Are leggings pants? The debate is still up in the air, literally. When United Airlines temporarily barred two girls from their flight because of their leggings on Sunday, all hell broke loose.
Shannon Watts, an activist and mom of five, witnessed a gate agent at Denver International Airport turning away two teen girls and another who was about 10 years old from their flight to Minneapolis because the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate. The younger girl put on a dress from her backpack and was allowed to board but the two teens were turned away when they did not have any other clothing with them.
In a series of tweets, Watts, who was waiting for her flight to Mexico, wrote that the gate agent "said she doesn't make the rules, just follows them. I guess @united not letting women wear athletic wear?" and "Apparently @united is policing the clothing of women and girls."
A 10-year-old girl in gray leggings. She looked normal and appropriate. Apparently @united is policing the clothing of women and girls. https://t.co/RKsIFoE8pq
United defended the gate agent's decision, saying the airlines reserved the right to deny service to anyone its employees deemed to be inappropriately dressed in Rule 21 in its Contract of Carriage. They also said the dress code policy applied to "pass travelers"—United employees, or their dependents, traveling for free on a standby basis.
Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United, tells the New York Times that because pass travelers are representing the company, they're not allowed to wear spandex leggings, tattered or ripped jeans, midriff shirts, flip-flops or clothing that shows their undergarments.
“It’s not that we want our standby travelers to come in wearing a suit and tie or that sort of thing,” Guerin said. “We want people to be comfortable when they travel, as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment.”