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World
27 Mar 2017

United Airlines: Carrier slammed for barring girls in leggings

No leggings allowed on United Airlines?

American United Airlines was widely criticised after it barred two girls from flying on a Denver-Minneapolis flight as they were wearing leggings.

Activist Shannon Watts tweeted a gate agent was "forcing" five girls, one aged 10, to change clothes or wear dresses over their clothing.

Three were reportedly allowed to fly after they put on other dresses on top.

In context

No leggings allowed on United Airlines?

The United Airlines statement in defence

United defended its decision, saying the girls were travelling on a pass for employees and dependents, which have a dress code. Regular passengers can wear leggings, it clarified. The code bans "form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses", apart from exposed midriffs, mini skirts and flip-flops.

United decision provokes mass outrage on Twitter

Twitter

United decision provokes mass outrage on Twitter

Watts accused the airlines of sexism and sexualizing young girls, considering their father, reportedly dressed in shorts, was allowed to travel.

Calling the move "terrible", actor Patricia Arquette tweeted in response to United's defence, "Leggings are business attire for 10-year-olds."

Model Chrissy Teigen also defended the girls, saying, "I have flown United before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress."

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Flight attendant and author defends United Airlines

Flight attendant Heather Poole (not a United employee) defended the decision, saying dress codes for passengers travelling on passes are common. "Women? Everyone has to follow the dress code. No shorts. A few years ago we had to wear collars and no jeans," she tweeted.

Leggings

America's 'leggings' debate

Leggings are considered comfortable clothing by many, while others view their form-hugging material as obscene.

Various schools across the States have faced backlash after banning them, or making wearing a skirt or dress over them mandatory.

In October 2016, hundreds of women in leggings protested after Alan Sorrentino of Rhode Island wrote a newspaper article saying adult women look "bizarre and disturbing" in leggings.

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