Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) To Strictly Enforce Dress Code Including Women Not To Expose Legs Or Arms


Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has caused quite a stir when announcing on their website that they will now enforce a dress code that includes women being restricted from exposing arms and legs.

According to the airline these measures are put in place to “prevent discomfort or offense to other passengers” which also includes men from not being able to wear shorts.

Saudi Arabia isn’t known to be progressive but this most recent announcement by their national airline makes one wonder if they shouldn’t stop accepting international passengers altogether.

This is the original announcement that popped up on their website:

The post has since been taken down and now you’re only able to access the ‘Wellness and Travel’ section (see here).

It says there:

… Wear comfortable clothes when you travel. Tight-fitting clothes may naturally cause some discomfort and it is advisable to wear loose-fitting clothes instead. This is why we offer, on certain flights in First Class, comfortable pajama suits that you can wear for utmost comfort. …

This wording is a wholesale departure from the initial post which in all honesty is way over the top. Do I like how certain people dress (juicy couture sweatpants, barefoot, muscle shirts…)? No, many times I don’t. But to restrict people (including children) from wearing shorts or even going so far and saying that women aren’t allowed to expose their arms is insane. So a female traveler isn’t allowed to wear a Polo Shirt when flying Saudia.

And ‘too thin’ or ‘too tight’ clothing? Who is going to judge what clothing is acceptable in the end?

I wonder if the disappearance of the original post signifies a retraction from Saudia after the international backlash since their policy adjustment made headlines all over the place.

Saudia is a SkyTeam Alliance member and such a policy doesn’t really reflect acceptance of international customs. Once this has been implemented what will be next, making passengers (especially women) wear clothing according to Saudi social standards?


Maybe Saudia should re-think their medieval mindset or consider to only transport their own citizens who are used to the Saudi regimes oppressive rules. Mind you we’re talking about completely normal and tasteful clothing items here that are going to be restricted.

I’d be highly interested to see the outcome of a court case when Saudia denies a passenger boarding due to completely acceptable, non offensive clothing (by the standards in the country of origin) which still violates their rigid new dress code. I’m pretty sure that a European court would force the airline to pay denied boarding compensation in such a case. This is discrimination and nothing else.

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  • Kflik

    agreed, but actually “completely normal and tasteful clothing items” can be not normal and not tasteful for someone, depending on culture/background etc.

  • Ryaies

    Isn’t the aircraft considered an extension of the originating country? in that sense, by stepping into the aircraft, you are in the space of Saudi Arabia, while I don’t agree with how things are done there, I do think we should at least respect their culture (with the proper dress code)

    • Kflik

      this is true, but the question is how we know what’s proper dress code. If it was like “‘too thin’ or ‘too tight’” what it means?
      It is ok if it should only suggest proper dress code, but if there is risk of being removed from the aircraft rules should be clear.

    • Dianne Fecteau

      If they want the fares of international passengers, that is, if they want to play in the world at large, then they need to accept that the world at large does not share their backward thinking as to what women should wear.

    • Mohammed

      Great. Well then you should know that it isn’t illegal to wear shorts in Saudi.

  • dchl

    Don’t like? Don’t fly!

    • Rob van Cutsem

      So you are saying tolerance should only be a Western or Asian value? There is no airline that would kick someone of a flight for wearing a Hijab or other Middle Eastern dress apart from maybe a Burkah. And that would only be for security issues.

      • dchl

        There isn’t “the” tolerance or “the” value! People are different all over the world – your value is not necessarily my value. If I don’t like restrictions of countries, airlines etc., I don’t go. That’s what I’m saying…

        • Rob van Cutsem

          Nonsense, there is of course a discussion of tolerance and values. If you want to play in the international arena, follow international rules. If you want to remain in the 6th century in mindset, don’t fly airplanes. Mohammed used a flying horse, not a Boeing….
          No way a Western country would not allow you in for wearing Middle Eastern garb, so i feel no way a Saudi airline should be allowed to refuse passengers for wearing acceptable western clothes.

  • Aaron

    ‘may be removed from the flight at any point’… What, like mid flight???

  • Gary Gray

    This will not help Saudia becoming a hub like AUH or DXB, not that anyone at Saudia wants to.

  • MB

    you may fly another airline if you dont like it

    • Roald Van der Laan

      Agree and nothing is wrong adaption to a countries habits but the issue is that should work both ways which is not. So a polo on SAL is an issue but Muslim clothing in Brussels cannot be discussed. That’s what is wrong here

    • robdubluu

      Oh I will. Oh I do. Saudia can fuck off

  • jakpott

    As a frequent passenger on SV and ALFURSAN gold, I see nothing new here.

  • Max Mustermann

    Do they serve pork belly in this airline?

    • Roald Van der Laan

      And Jack Daniels?

  • Roald Van der Laan

    Dress code

  • Roald Van der Laan

    Dress code for western airlines No Muslim clothing

    • robdubluu

      Reply of the Year Roald!!!!!

      Well done!

  • Guess who?

    Great post Sebastian. Reasonable reminder of the sorts of “values” we (er. da west) share with our dear Wahhabist allies. And yet another reason to fly Qatar Air. 🙂

  • Jeff Wilders

    A lot of westerners are also offended by raghead wearing women and girls. But we put up with it. They can also put up with it in our countries.
    When people flaunt their religion in front of others it is an affront. And it is a RELIGION not a relationship ! Show me your faith by your works not by your dress or lack thereof.

  • Adam Romani

    “Maybe Saudia should re-think their medieval mindset”
    Study history, and discover what the Muslim mindset was in medieval times.

  • Gaijinsan

    Dry airline, so my spouse and I would never be flying them anyway.

  • robdubluu

    Bloody Arabs, mad as a cut snake.

    • M c

      Shame on you for badmouthing the most decent people on earth. Your comment say slot about you.

      • robdubluu

        Bloody arabs, all mad as cut snakes ha ha, have a laugh Mohammed or Mustafar or is it Mahala or Mahbooba, whatever, lighten up sweetheart

      • Adrian Świątek

        The most decent terrorists. We have enough of your aggressive religion. If You don’t like our lifestyle go back to your goats.

  • Yukon

    What a joke…even restricting alcohol is tooo mch for me. I personally like to decide if I want to drink Champagner when in C or F or not.
    I am not a drinking person but I am choosing if I do or dont not someone elses religion.
    The same for clothes.
    I never even considered flying SAA for that reason and will not in the future. I am often traveling alone and as a blond woman I am deciding what I am wearing, drinking and eating not some religions of others. I am not seeing the point why a polo and tight jeans or a skirt is offending to other people – maybe a bikini is worn inflight. People who travel international and find that offending should stay in their countrys,

  • Citizen of the World

    Every time I watch people trying to fit their hand luggage into the overhead bin above my aisle sit I wish there was a dress code. I’m not enjoying that view of private parts revealed up my face.

    • Joseph Kelsall

      I enjoy it!

  • Citizen of the World

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I find it highly offensive to be around men on a mission wrapped up in white towels (can be spotted in IST airport travelling towards Saudi Arabia). Surprisingly, a towel is considered to be piece of clothing in the Middle Eastern mentality.

  • Mohammed

    They already had that since people started wearing shorts and girls removing their abaya’s at the second the plane takes off.

    This absurd requirement is enforced all over the place by security companies which is just stupid in such a warm climate.

    This is not illegal or against Saudi’s customs, it’s just extremist’s propaganda gone wild. Heck my old uncle used to wear so short clothes that his balls were exposed most of the time. Disgusting, but no one objections, which shows that it isn’t against our customs.