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United Airlines bars teenage girls in leggings from flight

United Airlines bars teenage girls in leggings from flight

Postby smix » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:24 pm

United Airlines bars teenage girls in leggings from flight
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-unite ... SKBN16X13G
Category: Aircraft
Published: March 26, 2017

Description: (Reuters) - Two teenage girls wearing leggings were barred from boarding a United Airlines flight on Sunday because they did not meet a dress code for special pass travelers, a company spokesman said amid a furor on social media. The two girls, who were traveling with a companion, would not have been turned away for wearing leggings had they been paying customers, United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said as the airline responded to the backlash. "(The two girls) were instructed that they couldn't board until they corrected their outfit. They were fine with it and completely understood," Guerin said, adding that all three passengers missed the flight. He did not know if they had boarded a later plane or made alternate travel arrangements. Though the three passengers did not complain about their treatment, another traveler, Shannon Watts, who overheard the discussion touched off a firestorm on social media with a series of tweets describing a policy she suggested was unfairly targeting women and girls. "This behavior is sexist and sexualizes young girls," Watts said on Twitter. "Not to mention that the families were mortified and inconvenienced." United pass travelers are typically company employees or their friends or family members. Watts' tweets and United's defense of it touched a raw nerve for many women and girls who have made leggings a staple in their wardrobes. The popularity of leggings has sparked criticism that they are inappropriate attire under certain circumstances. Some schools have barred girls from wearing them to class. Social media lit up with outrage against the policy and the airline for its response to the initial outcry. Celebrities chimed in with humorous protests. "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 top," model Chrissy Teigen tweeted. United later put out a statement titled: "To our customers ... Your leggings are welcome!" that explained the policy for passholders in greater detail. That policy also bars midriff-baring tops, attire that reveals undergarments or is designated as sleepwear or swimwear, mini-skirts, shorts that fall less than 3 inches above the knee or dirty or torn clothing. Guerin conceded that the airline, in its initial response to the flap, could have done a better job of explaining the situation and countering apparently inaccurate information about the incident that appeared on Twitter. "We'll definitely take something away from today, but we'll continue to engage with our customers (on social media)," he said.



How two teens in leggings became a PR mess for United Airlines
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-unite ... SKBN16Y2HY
Category: Aircraft
Published: March 27, 2017

Description: (Reuters) - A bystander who touched off a social media furor after she saw United Airlines stop two teenage girls dressed in leggings from boarding a flight admitted on Monday that she did not fully grasp the situation when she started tweeting her indignation. The girls, who were flying standby on Sunday from Denver to Minneapolis using free passes for employees or family members, were told by a gate attendant that they could not get on the plane while wearing the form-fitting pants. Passengers using the passes are considered airline representatives, United Air Lines Inc spokesman Jonathan Guerin said, subject to a dress code that prohibits sleep or swimwear, torn clothing and revealing attire. The girls were fine with the policy, Guerin says, but a traveler named Shannon Watts who overheard the exchange took offense. Watts was further incensed when another woman who was listening told her 10-year-old daughter to put a dress on over her leggings, apparently thinking United's policy applied to all passengers, not just those flying free. Her subsequent tweet storm, which accused the airline of "policing women's clothing," quickly went viral, with celebrities such as model Chrissy Teigen and actors Seth Rogen and Patricia Arquette decrying United's stance. After the incident, United's mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram exploded from its average 2,000 daily mentions to 174,000, nearly 70 percent of them negative, said Kellan Terry, a spokesman for the social media analysis firm Brandwatch. Watts, in a phone interview on Monday, conceded that she did not initially realize that the girls were using passes that entailed following a dress code. Regardless, she said, the policy is wrong-headed. "I don't get why that's the issue here," she said. "A dress code still shouldn't be gendered and sexist. To be clear, this was happening very publicly right here in the gate." American Airlines Group Inc has a policy on free passes that is similar to United's, but Delta Air Lines Inc defers to travelers' "best judgment" about their clothing. United may have limited any damage to its image if it reacted more quickly to the tweets and explained its policy on the free passes, Terry said. "Once the fire starts to burn, it's all about containing that fire," he said. United's Guerin conceded that the airline could have done a better job of getting the facts out early. "But our response following that, once we did have all of the facts, I think we reacted the right way with this," he said.
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