United Airlines Dress Code: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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It’s been a rough day for United Airlines. The country’s fourth most popular airline is taking a hammering on Twitter following reports that two 10-year-old girls were refused seats on board a flight for a bizarre reason. Moms Demand Action founder, Shannon Watts, tweeted a play-by-play of the incident, which occurred at Denver airport on the morning of March 22. Watts says that the airline wouldn’t let the girls on board until they covered up the leggings they were wearing. The plane was destined for Minneapolis.

The airline has responded to the controversy by saying that the girls were United pass travelers. That indicates that they are related to a United Airlines employee. UA said this morning, “There is a dress code for pass travelers as they are representing UA when they fly.” A later statement said, “The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel.”

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The Pass Traveler Dress Code Bans ‘Form-Fitting Lycra/Spandex Tops, Pants & Dresses’

The pass traveler dress code does indeed ban “form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dress.” The policy concludes, “Customer service’s judgment will prevail in all matters pertaining to the dress code.”

In response to United’s “dress code” statements, Watts countered, “The father had shorts on. Two young women in leggings booted from a flight and a girl had to put a dress on over leggings in order to board.” The dress code says that shorts are allowed as long as they “do not meet 3 inches above the knee when in a standing position.”

2. United Has Encouraged the Wearing of Spandex Pants in an Ad Campaign

United Airlines Yoga Tweet


Watts tweeted that the reason the girls were given was that “spandex is not allowed.” CNN contributor Jeff Yang pointed out the irony of such a policy by highlighting this United Airlines tweet:

A company spokesman, Jonathan Guerin, told NBC Denver, that spandex pants are fine for regular paying customers. Guerin told the station that he wouldn’t be disclosing the dress code publicly.

3. Watts Has Accused the United Officials of Causing ‘Panic’ During the Incident

While speaking to the New York Daily News, Watts said that passengers were sent into a “panic” over the incident. Watts added, “These were not private conversations, they were happening in front of everyone. (Passengers) looked frantic as the flight was boarding… I’d like (United) to understand that leggings are part of a woman’s attire in modern day America. It is not inappropriate or sexual.”

4. Christy Teigen Said She Once Boarded a United Flight Without Wearing Pants

Chrissy Teigen American Music Awards, American Music Awards 2016, American Music Awards Red Carpet 2016, American Music Awards Best Dressed, American Music Awards Worst Dressed, AMAs 2016 Red Carpet


As United Airlines continues to take a pounding on Twitter from celebrities, model Christy Teigen shared the news with the world that she once boarded a United flight without wearing pants. Here’s that and some of the best zingers sent United’s way:

5. Earlier This Year, Spirit Airlines Dress Code So a Woman Kicked Off a Flight for Showing Too Much Cleavage

In January 2017, a Florida woman was kicked off of a Spirit Airlines flight because of her attire. The woman, Brenda, 21, told ABC Miami, “It’s not even about money. I was really embarrassed.” The station says that a passenger on the flight, from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, told them Brenda was removed because “her bosom was too exposed.”

While a Spirit Airlines spokesman says that Brenda was removed from the plane because she was drunk.

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  1. United Airlines as well as other airlines have rules. Those rules are different when you are flying of a guest of an employee as this family was. If you are a regular full pay traveler you can wear your legging, but as always, if you are a guest of an employee etc you have to comply with those rules. Its business attire! Also you are aware of those rules before you board that plane. It is the responsibility of the employee to explain to their guest about the dress code when flying stand by. I have flown under those same rules for American airlines as a guest. These are the rules for this airlines and they were right to enforce those rules. Again, if you traveling as a guest it’s different then if you are not. Plz get a copy of guest flying rules then comment.

    • But it’s NOT business attire. Jeans and shorts are specifically acceptable. T shirts are acceptable. And do you actually expect a 10 year old to wear a pantsuit?

  2. I have a medical condition that doesn’t allow me to wear normal shoes because they make me hurt, I can only use flip flops even in the middle of winter. I have ulcers, they hurt really really bad without anything touching them, so because of this stupid dress code I wouldn’t be able to fly. This is discrimination.

    • If you are flying for free or an extremely reduced rate as a guest of the company (of which United is one of many with these rules) and the company’s employee, I would suspect that you are aware of the rules of this employee perk ahead of time and have that conversation before throwing a fit in the airline terminal. This is an employee perk and subject to different rules and expectations than a customer purchasing a ticket. This is what makes the opinion and statement of Christy Tiegen and every other moron who can’t seem to grasp that concept meaningless.

    • Veronica they make socks for flip flops now!! Leaving ulcers exposed and open like that you are just inviting bacteria and dirt and everything else into those ulcers!! Do you tell your Dr you walk around that way. I’m sure he/she would oppose it. Even house slippers with socks would be more appropriate. Your ulcers should be dressed and kept covered too so they can heal. You should be seeing the nurses and therapists at the wound and burn center at your hospital. It is really gross to see exposed and open sores from the person sitting next to you on a plane. I realize you have a lot of pain because my My had RA and her feet were awful with a few open sores but keeping the ulcers exposed to the filth and bacteria on the ground is wrong. No wonder they won’t heal. At least put socks on!!

    • If the rules of the airline company is too hard for anyone to follow, please pay a full price tickets for your airfare and you have every right to ware what ever you want. Since the discounted or free airfare is a privilege for employees and their families or friends they should comply to the company rules.

  3. They were using the same type of pass that employees use. So they were held to employee standards. Grow up.

  4. So an airline gives a great benefit to employees and their families and people are outraged because they are asked to follow a dress code, this is ridiculous. That is why benefits are lost and everyone always wonders why.

  5. You know leggings for little girls came about because girls wear dresses and the only way to keep them from exposing their panties and backside was to use leggings or shorts. Also wearing a dress can be mighty cold and this was a way to keep their legs warm. I can understand leggings on women especially an over weight woman being rejected but for little girls no!! There are many many different types and styles of leggings out there for little girls and most of the time they don’t show underwear. I would much rather see a little girls in nice leggings than seeing her panties when she puts her legs up on the chair or whatever. Little girls like little boys are very active and I think you need to change your dress policy for little girls. You think jeans are nice but I’ve seen a lot of women and men in jeans with the jeans so tight you can see every crack and every. It of fat and every roll that exists on men and women. You need to change your policy or clarify it because it’s wrong!!