• A United flight takes off (GC Images)Source: GC Images
The US carrier has come under fire for its questionable policy on what it deems to be 'appropriate' attire for females to wear during a flight.
Sam Carroll

27 Mar 2017 - 2:44 PM  UPDATED 27 Mar 2017 - 2:51 PM

United Airlines recently stopped two young female passengers from boarding a flight after airline staff judged that their leggings did not meet the American company's dress-code standards, according to a report by the BBC.

Witnesses claimed that one of the barred passengers was a girl as young as 10 and while the duo was eventually allowed on the flight, they were only allowed to do so after they changed their clothes.

News about the ban quickly went viral. Flight passenger and gun safety activist, Shannon Watts, witnessed the incident that occurred this week at Denver, Colorado, and soon tweeted about it.

United Airlines responded to Ms Watts' tweets on social media, stating that they were well within their rights to deny transport to passengers who do not meet their dress code requirements. They claimed that the passengers in question were flying as United Airlines 'pass travellers': travellers who represent the airline when they fly and are thereby bound by a dress code. 

The airline later released a statement clarifying their position on their website, maintaining that regular customers are still permitted to wear leggings.

"To our customers…your leggings are welcome..." the statement said.

"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...

"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... to our regular customers, your leggings are welcome."

Social media reaction

The company was blasted on social media for their questionable views on 'suitable' fashion, with Academy Award winning actress Patricia Arquette among those expressing their ire.

Dress codes gone mad?

The United fiasco corresponds with another incident in the United States in October 2015 where more than 40 girls were sent home for failing to adhere to dress standards set at Tennessee's Mr. Juliet High.

School rules stated that skirts, dresses and shorts must come down to at least three inches above the knee, with regional school spokesperson Amelia Hipps telling The Tennessean:

“The bottom line is, the tops weren’t long enough - it didn’t have anything to do with the leggings, it was what was (worn) over the leggings not meeting student dress code.”

Another was in Rhode Island where a letter to the editor of The Barrington Times called yoga pants "the worst thing to ever happen in women fashion" when worn outside the yoga studio - with local woman Jamie Burke organising a protest, which was attended by hundreds of women, girls and other supporters. 

In Australia Lynda Reid was denied entry to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) Member's Reserve in January 2014 after her hemline was deemed to be too brief as per the dress code.

The SCG trust went on to clarify what fashion was appropriate in August later on in the year, removing any notion of shorts, skirts etc. being of a "respectable length".

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