Two Girls Barred from Flying United for Wearing Leggings Were Subject to Employee Dress Code

By Paul Riegler on 26 March 2017
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DSC_0781 (2)United Airlines became the subject of hundreds of unhappy tweets after barring two girls from boarding a flight Sunday morning because they were wearing leggings.

“A @united gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?” said Shannon Watts, a passenger who witnessed the interaction at a gate at Denver International Airport, on Twitter. “Since when does @united police women’s clothing?”

What Watts and others did not know is that the girls were not paying passengers, but non-revenue passengers traveling on an employee pass. United, similar to other airlines, has an employee dress code in place for anyone traveling on such a pass, be that person an employee, a relative, or a friend.

“The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel,” the airline said in a statement later in the day.

A third girl in the group was able to change to acceptable clothing and permitted to fly.

The dress code states that a passenger’s overall appearance should be “well-groomed, neat, clean and in good taste,” specifically forbids “form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses” as well as flip flops, bare feet, mini skirts, and clothing that is dirty, revealing, or see through.

The dress code is similar to what other airlines require although United’s two largest competitors, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, do not specifically forbid form-fitting Lycra and spandex.

Paying passengers are not subject to the employee dress code but are nonetheless not permitted to fly if “barefoot or not properly clothed” according to its Contract of Carriage. Leggings, however, are fine for paying passengers, the airline said.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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