United Denies Boarding To 10 Year Old Girl in Leggings

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United Airlines finds itself in some hot water after one of their gate agents denies a young girl boarding for wearing leggings on a flight. It sounds like she was flying on a buddy pass, which the airline imposes certain dress code restrictions for using their passes.

It’s not uncommon for airlines to have dress codes in place for passengers traveling on passes. For instance over at Delta, the airline doesn’t allow swimwear or sleepwear to be worn.


Per the New York Times,

United Airlines barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight on Sunday morning and required a child to change into a dress after a gate agent decided the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate. That set off waves of anger on social media, with users criticizing what they called an intrusive, sexist policy, but the airline maintained its support for the gate agent’s decision.

The girls, who were about to board a flight to Minneapolis, were turned away at the gate at Denver International Airport, the company said on Sunday. United doubled down on that decision, defending it in a series of tweets on Sunday.

United has responded with the following statement: 

We care about the way we present ourselves to you, our customers, as we believe that is part of the experience on board our flights. One of the benefits of working for an airline is that our employees are able to travel the world. Even better, they can extend this privilege to a select number of what we call “pass riders.” These are relatives or friends who also receive the benefit of free or heavily discounted air travel – on our airline as well as on airlines around the world where we have mutual agreements in place for employees and pass riders.

When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United. And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow. The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel. We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code.

They ended by saying “To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome”

Please feel free to weigh in your thoughts on this incident if you think the girl should of been denied boarding or not. 

Hat Tip: Point Me to the Plane

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. You want to fly on a buddy pass – you follow the rules. Want to wear leggings, buy a ticket. What is there to discuss?

  2. This story doesn’t deserve the play its getting, especially with sensationalistic headlines like yours, which make no mention that they were pass travelers. Click bait! As a former United CSR, I had plenty of difficult interactions with uninformed buddy pass travelers who weren’t aware of the rules. It happens all the time, and the employee who gave them the passes (but didn’t tell them they had to know the rules) will likely have their travel benefits suspended, or worse. But none of the deserves the publicity it got because of one Twitter user who THOUGHT they knew what they were witnessing. A lot of underserved bad publicity for United.

  3. CLICK AND BAIT HEADLINE. This article is piece of garbage. IT NEEDS TO INCLUDE “PASS RIDERS/BUDDY PASS PAX” IN THE HEADLINE. I don’t work for UA. But I stand with UA on their decisions. In fact I believe those 2 girls don’t deserve another buddy pass trip. Don’t like the policy. Don’t use “buddy pass”. Buy th damn ticket. And stop those stupid sensational headlines.

  4. I gave you the click to see if you, as a travel blogger, were really “that late to the game” and posting about the poor little girls because you weren’t aware of what is now readily known on the internet (and posted by another Boarding Area blogger) with regard to these travelers being on a buddy pass.
    Upon reading the first paragraph of your post, I realized that you are not behind the curve on this, you just wanted the clock bait.
    Shame on you and a mental note to me to not bother with your BA posts.
    Well done…

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