United Airlines inadvertently entered a public relations storm on Twitter this week that few companies could have come out of unscathed. People were enraged about passenger dress standards and the airline was left trying to pick up the pieces with its pants down.
In case you didn’t hear about it, United was accused of not letting passengers fly because they were wearing leggings. It all started when Twitter user @shannonrwatts witnessed a group of girls not being allowed to board because they were wearing leggings and made a tweet about it. It quickly went viral when United responded with their Contract of Carriage, pointing out they had the right to refuse travel to anyone "not properly clothed". Given how popular leggings are with female travellers, people were naturally concerned about how far the rule went.
What transpired was less black and white. Two of the girls, both teenagers, were asked by the gate agent to change out of their leggings because they were traveling on staff passes that have dress codes. These rules don"™t apply to regular paying passengers. The other girl in question, a ten-year-old child, may not have even been asked by United to change out of her leggings. United stated yesterday that her family may have confused instructions given to two teenage girls ahead of them in the queue. At the time of writing this it"™s still not clear whether she was asked or not.
Regardless of who did what, United’s decision to reply with their dress code policy for standard passengers created unnecessary confusion about whether the airline was policing pants…