DENVER — Two teenage girls were barred by a gate agent from boarding a United Airlines flight from Denver to Minneapolis because they were wearing leggings.
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the girls were not allowed onto the Sunday morning flight because they were traveling under an employee travel pass that includes a dress code.
That dress code bars pass travelers from wearing spandex or lycra pants such as leggings, Guerin said, though he declined to share the text of the dress code with the Chicago Sun-Times. Guerin says the teenagers agreed to change their clothing and take a later flight.
The Chicago-based airline’s actions sparked a backlash on Twitter. Activist Shannon Watts of Denver tweeted that she witnessed Sunday’s events and questioned United’s decision to police women’s clothing.
Watts said the girl’s father was allowed to board while wearing shorts and called the airline’s policy sexist.
“None of this applies to our regular customers,” Guerin said. For them, he added, “leggings are welcome.”
But the airline was standing by its policy for pass travelers because they are essentially representing the company, he said.
“We would ask the same of pass riders who were wearing flip-flops or who were wearing clothing that revealed their undergarments or torn, tattered jeans,” Guerin said.