Two teen girls were barred from a United Airlines flight on Sunday and a younger girl had to put on a dress after an airline agent working a gate said the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate.
The decision set off a firestorm on social media, with some calling the airline's policy sexist.
The two young women were stopped at a gate at Denver International Airport when they attempted to board a flight to Minneapolis. The incident was first reported on Twitter by a fellow traveler, who also saw a family with two young girls, one of whom was dressed in leggings, arguing with the gate agent.
In the case of the young girl, her mother had a dress in her carry-on, which the girl was able to put on so she could board the plane.
United defended the decision in tweets and words from spokesman Jonathan Guerin, who said the two girls were "pass travelers" -- employees or dependents who get to fly for free on standby -- and the leggings violated the company's dress code.
#TheWashingtonTimes - 😳#UnitedAirlines bar teens in leggings from flight. You know the everyday trend that has been going around for at least 3 years ... right 😅...? The girls, whose ages were not specified, were not allowed onto the morning flight because they were traveling under an employee travel pass that includes a dress code, United spokesman Jonathan Guerinsaid. The dress code bars pass travelers from wearing spandex or Lycra pants such as leggings. The teenagers agreed to change their clothing and take a later flight, Guerinsaid, but the airline’s actions sparked a quick backlash on Twitter. Activist Shannon Watts of Denver tweeted that she witnessed Sunday’s events and questioned United’s decision to police women’s clothing. Watts said the girl’s father was allowed to board while wearing shorts and called the airline’s policy sexist. Regularly ticketed passengers are not subject to the same dress code and can wear leggings, Guerin said. But the airline was standing by its policy for pass travelers because they are essentially representing the company, he said. "We would ask the same of pass riders who were wearing flip-flops or who were wearing clothing that revealed their undergarments or torn, tattered jeans,” Guerin said. Let me ask you. Do you believe wearing pant-like style clothing is appropriate?😅🙃😁 #Monday #Clinton #Trump #instagram #instanews #cnn #foxnews #tyt #nbc #cbs #abc #wgn #love #chicago #lgbt #lgbtq #United
Celebrities took to Twitter to let us know their feelings on the situation...
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
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
Understandable. It's just that saying a dad in cargo shorts is more appropriate than a 10 y/o girl in leggings is weird maybe rethink https://t.co/U1xzH5P6Ar— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) March 27, 2017