Ever since yoga pants and leggings have replaced jeans and khakis as the pant style du jour, people have had all kinds of opinions about what’s appropriate dress and what crosses the line into too tight or revealing. So when two teens and one younger girl were stopped and questioned about their legging attire before boarding a United Airlines flight on Sunday morning, the crowd (and Twitter, of course) went a little nuts.
The woman who tweeted this out to millions of viewers, Shannon Watts, gave followers a play-by-play as the story unfolded. “A United gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?” She then followed up a few minutes later with, “She’s (gate agent) forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board. Since when does United police women’s clothing?”
But before you go getting your own leggings in a bunch, it should be noted that these travelers were “pass riders,” which the company says are relatives of United employees who fly for free or on discount — but also with certain expectations. And those expectations were made clear at the gate. “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.
OK, I’m still not convinced keeping girls from boarding a plane because of leggings (even if they’re “pass riders”) is a fair policy, and according to some news outlets, this incident is sparking a lot of conversations about sexism and dress code policies that target women more than men.
For now, United is standing by its policy, and whether or not they decide to take a second look later, plenty of damage has been done. In a market where airlines are all competing for the same passengers, this viral incident has given other airlines the ammo they need to recruit new customers. In an “in your face” kind of message, Delta Airlines tweeted this to followers: “Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings).”
Fasten your seatbelt… it’s going to be a wild ride on Twitter until this dies down!