United Airlines bars teenage girls in leggings from flight

(Reuters) - At least two 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, the company said in a statement on Twitter amid a social media furor.

According to a series of tweets by another traveler, Shannon Watts, the girls were required to change or put dresses on over their leggings before they were allowed to board their flight from Denver to Minneapolis.

"The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel," the airline said on Twitter as the incident went viral on social media.

In another tweet made in response to a question from a social media user, the airline said: "Casual attire for ticketed passengers is fine. The passenger today was a United pass traveler and follow different guidelines."

Social media reacts to United Airlines leggings ban
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Social media reacts to United Airlines leggings ban
Usually I have to block gun extremists. Today I have to block legging extremists. Weird.
@PattyArquette @Shananigans @united @shannonrwatts See? 👇🏻 I've done it before! 👍🏻 https://t.co/MC6P144kjL
@united Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.
Fact: I once took a @united flight with my penis FULLY EXPOSED and had NO PROBLEMS #Misogyny
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.
@united Really? https://t.co/O9RplgrTsv
Hey @united can you clarify whether I can wear Zubaz on my next flight? Thx. https://t.co/333sFSt1ix
It's not going to be a pretty sight, but I'm going to wear yoga pants for my next @united flight.
😱👇🏻I'm going to start wearing leggings! Is that against the rules? 🤔#outdatedfashion #outdatedrules https://t.co/V5LnwDwygY
We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees! That's all! Cool, right? https://t.co/xGyL4IAslE
For the record, the girl wearing the leggings was TEN YEARS OLD. Good luck to @united explaining why she looked too sexual.
A 10-year-old girl in gray leggings. She looked normal and appropriate. Apparently @united is policing the clothing… https://t.co/KMBawQo7Ml

United pass travelers are typically company employees or family members of employees.

The policy and United's defense of it on social media 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 in certain circumstances and 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, the No. 3 U.S. airline by passenger traffic, did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Watts, the passenger who initially reported the dispute on Twitter, described one of the barred passengers as a 10-year-old girl wearing gray leggings.

Watts said the girls were allowed to board their flight after changing or putting dresses over their leggings.

"This behavior is sexist and sexualizes young girls," Watts said on Twitter. "Not to mention that the families were mortified and inconvenienced."

The top airlines for overall performance
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The top airlines for overall performance

9. Spirit Airlines


8. American Airlines

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

6. United Airlines (tie)


6. Frontier Airlines (tie)


5. Virgin America

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

4. Southwest Airlines

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

3. JetBlue

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo)

2. Delta

(REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme/File Photo)

1. Alaska Airlines

(REUTERS/Jason Redmond)


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