PHOTO: United is feeling the heat from the dress code debacle. (Photo via Flickr/Oliver Holzbauer)
Banning people from a plane because they are wearing leggings seems absurd, but putting the situation in context does bring some clarity in regards to how the incident happened, says a new report in The New York Times.
“While some details of this tale remain murky — as of right now, the family remains anonymous — dress codes for employees, their families and friends who are traveling on free or discounted passes have been in place for decades, although not all are strictly enforced,” notes Sopan Deb.
United defended itself, noting that the policy for travelers known as “pass riders,” had been in place for a long time.
“When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United,” read a statement that United posted late on Sunday evening. “And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow. The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel.”
Some private citizens defended the policy, noting that they took “great pains” to dress appropriately.
“As a small kid, there wasn’t that much of a problem because we were always in dresses,” Ms. Horne told The Times. “That was just not an option. We always dressed up. In the late ’60s, early ’70s, that was when I was really concerned with whether I was meeting standards or not.”
It’s worthy to note that pass riders definitely fall into a special category of flier for most airlines.
United specifically bans latex and spandex. Delta has a freer policy.
READ MORE: What Travel Can Learn from United's Viral Leggings Incident
“Delta is far less specific, saying only this in its guide: ‘Just remember, Delta has a relaxed dress code for pass riders, but that doesn’t mean a sloppy appearance is acceptable. You should never wear unclean, revealing or lewd garments, or swimwear or sleepwear on a flight,’” notes Deb.
American Airlines says that clothes should be ‘appropriate and in good taste for our revenue customers, then it is acceptable for us as well.’”
For more on this ongoing debate and what airlines require of pass riders, read on here.