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United Airlines Stopped Three Girls From Flying Because They Were Wearing Leggings

A United Airlines representative said they were not in compliance with a dress code required for "company benefit travel," which is available to United employees and their eligible dependents.

Originally posted on
Updated on

On Sunday, activist and Shannon Watts tweeted that a United Airlines gate agent at Denver International Airport had stopped two girls from boarding a flight because they were wearing leggings, and made a third girl change in order to board the flight.

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


"She's forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can't board," Watts tweeted again.

She also noted that "[t]heir father, who was allowed to board with no issue, was wearing shorts."

“I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them," Watts overheard the gate agent say, according to another tweet. Watts, who did not respond to an interview request from BuzzFeed News, said one of the girls was 10 years old and dressed in "gray leggings" that were "normal and appropriate."

A United airline representative told BuzzFeed News that two out of a party of three were not in compliance with a dress code that applies to "company benefit travel," which "means they were traveling with the travel privileges" afforded to United employees and their eligible dependents.

The spokesperson confirmed that the individuals were wearing leggings, and the leggings ban applies only to travelers on "company benefit travel."

In a tweet, United noted that "these were United representatives. We hold our employees to the highest of standards."

Many on Twitter were quick to call the move unnecessary, sexist, and absurd, and some vowed to boycott United.

.@united is losing my business. H/t @shannonrwatts

People began to find evidence of United promoting its airline using pictures with people in leggings and yoga pants...

Journalist/Platinum flyer here, @United: You block girls in leggings from flights but you're promoting yourself w/T… https://t.co/BuSCShMSjp

...and found an in-flight safety video with people wearing "leggings and bathing suits."

@shannonrwatts There are women in leggings and bathing suits in a recent @united safety video. https://t.co/b1xByiCZ3f

@shannonrwatts @united funny, United Airlines encourages this type of attire when it suits their marketing needs https://t.co/NSMGcJ44vf

Others posted about the irony of airlines making rules about women's outfits.

@shannonrwatts @MsNursePetty @united this is more acceptable

And then celebs even started weighing in.

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.

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


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

Hoping the capitalize over the social media uproar, Delta got in on the action on Monday.

Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings. 😉)

BuzzFeed News will update this post if we hear from Watts.

Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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