Recently there have been several articles about passengers made to change clothes or even kicked off flights for “inappropriate dress.” The offenders have been accused of showing too much cleavage, wearing t-shirts with profanity, and sagging pants. Of course, part of the problem is that these standards aren’t written down anywhere visible, are purposefully vague, and are applied unevenly. According to an AP article on the Minnesota Public Radio site, US Airways says that passengers who pose a “threat to the comfort and safety of other passengers or employees” may be denied the right to board, and that it’s “not an issue of dress code, but of disruption.” Which I take to mean is that it’s really only an issue if someone complains.
I’ve seen people who have distracting clothing on flights, including cleavage, profanity, and sagging pants. Do I think those people could show better judgment? Of course. Can airlines ask people to cover up? Sure, I guess. But should they be kicking people off flights? And more, should they be kicking people off of flights simply because another passenger complained about their outfit? (It makes me wonder—why would they draw the line there? Why can’t we complain about people who put on too much cologne, and have them kicked off the plane? Or people who are super rude? But I guess that’s a question for another day.) The guy with the sagging pants was actually arrested for refusing to pull up his pants, which seems like an extreme overreaction.
(Check out CNN’s take on appropriate clothing for travel.)
Readers, what do you think? What’s appropriate and inappropriate attire for flying? Should airlines be able to kick passengers off of flights for what they’re wearing?