Tell me …
When was the last time you read a story about a man being kicked off a plane for showing too much chest hair?
When was the last time you read a story about a man who was denied boarding an airplane because he was wearing shorts?
When was the last time you read a story about a man being fondled on a plane?
When was the last time you read a story about a man relegated to a private room in an airport waiting area or to the back of the plane to nurse an infant?
There’s an epidemic in the skies and it’s far more serious than legroom and seat space and how much a bottle of water costs.
Tell me …
Why are we making it so hard for women to fly?
United Airlines remains under fire today—and probably will be for a while—for denying three girls from boarding a flight on Sunday morning because they were wearing spandex leggings. One was later permitted to board after she put a dress on over her leggings but the other two were prohibited from getting on the plane, even though the father was wearing shorts.
United said the girls were flying on an airline pass, or ‘buddy pass’, as a friend or relative of a United employee. That kind of ticket has a stricter dress code, the carrier said, essentially to keep a professional appearance as a United employee would.
But, to keep with the ‘questions’ theme that started this column, tell me: When was the last time you were able to tell the difference between a passenger who paid for an airline ticket and one that was on a freebie courtesy of a friend or family member of an airline employee, unless they told you?
The policy, as United tweeted out, is vague. It basically states that the airline reserves the right to deny boarding to “passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed.”
Not properly clothed? Maybe not so obvious, as in this case, or at the whim of a gate agent, as in this case.
Listen, I have written on this subject before and I am all for proper decorum when flying. There’s a time and place for everything. I no sooner would wear sweat pants to a funeral than I would a suit to a summer barbecue.
Yet, the odds seem stacked against women when it comes to air travel. Whether it’s an airline thing or a societal thing or a combination thereof, we are making it more difficult for women to travel than it has to be. We are making policy— binding and judgmental—on the fly, pardon the pun.
In this instance, United suddenly became the arbiters of good taste and the unofficial airline fashion police.
Perhaps United, and all airlines, should be less concerned about leggings or the amount of cleavage shown or the number of rips in a pair of jeans and more concerned with customer service.
Perhaps United, and all airlines, should be less concerned about spandex and more concerned about the safety of the female flier.
There is a true disservice here in many respects.
A pair of leggings is just a small part of a big problem.