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United Airlines Polices 10-Year Olds’ Pants’ Choices–Won’t Let Them On Flights

March 28, 2017

You would think that the airlines have a tough enough time managing their customers amid safety concerns, but it appears that 10-year old girls in leggings are the most dangerous airline foe around. Fearless girls in leggings attempting to board flights that their employee-parents purchased? Gate agents told the girls their leggings were too tight. While Reuters, quoted below, asserted the “girls were fine with the po0liy” the treatment, and it was only a passenger complained, but Reuters has no factual evidence from the girls to support this. Way to go, Reuters, “reporting” innuendo:

The girls, who were flying standby on Sunday from Denver to Minneapolis using free passes for employees or family members, were told by a gate attendant that they could not get on the plane while wearing the form-fitting pants. 

Passengers using the passes are considered airline representatives, United Air Lines Inc spokesman Jonathan Guerin said, subject to a dress code that prohibits sleep or swimwear, torn clothing and revealing attire.

The girls were fine with the policy, Guerin says, but a traveler named Shannon Watts who overheard the exchange took offense.

Watts was further incensed when another woman who was listening told her 10-year-old daughter to put a dress on over her leggings, apparently thinking United’s policy applied to all passengers, not just those flying free.

Her subsequent tweet storm, which accused the airline of “policing women’s clothing,” quickly went viral, with celebrities such as model Chrissy Teigen and actors Seth Rogen and Patricia Arquette decrying United’s stance.

After the incident, United’s mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram exploded from its average 2,000 daily mentions to 174,000, nearly 70 percent of them negative, said Kellan Terry, a spokesman for the social media analysis firm Brandwatch.

121, 800 people didn’t think it was “fine” to tell young girls they had to change out of leggings because they were too tight. Many people, over a 100,000, in fact, are tired of the pressure put on women, and now on young girls to obsess over what they wear. Here is how to make girls even more paranoid about their appearance– don’t let them fly in leggings.

My own daughter was hassled the last time she flew. (You can read about it here.) She is refusing to fly now. She says that airports and airlines single out girls. It appears she is right.

Delta Airlines published an excellent burn on Twitter:

Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings. 😉)

United, rather than stating a benign response to Twitter comments, began an ill-fated (and woefully unprepared) Twitter feud with commenters who were irate over United’s policing of young girls’ clothing, whether flying on a buddy pass (parent who works for the airline purchases ticket) or in general. And the response from Twitter commenters was much more adept than from those at United:

We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees! That’s all! Cool, right? 

United’s response on Twitter was such a huge botch that United’s Twitter failure was reported as a news story:

As for the fuss that’s erupted over United’s weekend incident, Harteveldt wonders if the airline could avoided much of that with a better social media response. The incident only seemed to gather steam after United responded to the first tweets about the situation not with a gentle explanation, but rather by citing the company’s “contract of carriage” and its “right to refuse transport for passengers” who don’t meet criteria spelled out there.

“United flew itself into a social media mountain on Twitter,” Harteveldt says. “They absolutely failed in every regard in their Twitter communications. United’s responses are partially responsible for this escalating into the controversy it has now become.”

Instead, Harteveldt suggests United would have been better served with a “benign” acknowledgement of the initial tweet and a pledge to look into it rather “than digging in their heels and handling it as they did. It did nothing to help the airline.”

Perhaps United Airlines missed the Fearless Girl statue in New York, but it appears a little girl has the power to terrorize even the most hallowed corporations, entire airlines included.

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