The war on women's bodies continues...
Another day, another airline scandal. This time, United Airlines has been called out for barring three young girls from a flight due to attire deemed inappropriate by the company. In this case, the “inappropriate” clothing was leggings. Yes, folks. Leggings. The story exploded over the weekend when an outraged onlooker started tweeting about the situation. Twitter kicked into high gear, with users immediately expressing righteous outrage.
However, it turns out that the situation is actually a little more complicated than we all thought. Still not great, mind you, but complicated, namely because (as per usual) people are missing the point.
It all started on Sunday when Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) was boarding a flight in Denver, CO and noticed a small disagreement between United gate agents and three girls ranging in age from nine or ten to their mid-teens. Upon investigating further, Watts discovered that the girls were being denied entry to the flight because of their clothing. Apparently, all three of them were wearing leggings— and according to United Airlines’ rules, that just doesn’t fly.
I’m sorry for that pun.
Watts began tweeting at the airline about what she was seeing and the story blew up at an impressive (but predictable) pace. Thousands of outraged Twitter users retweeted Shannon’s posts and expressed disbelief at the airline’s decision to bar the girls from the airplane. In the end, it appeared that one of them was able to board the flight—but only after she covered up with a dress.
This girl was ten years old.
Naturally, people were pissed.
Feeding the frenzy was the response from United Airlines customer service. While it was certainly prompt (like, suspiciously fast considering it’s United Airlines), it was also incredibly and bafflingly tone deaf. Despite the public outrage and widespread criticism over the incident, the airline doubled down on the decision of their gate agent—and with reasons.
I’m not going to say good reasons, but they did have some.