengers could wear whatever they wished.
Reports of the incident went viral as a number of high profile names took issue with the Airline’s “sexist” actions.
Model Chrissy Teigen declared she has flown with the airline with “literally no pants on,” while actress Patricia Arquette told the company that “leggings are business attire for 10 year olds.”
I have flown united before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress. Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 26, 2017
@united Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 26, 2017
Actors Seth Rogen and William Shatner all highlighted the policy’s apparent double standards.
It's not going to be a pretty sight, but I'm going to wear yoga pants for my next @united flight.— Andrew Millspaugh (@armillspaugh) March 26, 2017
Meanwhile, rival airline Delta benefited from the spat as Twitter users and the company itself declared the airline was leggings friendly.
Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings. 😉)— Delta (@Delta) March 27, 2017