Airline Goes All ‘Sister Mary Margaret’ On School Girls’ Clothing And Bans Them From Flight (UPDATED)

It appears that United Airlines is now going to join some schools and other institutions to decide what constitutes “proper dress” for women and girls. On Sunday morning the airline refused to board a girl who was reported to be about 10-years-old due to their rule that passengers must be “properly clothed.” The girl was wearing leggings, and was required to put on a dress before she was allowed on the flight.

Shannon Watts, director of the group “Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America” was a witness to what transpired, and told her followers about it in a series of tweets.

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The airline immediately responded to Watts, quoting from their policy about passenger dress.

Watts then noted that the passengers who were subjected to this treatment were children.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the 10-year-old was allowed on the flight when she put on a dress she had been carrying in her backpack. Two other girls, identified by the paper as being in their early teens, did not have dresses to put on, which is why they were not allowed to board.

The policy to which United referred states the airline reserves the right to deny carriage to any passenger who is “barefoot or not properly clothed.” But they don’t define what “properly clothed” means. When challenged by another Twitter user, United explained that they leave the decision about “properly clothed” to their gate agents.

Twitter was not happy, and users let United know.

And through it all, the airline’s fallback position was to simply keep repeating the reference to their policy. Can you say “tone deaf?”

The United Airlines add campaign used to call on passengers to “fly the friendly skies.” It sounds like those skies aren’t so friendly if the gate agent doesn’t like the way your daughter is dressed.

UPDATE: After this story was published, United tweeted that the girls were not paying passengers, but were instead “United pass travelers.” That means they were relatives or friends of United employees who were flying for free. Passengers of that type are still subject to the employee dress code.

However, there are still questions. First, why was that dress code applied so strictly to children? Second, shouldn’t whoever provided these girls with their tickets have cautioned them about the dress code? Finally, why didn’t the United employee who responded to Shannon Watts’ tweet make a phone call to Denver to find out what was going on? The situation could have been quickly defused. The initial response from United only contributed to the outrage over the story.

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