News World United Airlines defends barring girls in leggings from flight

United Airlines defends barring girls in leggings from flight

united airlines leggings
The airline has been criticised for not allowing the girls on the flight. Photo: AAP
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Two young girls have been barred from boarding a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings.

The girls, one of whom was reportedly just 10, were told at the gate at Denver International Airport that they could not board their flight to Minneapolis because they were travelling on an employee travel pass that includes a dress code.

United took a hammering on social media after the incident, with many — including celebrities — slamming the airline for sexism, overreaction and draconian enforcement of its rules.

Shannon Watts, the co-founder of a mothers’ group campaigning against gun violence, publicised the incident on Twitter, asking in bewildered terms whether “spandex is not allowed?” (on flights).

Ms Watts later tweeted that the girls looked “normal and appropriate” and added that the girl’s father was allowed to board while wearing shorts, slamming the discrepancy as sexist.

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the girls were told they could not board the flight because their leggings violated the company’s dress code policy for “pass travellers”, that is, a program allowing staff and family to travel for free on stand by.

“In our Contract of Carriage, Rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed,” the company tweeted.

“There is a dress code for pass travellers as they are representing UA when they fly.”

“It’s not that we want our standby travellers to come in wearing a suit and tie or that sort of thing,” Mr Guerin told the New York Times.

“We want people to be comfortable when they travel as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment. We would ask the same of pass riders who were wearing flip-flops or who were wearing clothing that revealed their undergarments or torn, tattered jeans,” he said.

But the incident unleashed a media storm and went viral on social media, with people heaping scorn and ridicule on the airline, including celebrities such as the model Chrissy Teigen and actor LeVar Burton.

Twitter user Nick Bolton also noted: “No one is nearly as offended by a little girl in spandex as they are by this situation”.

Both girls stayed behind in Denver, “made an adjustment” to their outfits and waited for the next flight to Minneapolis, United confirmed.

Ironically, the airline has in the past promoted International Yoga Day and featured a tweet with a young woman in activewear-style leggings doing a handstand at an airport, backgrounded by United places.

But the company countered by pointing out that the dress code does not apply to paying customers.

Source. Twitter/United.
Source. Twitter/United.

– with AAP

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