#Leggingsgate: What Really Went Down on That United Flight

United Airlines recently took a stance for in-flight decency by barring two 10-year-old girls from their flight because they dared to wear leggings

Ishani Nath
United Airlines leggings: A photo of a United Airlines plane taking off
(Photo: Getty)

Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts before we take off into yet another story of companies attempting to dictate what women wear.

United Airlines is the most recent offender, after they were called out on social media for barring a few 10-year-old passengers from a flight because they dared to don *gasp* leggings.

Apparently a gate agent flagged the young passengers for their supposedly offensive travel wear and—according to a tweet by activist Shannon Watts—told them to change or put a dress on over their fully covered limbs. In a real-time tweet storm that read like a Margaret Atwood novel, Watts reported that one of the girls was able to cover up enough to satisfy the gate agent, but her two fellow 10-year-old buds were not and were removed from the flight.

“I don’t make the rules, I just follow them,” the gate agent said, according to Watts’s tweet.

United responded saying that the impromptu makeover was needed because the girls were travelling with the airline’s employee program as friends and family and therefore had to adhere to a dress code—one where athleisure doesn’t fly.

Except that’s not really the case. As one user on Twitter pointed out, the regulations outlined by United Airlines simply stipulate that “pass riders” must be “properly clothed,” but what that means is left up to the discretion of the gate agent. Chrissy Teigen eventually weighed in with this tweet. 

Related: All the Times We Loved Chrissy Teigen For Keeping It Real

“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,” United Airlines said in a statement. “To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome.”

Now, I’m not sure about you, but I think Sarah Silverman makes a good point. And with so much press already surrounding hard-to-understand travel bans, why can’t humble, unassuming leggings just be welcome for all?

While the age-old debate over whether leggings can be pants rages on, one thing is for certain: there is nothing inappropriate about a 10-year-old in leggings. What is inappropriate, though, is telling them otherwise and shaming them in the process.

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