In the latest example of stupidly restrictive dress codes being enforced by a major airline, United recently barred two teenage girls from boarding after deeming the leggings they were wearing as inappropriate.
As with the case of the woman who was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight for showing too much cleavage, the entire internet has responded to the incident with a giant "What the fuck?"
The New York Times covered the story in detail.
The girls, who were about to board a flight to Minneapolis, were turned away at the gate at Denver International Airport, the company said on Sunday.
The incident was first reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a passenger at the airport who was waiting to board a flight to Mexico. In a telephone interview from Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Ms. Watts said she noticed two visibly upset teenage girls leaving the gate next to hers. Both were wearing leggings.
Ms. Watts went over to the neighboring gate and saw a “frantic” family with two young girls, one of whom was also wearing leggings, engaged in a tense exchange with a gate agent who told them, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.”
The girls, whom Ms. Watts estimated to be in their "young teens," were refused the right to board unless they put dresses on.
Ms. Watts first reported on the event in a series of tweets, and received a response from the official United Airlines account.
Rather than apologizing for the gate agent's behavior, United defended the action.
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin confirmed and defended the airline's choice to ban the teenagers from boarding to The New York Times.
Jonathan Guerin... confirmed that two teenage girls were told they could not board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis because their leggings violated the company’s dress code policy for “pass travelers,” a company benefit that allows United employees and their dependents to travel for free on a standby basis.
Mr. Guerin said pass travelers are “representing” the company and as such are not allowed to wear Lycra and spandex leggings, tattered or ripped jeans, midriff shirts, flip-flops or any article of clothing that shows their undergarments.
The whole debacle garnered a largely critical response from the internet, including the voices of prominent celebs such as Chrissy Teigen, Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, to name a few.
As United continues to address accounts with massive followings, they appear to be softening their stance slightly.
Most recently, United published a statement on their website that they "welcome leggings" on passengers so long as they are not "pass riders," i.e. friends or family of airline staff who are flying with the benefit of free or heavily discounted travel.
When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United. 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. We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code.
In the last United tweet regarding the incident, they provided a link to the statement.