Why United’s Non-Rev Dress Code Might Actually Be Sexist

A story went really viral yesterday about United non-rev passengers traveling from Denver to Minneapolis being told they needed to change out of leggings if they wanted to get on a flight. A Twitter user on a different flight observed the situation unfolding at the gate, and assumed United was applying this dress code to revenue passengers.

My theory was that these were in fact non-revs, as a dress code does apply to those passengers. United eventually confirmed that this was in fact the case.

With that in mind, let’s look at the situation a bit more closely:

What are non-revs?

One of the biggest perks of working in the airline industry is the travel benefits you get. You can travel almost anywhere in the world for next to nothing. “Non-revs” refers to non-revenue passengers, or those traveling on a space available basis. That means they show up at the airport and are let on a flight if there are seats available.

Not only do airline employees directly get these benefits, but an appointed companion, spouse, parents, etc., get some benefits as well. On top of that, airline employees often get “buddy passes,” which they can give out to friends and family. When they do, it’s their job to tell the people they’re giving the passes to about the requirements associated with this type of travel, in terms of the dress code, risk of not getting on a flight because it may be full, etc.

What is the non-rev dress code at United?

Here’s the full dress code that United has for anyone traveling as a non-rev passenger (the bolding is mine, and reflects the reason these passengers were denied boarding):

Dress attire for pass riders traveling space-available or positive-space should always meet or exceed the casual standards outlined in this policy. In general, casual attire refers to clothing that is appropriate for the local environment, allow you to feel comfortable while pass traveling, yet looks neat and professional.

Employees from United will enjoy the following relaxed dress code when pass traveling on all United flights and in all classes of service, system wide:

  • Pass ridersā€™ overall appearance should be well-groomed, neat, clean and in good taste
  • Attire should be respectful of fellow revenue passengers, employees and pass riders
  • Pass riders may wear denim attire (such as jeans), shorts that are no more than three inches above the knee and athletic shoes

The following attire is unacceptable in any cabin but is not limited to:

  • Any attire that reveals a midriff
  • Attire that reveals any type of undergarments
  • Attire that is designated as sleepwear, underwear or swim attire
  • Mini skirts
  • Shorts that are more than three inches above the knee when in a standing position
  • Form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses
  • Attire that has offensive and/or derogatory terminology or graphics
  • Attire that is excessively dirty or has holes/tears
  • Any attire that is provocative, inappropriately revealing, or see-through
  • Bare feet
  • Beach-type, rubber flip-flops

These guidelines are not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather should help set the general parameters for appropriate attire. Pass riders should use good judgment and common sense about items not specifically addressed. If you are uncertain about what is acceptable attire for pass travel, please ask your supervisor or your Human Resources partner.

Why do airlines have dress codes for non-revs?

The intent is that non-revs are supposed to be good representatives for the airline. After all, this benefit is a privilege. The only problem is that in practice other passengers don’t know who is and isn’t a non-rev. So perhaps these policies are a bit outdated, and reflect an era where people dressed up to fly. Maybe it’s time to update these policies to simply reflect that people should be clean and clothed. šŸ˜‰

The gate agent didn’t do anything wrong

No matter how you feel about the policy as such, the gate agent enforcing the rules did nothing wrong. The gate agent wasn’t sexist, racist, or anything else. S/he was just enforcing United’s policy, as s/he was supposed to.

The non-revs were wrong to show up dressed the way they were

No matter how you feel about United’s non-rev dress code as such, you have to adhere to it. If employees have an issue with the dress code, they should address them with management, their union reps, etc. At the end of the day airline employees agree to the terms associated with their great travel benefits, and they absolutely should adhere to them.

That’s not to say that they shouldn’t fight them on a higher level — they absolutely should, if they feel they’re not fair. But just showing up not adhering to the dress code is problematic, since it puts the gate agent in a very uncomfortable situation, and potentially jeopardizes the travel benefits of the person who gave you a buddy pass.

What we don’t know is if the employee failed to tell these passengers about the policy, or if the passengers in question misinterpreted the rules.

How does United’s policy compare to others?

Let’s look at the policy of the two other global US carriers, to see how United’s policy compares.

Delta’s policy for non-revs is as follows:

Appropriate:

  • Overall appearance should be well-groomed, neat, clean, safe and respectful from head to toe.
  • Clothing should be respectful to fellow passengers.
  • Footwear – shoes are required unless the pass rider is not able to wear footwear due to a disability or physical condition

Not appropriate:

  • Passenger that is (or appears to be) intoxicated
  • Passenger whose dress violates public decency laws and community standards (examples include clothing that is sheer or inappropriately revealing or is designated as sleepwear, underwear or swim attire)
  • Bare feet
  • Clothing that is excessively dirty, stained or torn
  • Clothing that is vulgar, offensive or suggestive

Essentially, Delta’s policy is the same for non-rev passengers as it is for anyone else. Delta basically wants you to be clean and neat, which seems fair to me.

Delta-767

American’s policy is as follows:

Dress code

  • Employees are asked to always wear clothing that is clean and neat.
  • Jeans and athletic shoes are acceptable in any cabin.
  • Employees may not wear clothing that is torn, dirty, or frayed, clothing that is distracting or offensive to others, anything revealing (e.g., extreme mini-skirts, halter and bra-tops, sheer or see-through clothing), or visible swimwear, sleepwear, or underwear.
  • Clothing that is vulgar or violates community standards or decency is also never appropriate, including items that have words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to others
  • Bare feet are also not permitted.

If you want to fly first or business class, American doesn’t let you wear shorts, but that’s about it.

American-View

Why United’s policy comes across as sexist

The more I look at it, the more I see a problem with United’s policy for non-rev clothing. Here’s the thing — it’s one thing if United said sneakers, t-shirts, shorts, etc., aren’t allowed. However, they allow all those things.

The things that are banned do seem to disproportionately impact women.

Would it be ridiculous if an airline wanted their employees to set an example of how to dress, and didn’t allow shorts, sneakers, sweatpants, leggings, etc.? I think that would be fine. That would be no different than a nice restaurant having a dress code about what you can and can’t wear.

However, is it fair that they seem to primarily target articles of clothing worn by women? It’s extremely common for women to wear leggings, especially when traveling.

I don’t think this policy was intentionally sexist, though I think it needs to be reviewed, and perhaps it reflects the inherent sexism in American corporate culture. Perhaps it’s what happens when men decide on dress codes for both men and women, and when an airline has as many people named “Doug” on their board of directors as they have women altogether.

I think United could learn from Delta when it comes to their dress code for non-revs.

United’s response to the situation made things worse

A big problem with all of this was how United handled the situation. When this was first brought to their attention, they responded by saying that their contract of carriage states they can refuse passengers boarding for how they dress. This suggested that they thought this was a revenue passenger, and that it was okay to remove them for wearing leggings.

This was a massive screw up on United’s part, and made people more angry. Clearly they train their employees to refer to the contract of carriage when they get complaints, which is what they did here… without applying logic to the situation.

The other big issue is how long it took them to correct themselves after the mistake. Eventually they issued the following statement, which I think is well phrased:

We care about the way we present ourselves to you, our customers, as we believe that is part of the experience on board our flights. One of the benefits of working for an airline is that our employees are able to travel the world. Even better, they can extend this privilege to a select number of what we call “pass riders.” These are relatives or friends who also receive the benefit of free or heavily discounted air travel ā€“ on our airline as well as on airlines around the world where we have mutual agreements in place for employees and pass riders.

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.

To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome.

This is how they should have responded to begin with. They should have quickly retracted their original statement and apologized, reassuring revenue passengers that they’d be fine if they chose to wear leggings.

This was all blown a bit out of proportion

This story is the prime example of what happens when someone on social media witnesses something and they don’t know what’s going on… and then the story is blown up, 140 characters at a time.

The Twitter user in question was on a completely different flight, and witnessed someone else (supposedly a 10 year old girl and her father) ask about the dress code, since they hadn’t realized it doesn’t apply to revenue passengers. They weren’t asked to change, but rather only the non-rev passengers were.

So the story quickly became that a sexist gate agent was arbitrarily enforcing a dress code that doesn’t exist, and United made the situation worse by confirming this could apply to revenue passengers, which it couldn’t. That was just one misinformed social media employee for United.

The story became that the behavior of asking them to change was “sexist and sexualizes young girls.” The 10 year old girl in question was never even asked to change.

I think it’s very important to differentiate between an airline with an outdated dress code for employees, and an employee actually creating an arbitrary dress code and “humiliating” passengers by forcing them to change. This should have never happened, because the non-revs (not the 10 year old girl in question, who has nothing to do with this) should have known the dress code.

Bottom line

The gate agent did nothing wrong here — s/he was simply enforcing the company’s policy.

The non-revs (or people who have the non-revs their passes) did do something wrong here — by agreeing to use the passes they agreed to adhere to United’s dress code, but they didn’t do that.

However, United’s non-rev dress code and their response to this situation were wrong as well. Beyond their actual response, their policy seems outdated, and their dress code does seem a lot more restrictive towards women than men. If the problem is casual clothing, they should ban shorts, sweatpants, sneakers, etc. I think that would be perfectly fair. However, restricting leggings but not other similarly casual articles of clothing worn by men isn’t especially fair.

Perhaps this will be the catalyst that gets United to update their policies to reflect the day-and-age we live in. I think Delta’s policy of basically saying “don’t be a slob” is a good one.

Comments

  1. The non-rev dress codes are so-o-o much more lenient than when I began working as a flight attendant in the early 70’s! I can remember being required to wear a jacket and tie when non-reving out of Honolulu. In those days the terminal was open air – which means it was often very hot and humid. In one instance – dripping with sweat – I removed my blazer in the boarding area and the agent – dressed in a short-sleeve, open-neck, uniform aloha shirt, looked-up from behind the podium and primly informed me I’d need to put my blazer back on if I was going to stand-by for that flight.

    One just didn’t question this sort of non-rev dress code ridiculousness because all an airline agent had to do was to report you to management. At my airline that could mean a loss of pass benefits for six months or a year.

    Today, as a retiree, I’m what some consider ‘old school’ in that I wear slacks, a shirt with a collar, and dress shoes when I non-rev. It surprises me a bit when I’m sitting in First Class and see some other non-rev wearing a t-shirt, jeans and dirty sneakers. But times change.

  2. I want to know when and why bare feet became so offensive? I mean I personally wouldn’t want to walk outside without shoes but I wouldn’t care if someone else was into that, I wouldn’t think it was offensive thats for sure! It’s the standard “No Shirt (totally understand) No Shoes (WHY?) No Service rule. Oh and if you are flying united No leggings! lol šŸ˜‰ BTW Every woman wears leggings! This gate agent was clearly being a …….!

  3. It’s absolutely NONE of our business to be commenting on united’s dress code for its employees. Waste of time and energy for this board.

  4. Not everything in life is fair. As a man I wear leggings when I run on a regular basis but I don’t wear them when I fly because they look way too casual and informal. Same reason I don’t show up to fly in sponge Bob PJs either. The problem with letting people use common sense is that they don’t have common knowledge or taste. My guess is that a female contributed heavily to these rules. Most women are much harder on women than men are when it comes to judging fashion. In fact most men are sexist and if given the task of setting rules for women, the women would all be wearing micro mini skirts or yoga pants 24/7.
    It is also fairly obvious who the non-revs are usually so it does reflect on the airline.

  5. @applejax – bare feet can spread a lot of unpleasant fungus and are generally thought of as a very dirty part of the body to have open in a public space. It’s a health issue. One should NEVER have their feet bare in a public space – you don’t know what you’re spreading or what you’re picking up. I knew a girl once who got a GAS infection from a blister on her heel after going with bare feet in a public space. She went into a coma and ended up losing some of her toes and fingers.

    Also eet are often smelly and very unpleasant to the eye.

  6. As another non-revver who has flown on passes for several airlines over the past 30 years, there’s a fine line here. The issue, primarily, is that staff may be upgraded if there are available seats. In my day, there was a dress code for First or Business, and the purpose of the non-rev dress policy was to comply with the dress code of the highest cabin to which you might be upgraded. In 1995, that meant wearing a tie for me (something women wouldn’t be required to wear). Nowadays, my airline has a dress code (no jeans, no sneakers, collared shirt) to board in Business Class, but allows you to change into sweat pants once on board.

    Sexism around attire is a legitimate and long running battle, but it’s more complicated than simply dealing with leggings. After all, why can’t I wear a dress as a male, but only as a woman? Why are men forced to wear sports jackets to dinner, but not women? Would I be allowed to board wearing heels as a man?

    Ultimately, let’s smash the stupidity around gender roles and attire, and impose gender neutral clothing policies. If we really want to fight for the right of non revving women to wear leggings, I want it clear that any employee can.

  7. Again, this is NOT what this form is about. It’ s NONE OF OUR BUSINESS to be commenting on a company’s employee procedures. If this somehow impacted our ability to redeem miles or upgrade, then maybe there would be merit in discussing this here. Otherwise, none of our business.

  8. I don’t like these titles.

    “Might Actually Be Sexist” is about as legitimate as “Might Actually Cause an Apocalypse” of “Might Actually Signal the End of Leggings”. Ya know?

    It’d be nice if you picked a side or no side. Like “Is Sexist” or “Isn’t Sexist” or just go ahead with “United Controversy About Leggings Stirs Sexism Debate”, but “Might Actually Be Sexist” is the most frustrating, mind-boggling title ever.

  9. I’ve been an airline employee for over 30 years. Bare feet are not allowed because of safety considerations. Passengers need to have sturdy footwear to protect their feet in the event of an emergency evacuation. Yes, these events are rare but nevertheless they do happen. Better safe than sorry.

  10. Talk about a storm in a tea cup!
    If you don’t like the rules for a nonrevenue ticket, you can always take the bus on your own dime! šŸ˜›

  11. UA has every right to impose a dress code on nonv-rev pass riders. There’s nothing that says the dress code freedom for paying passengers should apply to those flying for free. This incident is just a bunch of holier-than-thou on Twitter pretending to actually care about women’s rights when the incident is strictly the fault of the pass-rider.

    And i don’t think the largest apologist for Qatar, arguably one of the most sexist and anti-LGBT nations on earth, should have the moral authority to be discussing sexism of other airlines.

  12. Astoria seems mighty religaphobic as it is a sign of respect to remove shoes and walk in bare feet at Buddhist temples. Almost all Indian temples and mosques require bare feet. Oh, how can the world bear to have such intolerant people? And to compound the harm, Astoria body shames feet as smelly – oh the political incorrectness of it all! – Big Grin –

    “One should NEVER have their feet bare in a public space ā€“ you donā€™t know what youā€™re spreading or what youā€™re picking up….Also feet are often smelly and very unpleasant to the eye.”

  13. Weren’t you on board with this yesterday?
    Oh but now the wind’s blown the other way….got it.
    Great principals, Lucky.

  14. Lucky, there’s no reason to fuel the flame here. A non rev flyer who has enjoyed the benefits with multiple family members who work for United, I have always adhered to the dress code, rushing to the airport restroom to change, hunting for dress shoes when I forgot them, etc. The policy has become more relaxed over the years, most recently with the Continental merger. Bottom line still applies: rules are rules. Non rev-travel is an over the top benefit that shouldn’t be abused by any pass rider, and when folks don’t follow the rules — or journalists fuel the flames for clickbait — the benefit is ruined for those who enjoy the benefit and follow the rules. Please don’t ever broach this topic again, Lucky.

  15. This blog used to be about great reviews of premium products. Now so many ‘social justice’ posts. Shame

  16. 100% element of sexism in the policy and it’s too early to say the gate agent did nothing wrong. If the gate agents don’t apply the policy equally between genders, than they’re to blame as well. Agree that they have a right to have a policy and to enforce it. But it also needs to be a neutral policy on paper and then applied neutrally in practice.

  17. I’m going to strongly disagree with everyone in the comments section here and agree with lucky. This policy is discriminatory and sexist. United might have a right to enforce a dress code for its employees and related persons, but it does not have a right to enforce a sexist dress code for non-work related activities and this is exactly what Ben is saying. I’m honestly not surprised to see such a big backlash on this from….MEN!

    Oh and bringing up the Gulf carriers doesn’t make United’s policy any less sexist by the way.

  18. No, I do not believe this is sexist or anything wrong. You have to think of it from an objective view point. Non-revs get different seating benefits, and in some cases, best available seats. If you are flying first class on a free ticket you do not want the customer next to you assuming that you didn’t pay for the seat he/she paid hundreds, or even thousands for. The policy is created so that customers who pay for tickets can not easily assume who has paid for their ticket or not.

  19. This article has zero purpose. A lot of men who run wear leggings. But they don’t wear them as pants despite how comfortable they may be. United has a dress code, it isn’t sexist at all. It’s clothing that both sexes wear.
    Please stop with the SJW posts and just stick to flight reviews. They were entertaining and engaging. These are just pitiful attempts of trying to discuss the current “thing” to get more page views.

  20. Bottom line: even if United is technically correct, in the grand scheme of things, they are wrong. And if it takes them this long to figure out why, they need to hire new people. Those who are defending United because the leggings techincally violated the rules are also missing the big picture here. Itā€™s like all the grown ups have left the room, and the kids are fighting over who had the toy first.

  21. Out of all the guidelines posted, only 2 maybe 3 seem to impact women disproportionately. Does this speak to an overall sexist policy? I think reasonable minds can differ. I flew as a non-rev ALOT growing up so I still dress at least smart casual to fly even on short domestic flights. I’ll never forget the time my family was visiting the States in ’99 and were flying AA from MCO to MIA and we were all in shorts/t shirts but were told we could not board unless we changed attire; that is a boy of 8, and two young teen girls were also considered inappropriately dressed. We literally cabbed to the nearest store (target/walmart type store) and bought slack/pants etc. Not sure why my mumthought the rule wouldn’t appl (she was the airline employee who granted us the non-rev benefit) . Maybe because it was a domestic flight? In any case it was strictly enforced and we couldn’t get a flight out that day (standby) so ended up driving. A lesson learned the hard way but those are the rules and since we benefited so much from free international travel, seemed like a very small price to pay. I would wear a suit on every flight if I could fly anywhere for free again!

  22. This is a nightmare for United. Nonrevs aren’t supposed to make waves. If you look at the policies of the airlines, that’s really how the dress codes are designed. They want the nonrevs to be dressed so as not to get comments from other passengers – even if it’s the other passengers who are wrong by reinforcing sexism.

    My guess is that United’s policy added the specificity because there were some perceived abuses, arguments at the gate, and their agent workforce asked for some specificity. Back in the day when the airlines, the codes were always more specific for men then women. The codes were specific because people tried to push the line. If the code said that you could wear a sport coat and a tie in first class (and that’s what they said in the ’90’s), then you can bet that someone showed up with a starter jacket that said Yankees on it insisting that they satisfied it. Thus, a line was added specifying that sports logo ware did not qualify as a sports jacket.

    One problem facing the airlines is that dress standards change over time and depending upon location. The airlines all used to prohibit shorts and require coat and tie in first. If you wanted to see who the nonrevs where on a flight to Jamaica, look for the guys wearing a coat and tie and long pants.

  23. Absolutely not.

    If you fly on a reduced/free ticket, you have to abide by the rules. Full stop. Your personal opinion is irrelevant about what constitutes appropriate clothing for men/women.

  24. Not sure where you got the AA dress code from but there is also a section that says if you’d like to be accommodated in a premium cabin, you can’t wear shorts (already mentioned), beach footwear (such as flip flops or Crocs), jogging suits, athletic gear, or baseball hats. Most AA nonrevs interpret athletic gear to include such things as tennis shoes & leggings without a long tunic or dress on top. So, United is not alone in their policy and shouldn’t be attacked for being sexist. I am a woman who has nonreved weekly for years, and don’t find any of the dress codes sexist. I am just happy to get my free or heavily discounted ride, and dress to or above the standards of the policy for the airline on which I plan on flying. It’s such a small thing to ask, and really is that simple!

  25. You say that the rules “disproportionately impact women”. Maybe what you mean is merely a symptom of women in general having a wider variety of outfits. I mean just walk into any clothing store (or mall) and compare the spaces dedicated to men vs. women. Even with more categories being prohibited I believe women still have more acceptable options to wear.

  26. Ooo Astoria. A “gas” infection you say. Pray tell what a “gas” infection is ;-)?

    I assume a stringent root cause analysis was carried out on this unfortunate patient since you are so adamant that she obtained this infection from the one time she went into public barefoot. Except it is highly highly unlikely that one was performed…

  27. Why hasn’t anyone commented on the lady who started it all. She tweeted without first find out the truth. Why did she not talk to gate attendant to enquire?. While United handled the situation badly, really badly i wish people would be responsible to fact check first

  28. United still stands behind their original tweet… Gate Agents are the final arbitrator of appropriate attire as per the Contract of Carriage. No dress code guidelines available for paying passengers.

    If I show up in slacks and the GA believes women should wear dresses, will I be denied boarding? Or will a man wearing a dress be denied boarding? In fact based on the UA tweet, if the GA believes women should wear hajib or burqua will I be denied boarding? Based on the non-revenue guidelines, I’m guessing this won’t be a real issue, but one rogue GA on a power trip could significantly disrupt a passenger’s travel while we request a supervisor to override. UA Twitter team opened this can of worms, and UA needs to address.

  29. Just sat next to UAL *non-rev* male fm EWR>SFO. He was wearing a spandex Lululemon long-sleeve pullover top that was form-fitting. Guess UAL gate agent forgot to stop him from boarding to explain co. dress code.

  30. This is extremely disappointing, journalistically speaking. You insisted this wasn’t a sexist issue on twitter, mocked the original writer, and got your ass handed to you by other commenters, male and female. And then you write this as though it were your own thought? I’d have more respect for your point of view had you mentioned it had changed along the way.

    And you deliberately neglect other facts the original writer proclaimed:
    –the 10-year-old DID change. She pulled a dress out of her backpack and put it on over everything else she was wearing.
    –the other two girls were young teenagers. At what age can one reasonable refer to a girl as a “young girl?” I’d say 15 and under is young girl, wouldn’t you?
    –The AGENT is not the one that is sexualizing, but instead the agent enforced a sexualized POLICY, biased against women. One which you yourself admitted to and took credit for thinking of all an your lonesome.

    https://medium.com/@shannonwatts/leggings-or-lives-what-drives-the-news-cycle-2cb48977efce#.rekegcr0i

  31. The dress code is only sexist insofar as you all are sexist for assuming women are the only ones wearing spandex in public.

  32. When I worked for United express and then later Airlines being a male pass rider I would have to wear a sport coat and tie, regardless of traveling in first, business and coach if I expected to be boarded. Glad to see that the dress code from the ‘good all days’ has relaxed quite a bit. I still appreciate folks who dress up rather than down on the occasions I fly.

  33. Non-revs pay next to nothing? When I (LH) fly C/Cl standby from Germany to the West Coast I have to pay close to $600 for the return. I am aware this sounds great for someone who has to pay full fare but “next to nothing”?

  34. I’m retired airline after working for 39 yrs.i believe in the dress code to this day.Dockers topsiders collared shirt and sports jacket stick a tie in the jacket pocket just in case.And yes it’s true we would get on in the Carib or Hawaii with a jacket and tie.Tie would come off only after checking with the number one flight attendant if it were ok to do so.she/he knew who was on the flight and there were time when I was asked to wear tie and jacket for the entire flight.Another thing non revs were asked to do is not bother the f/a s with requests.If there were a choice in meals we were to wait until all paying passengers selected their meal choices.I would normal just tell the flight attendants to surprise me.there were a few times when I received a coach meal in first class.I never complained.
    Passengers would be surprised but after I’d explain the situation they understood and thanked me for my discretion

  35. I wish that the general public would just stay out of our non rev world.
    You do not understand it nor do we want you to understand it.you fly in your world and we’ll fly in ours.We like our world the way it is.The employee who gave the young ladies the passes needs to sit them down and explain the rules to them. Thats it!!! The paying public flying on our flights need not get involved with company affairs.We thank you for flying on our airline and understand your concern but we can handle our internal affairs.please just sit back relax and enjoy your flight.

  36. It would be sexist if the policy stated specifically that it applies to a particular sex. Imagine a male non rev wearing spandex leggings that happens to get wood while on board? My oh my……and it’s no surprise that leggings on women show ass and taco, not a pleasant sight.

  37. With all the problems facing the world today, I find it interesting that issues like this
    Attract so many comments and opinions. Seems to reflect the results of an overly affluent society with nothing left to complain about

  38. @D74: That’s GAS (not “gas”) as in group A streptococcus. It can be a very serious infection.

    @John: I was IST a few months ago and saw Eddie Izzard run by in a suit jacket, matching shorts, and thigh-high black stripper boots with 4″ heels. Some people would no doubt have been offended, but all I could think was “Gurl, I admire your dedication, but you need some sensible flats for travel.”

    I agree with Peter that there are more rules for women because there are more clothing options for women. Frankly, I think all passengers should have a dress code, especially in premium cabins.

    I also agree with others that there are far too many social commentary posts these days. When people are given a soapbox they tend to use it, I guess. That’s one of the problems with the internet and social media. I’m sure more posts = more clicks = more money too.

  39. Part of United’s dress code states as prohibited:
    “Attire that is designated as sleepwear”

    I’ve been on many flights where the airline GIVES you sleepwear. On Etihad and Japan they encourage you to change into their provided sleepwear, and the flight attendants actually stand outside the bathroom while you change into the sleepwear!

    But United says you can’t wear: “Attire that is designated as sleepwear”

  40. The only reason the policy “disproportionately impact(s) women” is because women have disproportionately more clothing options. All articles of clothing prohibited of women are prohibited of men. Men can’t wear leggings either.

  41. Thank you for chiming in on this incident! I work in the hospitality industry along with many of the posters here and it continues to amaze me how many people need to have rules/common sense posted and explained to them. Trust me, NO ONE needs to see you in your bikini or lingerie in the lobby with bare feet, even though you can argue that it is completely fine and not hurting anyone. When I travel, I am proud to represent my company and am aware of and THANKFUL for the benefits given to me as part of my employment. I respect airlines’ dress codes for team travel. I would not want my employees or team members embarrassing the brand either! Would a thin/average/fat woman or man wearing leggings/see-thru or not, offend me enough to cause a scene, no. Would it cause a flyer to choose a different airline with a better reputation next time? Perhaps. Besides, do we really want to get into crew members having to spend time measuring the minute nuances in legging opacity in different lighting? šŸ˜› *Can’t imagine leggings that most people would claim as “inappropriate”? Check out “23 Reasons Leggings Are The Worst” on BuzzFeed. Hilarious but really embarrassing! I’m embarrassed for them. Hopefully, you are too.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the person next to me on a flight wore SpongeBob pajama pants (sleepwear) and flip-flops. I do want to mention that I have seen numerous adults and kids trip over their own rubber flipflops and even getting them caught under their own rolling luggage!

    I just don’t agree with how this whole issue went down. If you are flying as a friend/family of a crew member and fail to read or just plain old don’t like the rules, you don’t have to fly on that buddy pass. If you are a crew member and feel the same way, there could be a good possibility that your fellow mates would agree with you. At that point, why not bring the issue up with your team leaders/corporate before badmouthing your company all over the internet?

  42. Woops that’s not the website I meant for y’all to check out for legging fails. It’s here “When leggings go wrong, it looks like this. I lost it at number 4” on the Damn website.

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