United Airlines Not on Board With Wearing Leggings as Pants


On March 26th a debate on sexism erupted across Twitter involving United Airlines. Gate agents stopped 2 young girls from boarding their flight, due to a violation in the company dress code.

A series of tweets by Shannon Watts sparked a Twitter frenzy for United Airlines.


Twitter responded in true Twitter fashion; complete outrage with a lack of information.

united tweet

Once United responded, they explained that the passengers were a part of the company’s “pass rider” program. This program allows family and friends of United employees to fly for free, or at a discounted rate. These pass members are seen as representatives of the airline and have a dress code that must be followed.

With this logical explanation, people started to side with United.



However, these are young girls, and that is not sitting well with many. (Especially celebrities)

While people understand the dress code policy, these girls are children.


It seems no matter how many times United responds, they keep getting backlash that they are ignoring the fact that they are regulating children.


The girls that were stopped are probably going to question their outfits from now on.  When you’re traveling, you just want to be comfortable. Who would want to wear a dress on a cold airplane? Why is a dress considered business attire for females?

This incident was blown out of proportion by some, but there are still some justifiable  questions that arose from it.

  1. Should airline policies apply to children?
  2. Should United update their policy on what business attire means for women?
  3. Why do so many problems come from the way women choose to dress?


Go ahead and rock your leggings as pants, but if you’re flying for free, double check the company’s policy.


― a well-traveled bunch ― were not about to keep quiet.

To recap: After a witness tweeted that she’d seen gate agents prevent three girls from boarding a flight due to their leggings, many Twitter users expressed outrage.

Two of the girls were not allowed to board, and a third, described as a 10-year-old in grey leggings, was only allowed on the plane after fishing a dress out of her bag to wear over her other clothes, according to the witness, gun control activist Shannon Watts. She noted that one of the passengers’ fathers was wearing shorts and faced no trouble.

1) A @united gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?

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?

United repeatedly defended the decision, initially pointing to a clause in its Contract of Carriage granting it the right to refuse passengers “not properly clothed.” Later, the airline stated the girls were “pass travelers” ― that is, friends or family of United employees traveling for heavily discounted rates ― and thus subject to a stricter dress code.

Still, for sexualizing children and policing women’s bodies, celebrities and the general public roasted the airline on Twitter.

“This is terrible,” Patricia Arquette wrote, addressing United. “Do you have a secondary fail safe from a supervisor to make these calls?”

United responded with the same message it’d been spouting all evening, signed by a male representative: “We remind all of our employees to review pass travel attire requirements before using their travel privileges.”

Arquette replied with this:

@united Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.

The United rep responded, “Patricia, as stated, these were United representatives. We hold our employees to the highest of standards.”

But the actress didn’t accept that explanation:

@united The highest standard of any culture corporate or not is to allow children to be children and to dress in accordance.

As the debate spread, Chrissy Teigen added her two cents, recounting a time she flew United “with literally no pants on” …

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.

… Before throwing in a joke.

Meanwhile someone at the daily mail had to google stock photos of “10 year old in leggings” that’s prob the real crime

Andy Richter also remembered flying United while not being ― as the airline’s Contract of Carriage states ― “properly clothed.”

.@united I have flown numerous times while displaying an egregious mooseknuckle. What’s a male over 10 have to do to get noticed?

Billy Eichner recalled his own past experience with United in a bit more graphic detail.

Fact: I once took a @united flight with my penis FULLY EXPOSED and had NO PROBLEMS

Later, Seth Rogen chimed in with a bit of sarcasm.

We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees! That’s all! Cool, right? https://twitter.com/united/status/846104385130160128 

William Shatner pondered boarding a United flight in leggings of his own, reminding everyone that he’d done it before, and pulled it off rather well.

All jokes aside, the actor criticized United’s policy of regulating girls’ clothing so severely ― even those with special travel privileges.

“If they were wearing string bikinis [United] may have had a point,” Shatner wrote.

I read the whole story. If they were wearing string bikinis 👙 they may have a point but leggings are worn by a large number of fashionistas. https://twitter.com/mollyogden/status/846151030601629696 

Sarah Silverman, too, responded to United’s self-defense by suggesting the “outdated” rules for friends and family of employees could use “updating.”

“It’s just that saying a dad in cargo shorts is more appropriate than a 10 y/o girl in leggings is weird,” she wrote.

I understand. I suggest u consider updating ur rules 4 friends & fam as they seem to apply mostly 2 females & are outdated. https://twitter.com/united/status/846093935973851136 

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://twitter.com/united/status/846171188573425665 

Even LeVar Burton didn’t think the airline’s response was “a good look.”

Duly noted, @united… Still, the punitive measures taken are not a good look!

In a statement about the incident, United repeated its defense once more, and concluded by stating, “To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome.”

To the girls affected, evidently, their leggings are still not. And United is not sorry.


Celebrity News & Photos: 2017


One response to “United Airlines Not on Board With Wearing Leggings as Pants

  1. I was considering writing about this news story, too! Overall, I completely with your final line in this story; what a woman wears really doesn’t matter, until it does. And then a company is offering you a free service, it’s only respectful to follow through on their expectations of you. But like most people, I agree that the biggest issue in this story was the age of the girls. If a couple of 25 year old women were wearing leggings as pants (which I will undoubtedly still be doing at age 25) on a “business” flight, then there might have been something to say. But these girls were barely teenagers, and I think that needs to be a major part of these decisions. There’s also the fact that the dad was WEARING SHORTS and that was just fine, but his little girls couldn’t wear leggings??? United needs to do some major PR cleanup here.

    Liked by 1 person

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