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United Airlines: Customers 'welcome' to wear leggings

United Airlines: Customers 'welcome' to wear leggings

The other two girls boarded a later flight after finding a change of clothes.

Shannon Watts was waiting for her own flight when she saw a girl at a neighbouring gate being stopped from boarding.

More on the story ...

A spokesman for United Airlines, Jonathan Guerin, told NBC News that the women included two teens. The dress code means passengers flying under an employee travel pass can't wear spandex or lycra trousers, which are pretty standard loungewear.

Pass riders have a stricter dress code to board. But the airline was standing by its policy for pass travelers because they are essentially representing the company, he said. "But when flying as a pass traveler, we require this pass traveler to follow rules, and that is one of those rules".

A spokesperson for the airline said the ladies wouldn't have been turned away had they been paying customers.

Pass riders are United employees or dependents of employees, travelling for free or at a discount.

The popularity of leggings among girls have made them a target for many school district dress code policies across the country, to the ire of many parents.

Arquette wrote in a series of tweets, "Why aren't you allowing girls to wear leggings on flights?" According to United's Contract of Carriage, United crew is allowed to remove a passenger from an airplane if the passenger is "barefoot or improperly clothed". "Issue is 3 kids, one only 10, got singled out & punished for wearing ordinary clothing as girls. why defend this?" asked another tweet.

In an email to Revelist, Southwest Airlines spokeperson Thais Hanson confirmed that they have an "employee travel privilege policy". "The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel".

Airlines know how to throw some social media shade, too.

Watts told the Times that she noticed the teenagers scuffle at the gate next to hers.

Watts criticised the rules and said: "This behaviour is sexist and sexualises young girls".

"As the mother of four daughters who live and travel in yoga trousers, I'd like to know how many boys United has penalized for the same reason", she said on Twitter. Employees must wear clean and neat clothing, but can wear jeans, sneakers, and shorts.

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