Does United Airlines have the right to kick teens off for wearing leggings?

News of United Airlines’ decision to bar two teen girls from their flight from Denver to Minneapolis because they were wearing leggings spread quickly on Sunday, sparking outrage on social media and a swift defense from the airline.

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A United Airlines plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport.

Here’s the deal: Under normal circumstances, leggings are permitted for passengers. But because the teens were traveling under an employee travel pass, meaning they were flying for free or sharply reduced rates because someone they know is an employee, the dress code was different for them. In addition to prohibiting form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses for pass travelers, sleepwear, flip-flops and miniskirts are also prohibited for anyone flying on a pass.

“We would ask the same of pass riders who were wearing flip-flops or who were wearing clothing that revealed their undergarments or torn, tattered jeans,” United spokesman Jonathan Guerin told the Associated Press.

 Airlines have long instituted stricter standards for pass travelers, but should those standards to be applied children and teenagers? Many on Twitter didn’t think so.
“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board. Since when does @united police women’s clothing?” tweeted Shannon Watts, @shannonrwatts, who witnessed the incident at the airport. She also noted that one of the girls’ fathers was permitted to board the plane wearing shorts.
As news of the incident spread, celebrities also weighed in.
“We here at @united are just trying to police the attire of the daughters of our employees!” actor/comedian Seth Rogen tweeted. “That’s all! Cool, right?”
Still, United has stood by its decision, responding repeatedly to those asking questions with: “United shall have the right to refuse passengers who are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage.”

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