Can airlines ban passengers from flights because of what they’re wearing?
How much thought do you give to your attire before boarding a plane? Does it normally revolve around comfort? Are you aware that some airlines have strict rules that could see you being denied boarding the aircraft?
Tasteless T-shirts and tops with plunging necklines are not the only items of clothing that can cause offence. Pants that were too saggy saw one man asked to leave his Spirit Airline flight from Chicago to Florida. Leggings were deemed to be unacceptable to United Airlines when two teenage girls were refused travel because their clothes violated United's dress code policy for ‘pass travellers’ – a company benefit that allows employees and their dependents to travel on United flights for free on a standby basis.
And the rules apply just as much as to celebrities as to cattle class travellers. JetBlue airline officials recently requested model and social media star Iryna Ivanova ,who has more than four million Instagram followers, to change her clothes, as her knitted skirt was exposing her underwear.
Ditto rock star Billie Joe Armstrong, from the band Green Day, who was kicked off a Southwest flight for refusing to pull up his pants.
The policy of many airlines is to deny boarding to any passenger wearing ‘lewd, obscene or patently offensive’ clothing. However, this can leave a lot of room for interpretation, especially with airlines that have much stricter dress codes due to cultural sensitivities.
One Saudi Arabian airline made headlines last year for enforcing its strict dress code and refusing to fly ‘women exposing legs or arms, or wearing too thin or too tight clothes [sic], and men wearing shorts exposing legs’.
And it’s not only what you wear that can trigger a flight ban, the amount you wear can also be an issue. A man travelling from Iceland to England was banned and ultimately arrested at Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport for attempting to board his flight wearing eight pairs of pants and 10 shirts to avoid excess luggage fees.
And for anyone accessing flight lounges, a whole new dress code may apply.
If you’re concerned, play it safe and/or check the dress code for the airline you are flying with. It’s better to be safe than grounded!
Have you ever been asked to change your clothing when boarding a flight? What was the problem?
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