Stricter dress codes for employees' guests not uncommon among airlines

United Airlines faced backlash from customers Sunday after two girls wearing leggings were not allowed on a flight because the gate agent said their attire was inappropriate.

United Airlines was the target of major online criticism yesterday after barring two girls from a U.S. domestic flight for wearing leggings in an apparent breach of their clothing policy.

The airline, which is part of United Continental Holdings, sparked anger on social media following the decision to deny entry to the girls at Denver International Airport.

Regularly ticketed passengers are not subject to the same dress code and can wear leggings, Guerin said. But the airline confirmed regular-paying passengers are welcome to wear leggings on United flights.

Pass riders are the friends and relatives of employees who get free or discounted air travel and have a more formal dress code and some supported United in defending its policy.

A traveller who witnessed the incident took to Twitter.

Delta doesn't list which clothes are are prohibited specifically for their non-revenue passengers, but say they should be polished and should not be vulgar.

The incident was live-tweeted by Shannon Watts, another passenger waiting to board her plane.

Guerin called the gate agent's actions appropriate and said that because the women were flying as "pass riders", their attire didn't meet the airline's stricter requirements for such travelers.

On Twitter, the airline said it encourages "no swimwear, sleepwear or underwear as your outerwear". The airline explained that it allows employees to extend their free-flight privilege to friends and family, whom it refers to as "pass riders".

"I applaud @united for making those girls change their leggings", comedian Jim Norton said on Twitter. "Just a top as a dress", wrote Teigen. In a release the airline stated, "To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome". Employees must wear clean and neat clothing, but can wear jeans, sneakers, and shorts. I don't care what kind of passengers they were.

  • Salvatore Jensen