A Rundown of What Went Down With United Airlines' Dress Code Fail

Here’s everything you need to know.

Who knew leggings could be this controversial? 

On Sunday, an United Airlines gate agent wouldn’t allow teen girls in leggings to board a flight unless they changed or covered up what they were wearing. Naturally, the situation sparked major online backlash, with celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Patricia Arquette weighing in on the issue. (If the 2013 Lululemon PR nightmare taught us anything–remember when CEO Chip Wilson fat-shamed his customers?–it’s that women will fight to the death to defend their right to wear stretch pants.)

Here, a rundown on everything that has happened so far.


The situation garnered attention when Shannon Watts, founder of grassroots movement Moms Demand Action, first tweeted that a gate agent wouldn’t allow girls in spandex to board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis. 

United replied to Watts with a rather poor response, stating that the airline has “the right to refuse transport for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed.”

The airline then followed up by explaining that the teens were “pass riders,” otherwise known as family or friends of an airline company employee who travel at a discounted rate, so they’re expected to follow the same dress codes as employees.


Why are leggings so objectionable? According to an official statement from United, leggings are unacceptable for employees and pass riders. “When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United. And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow,” read the statement. “The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel.”

Meanwhile, leggings are, uh, welcomed if you’re a regular customer. (And they’re certainly the de facto weekend uniform for most women in Los Angeles, if not the country.)


Tweets of frustration and mockery toward United came pouring in from celebrities like Patricia Arquette, Chrissy Teigen and Sarah Silverman.

Delta also weighed in on the matter with a cheeky response.

Source: lstyle