Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

United Airlines Fly Flap Grounded In Written Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 27, 2017

Like many, I recently read a couple articles about the dust-up involving United Airlines and their Dress Code for Employees who fly off-duty.

Most notably, the New York Times reported on the story, as of course, did others, and another unrelated passenger who took to Twitter to express their thoughts. The Times even interviewed the unrelated passenger, of whom they wrote, “The incident was first reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a passenger at the airport who was waiting to board a flight to Mexico. In a telephone interview from Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Ms. Watts said she noticed two visibly upset teenage girls leaving the gate next to hers. Both were wearing leggings.”

I confess that, in my haste, I made some remarks, in the form of questions, and later found a site which stated United Airlines’ policy for airline employees who fly off-duty at no cost to them as a benefit of their employment. United calls them “pass travelers” or “pass riders,” and sets guidelines for them. It should be noted, that the Military (most notably, the Air Force) has also had a long-standing policy for Service Members who travel on Military Aircraft, which they call “Space-A,” for Space Available.

One of the Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Space-A travel is:
Question 23: Do I have to be in uniform to travel?

Answer: Each service determines its own travel uniform policies. Currently, services except the Marine Corps permit appropriate civilian attire on DoD-owned or controlled aircraft. When civilian clothing is worn it should be in good taste and not in conflict with accepted attire in the overseas country of departure, transit, or destination, as defined by the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide. It should also be capable of keeping you warm especially on military aircraft. Passengers are also reminded the high heeled, open toed and “five finger” styled shoes may not be worn on military aircraft.

In a separate, but related, story, the New York Times wrote that, “United explicitly bans “form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses,” along with “any attire that reveals a midriff,” “mini skirts,” “bare feet” and many others.”

Following are my remarks BEFORE I found out about the policy.

Who determines what is “reasonable and respectable” for 12-year-old girls? One would imagine their parents. Let’s focus on them, rather than the airline (which “code” I think is preposterous anyway). And why is the author taking pictures of a 12-year-old girl’s derrière for the blog entry? Way too creepy!

UA’s Contract for Carriage, Rule 21 states air carriers can refuse a passenger boarding if they’re “not properly clothed,” yet their father accompanying them “had on shorts that did not hit his knee — they stopped maybe two or three inches above his knee — and there was no issue with that.” Is that screwy-dewey, or not? It sounds more arbitrary, capricious, and hypocritical.

So we’re now turning into the United States of Taliban?

If they have a dress code, why does it not specifically enumerate what is permissible, and what is not?

This reeks of arbitrary capriciousness.

My observations should ~not~ be misinterpreted to mean that I do not support the policy, but instead should be viewed as exposing a flaw in it… which the company should correct post haste. The correction being, that UA should enumerate with specificity what is permissible, and what is not.


I found a site which enumerates the policy.


Dress code

Pass riders’ overall appearance should be well-groomed, neat, clean and in good taste.

Attire should be respectful of fellow revenue passengers, employees and pass riders.

Pass riders may wear denim attire (such as jeans), shorts that are no more than three inches above the knee and athletic shoes when traveling in Coach or Business cabin.

The following attire is unacceptable in any cabin but is not limited to:

Any attire that reveals a midriff.

Attire that reveals any type of undergarments.

Attire that is designated as sleepwear, underwear, or swim attire.

Mini Skirts Shorts that do not meet 3 inches above the knee when in a standing position.

Form-fitting lycra/spandex tops, pants and dresses.

Attire that has offensive and/or derogatory terminology or graphics.

Attire that is excessively dirty or has holes/tears.

Any attire that is provocative, inappropriately revealing, or see-through clothing.

Bare feet Beach-type, rubber flip-flops


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