A young woman traveling on JetBlue from Boston to Seattle was forced to herself extra clothing at an airport kiosk after ground staff and crew found her shorts to be too skimpy to fly.
Some airlines reserve themselves the right to refuse boarding to passengers who wear offensive and inappropriate clothing boarding, even though they don’t publish a specific dress code of what exactly would be unsuitable. This creates somewhat of a grey area.
The woman told ABC News (access here) that she is a Burlesque Dancer and hence the outfit.
A JetBlue passenger is accusing the airline of “body-shaming and slut-shaming” after she says she was told her shorts were too skimpy for the skies.
The passenger, a burlesque dancer who goes by the stage name Maggie McMuffin, says she was about to board a Seattle-bound JetBlue flight in Boston on May 18 when a crew member told her she would have to change her clothes because her black and white shorts “may offend other families.”
McMuffin says she tried to reason with the crew member, suggesting some possible ways to cover up. “[I said], ‘I could tie a sweater around my waist,'” she told ABC’s Seattle affiliate, KOMO-TV. “‘I could get a blanket from you guys.’ And they said, ‘If you don’t change your clothes, you’re not going to be able to board this flight.'”
She says she was eventually allowed to board the flight after buying new clothing at a kiosk.
This is how the outfit looked on the day of travel:
I have to say there isn’t really anything tasteful about it but I’m not the fashion police and certainly wouldn’t feel offended by this outfit. I can see a problem though that sitting in economy some passengers bare legs are rubbing onto me which appears inevitable given the cut of her shorts.
Two weeks after the incident, JetBlue is standing by its decision, saying that after “the gate and onboard crew discussed the customer’s clothing,” its employees determined “other families” might have been offended by the outfit.
“We support our crew members’ discretion to make these difficult decisions, and we decided to reimburse the customer for the cost of the new shorts and offered a credit for future flight as a goodwill gesture,” the airline said in a statement released to ABC News today.
McMuffin said no gesture could wipe away the shame she felt as a woman allegedly being told to cover up.
I’m sure JetBlue only engaged in this customer service gesture due to the media attention to the case. Nevertheless as far as the passenger is concerned I can’t really see a valid point in her complaint. She is not ashamed to go and use public transport in such an outfit but when she gets called out on it there is embarrassment? Irrespective if she is a professional dancer or not, it doesn’t mean that she has to fly in her work attire.
It’s not unusual that people dress in obscure ways while going traveling and as much as I hate seeing pink sweatpants and people acting like the aircraft is their living room I don’t consider it my right telling them how to dress up.
The airline is a private business and if they feel other customers need to be protected by excluding certain ‘under-dressed’ passengers then it’s up to them. However I would prefer if airlines start a campaign and make this rule visible on their website.