March 27, 2017
United Airlines is defending its decision to ban two girls from a flight with their father because they were wearing leggings.
The situation, as first described in a tweet thread started by fellow traveler Shannon Watts, started when Watts reportedly witnessed an airline gate agent turn away two girls from a Denver-to-Minneapolis flight over their 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
As Watts' following tweet explains, the agent told the girls they would have to change their clothes in order to fly.
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
United Airlines soon weighed in on the situation on Twitter, explaining that the customers in question were "United pass riders," which it defines as “United employees or eligible dependents” who fly when possible as a “company benefit." The company went on to say that pass riders represent the company and, because of that, they must follow a dress code.
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
United also clarified in a tweeted-out statement that "regular customers" can wear leggings while flying with the airline.
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
But the rule still didn't sit well with Watts and other critics, including some celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Patricia Arquette, who called the dress code "outdated" and "sexist." Some said they will no longer fly with the airline.
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