United Airlines found itself at the center of a social media storm after it barred two girls from boarding a flight in Denver on Sunday because they were wearing leggings.
Another girl who was also wearing leggings was allowed to board the flight from Denver International Airport to Minneapolis after she changed, a witness said.
The incident was reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts — founder of gun reform group Moms Demand Action — who was a passenger at the airport waiting to board another flight to Mexico.
The father had shorts on. Two young women in leggings booted from flight and a girl had to put a dress on over leggings in order to board. https://t.co/sCCP01gWcA— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board,” she said. “Since when does @united police women’s clothing?”
“A 10-year-old girl in gray leggings,” she added of one of the girls. “She looked normal and appropriate.”
However, United Airlines maintained its support for the gate agent’s decision in its own series of tweets.
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
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
Later, it clarified that the girls prevented from boarding were “pass riders” — those who fly free or at heavily reduced rates because they are airline employees or their relatives.
“Our regular passengers are not going to be denied boarding because they are wearing leggings or yoga pants,” a spokesman told The Washington Post.
“But when flying as a pass traveler, we require pass travelers to follow rules, and that is one of those rules.”
That didn’t stop a tsunami of ridicule against the airline on social media for what critics called sexist and intrusive actions.
Here are some of the tweets:
1) You’re lying about this story.2) Not everything is sexist. 3) Stop whining.4) Buy real pants for your daughters. https://t.co/bAFA53VRKa— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 26, 2017
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
I don’t usually travel in leggings, but strongly considering them now for my @united flight on Wednesday.— Erin A. Hennessy (@ErinAHennessy) March 26, 2017
Well I JUST got refused and wasn’t able to board my #unitedAIRLINES flight due to some bogus dress code.. I’m pissedMe: pic.twitter.com/1Cl6dnf2o6— Mittens (@JUSTcatmeme) March 27, 2017
(Feature image source: Reuters)