After a traveler tweeted about girls being barred from a Minneapolis-bound flight for wearing leggings, United tried but failed to explain their decision to ban the young passengers.
First the airline pointed to its rules for general customers, which allows United to refuse transportation “for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed.” But as Twitter users noted, there’s nothing there making clear that leggings — or anything else in particular — are not proper.
United then reversed course and revealed that two young girls who were turned away from the flight were “pass travelers” — relatives of United employees, who fly for free or on discount but also with certain expectations.
Among those expectations: No “form-fitting” spandex pants.
“Like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow,” United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said in a media statement.
“The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel. We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code. To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome.”
American Airlines outlaws leggings, workout clothes, as well as beach clothing, mini skirts, short shorts, attire with “offensive” graphics and even shorts and T-shirts for “pass travelers”.
From there, only more questions take off, especially: Who decides how these rules get enforced?
Shannon Watts, the woman who originally tweeted about the girls being detained, pointed out that she saw a father in shorts board the flight with no problem while his daughters were held up for their leggings.
There was also the question of why any gate agent saw little girls in leggings as reason enough to keep them from flying.
“I’d be interested in knowing how often they do this for little boys,” Watts told the Daily News in an interview.