All major US airlines have a dress code that passengers are required to adhere to in order to be allowed to board their plane. However, experts note that these rules are often ‘vague’ and left up to the discretion of airline employees.
Adam Anolik, who specializes in travel law, previously told The Washington Post: ‘Different airlines have their own policies regarding dress, but they are often vague and leave an exorbitant amount of discretion to the airline employees.’
On its website, American Airlines offers very limited guidance about what outfits are deemed appropriate for travel, saying simply in its ‘conditions of carriage’ that passengers must ‘dress appropriately’, adding that ‘bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed’.
Both Southwest and JetBlue deny passengers dressed in ‘lewd, obscene, or patently offensive’ garments, while Delta says travelers will deny those in attire that ‘creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers’.
In the past year alone, several travelers have fallen foul of these ‘vague’ regulations, with many taking to social media in order to blast their respective airlines for branding their outfits ‘offensive’ or ‘inappropriate’.
In July 2021, Turkish bodybuilder Deniz Saypinar, 26, claimed that she was banned from an American Airlines flight because staff found her sports bra and denim short ensemble too inappropriate
In July last year, a Turkish bodybuilder and fitness model living in the US revealed that she was stopped from boarding an American Airlines plane in Texas, claiming that staff had told her she was too skimpily dressed.
Influencer Deniz Saypinar, 26, who moved to the US to avoid the conservative surroundings in her homeland, claimed she was banned from boarding her flight to Miami because the authorities found her outfit inappropriate.
The bodybuilder got stuck at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas after American Airlines flight attendants deemed her fashion sense unfitting.
Outraged, Saypinar took to social media to share her ordeal with her one million Instagram followers and said: ‘You will never believe what happened to me at Texas Airport.’
In a teary Instagram story, Saypinar criticized the staff and claimed they called her ‘naked’ while displaying the outfit that caused staff to choose not to allow her onto the flight.
The fitness model explained how she was told by flight attendants that her style ‘disturbed other families’ at the airport.
American Airlines is not the only company to come under fire from passengers over its dress code however.
In October 2020, a Playboy model and mother-of-one accused Southwest of ‘discrimination’ after she was kicked off a plane with her seven-year-old son because of her revealing outfit.
Eve J Marie, 26, was flying from Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, alongside her seven-year-old son on October 29, when the flight attendants asked her to step off the plane.
In October 2020, a Playboy model and mom-of-one accused Southwest of ‘discrimination’ after she was kicked off a plane because of her revealing outfit
Eve J Marie, 26, was flying from Dallas, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, alongside her seven-year-old son on October 29, when the flight attendants asked her to step off the plane
The Instagram influencer and Playboy model was wearing a low-cut leopard print outfit that showed off her ample cleavage, which the crew claimed was against the dress code policy.
Eve documented her experience on Instagram, sharing a clip of herself at the airport preparing to board her flight, before posting a follow-up video in which she hit out at the airline for what she says was ‘discriminatory’ treatment.
‘When they threatened to remove me off the plane if I didn’t have a change of clothes,’ Eve said of the incident. ‘I felt completely humiliated, embarrassed and highly offended.
‘I’m an A list member for [Southwest Airlines] and have a credit card with the airline and I have perks that allow any person travelling with me to fly free because of my high status with the airline.
‘So even as being a loyal customer with them, I felt like the other women on the plane were judging me based on my attire and they were saying my breasts are too large. Well, that’s something I can’t help.’
In January 2020, another plane passenger accused United Airlines staff of ‘humiliating and harassing’ her after she was nearly banned from a flight because of her low-cut shirt.
Andrea Worldwide was boarding a flight from Denver, Colorado to Newark, New Jersey on January 13 when a male employee stopped her from getting on the plane, she shared on Facebook.
In January 2020, a woman said she was ‘humiliated’ when United Airlines staff nearly banned her from a flight, claiming that her clothes were inappropriate
Andrea Worldwide was boarding a flight from Denver to Newark on January 13 when a male employee stopped her from getting on the plane because of her low-cut shirt
She was eventually told that her shirt was too low-cut — and only after that humiliation did employees change their minds and let her on the plane.
‘I am a professional woman, who employs hundreds of other young professional women, which is why I have decided to take a stand and speak out about the unacceptable behavior of United Airlines staff,’ Andrea wrote on Facebook, while sharing photos of her outfit.
‘I didn’t want to post this, but given the lack of attention to this issue by United, I am given no other choice. ‘
Andrea went on to reveal to the CBS Denver affiliate that she regularly travels to see her long-distance boyfriend in Puerto Rico and has even earned special member status for how many miles she’s clocked with the airline.
She usually dresses the same way, and for this flight wore a black top with a low-cut neckline, which showed a bit of her bralette underneath.
Over that, Andrea was also wearing a cardigan and a scarf, which easily could have been adjusted to cover her chest.
‘For those wondering what ELSE I had on-as friends and family members I contacted did ask me right away-I was also wearing an oversized scarf, a knee-length cardigan, leggings and sneakers,’ she explained on social media.
But as she was trying to board the plane, an employee had her step aside.
‘Last week I was denied boarding onto my flight out of Denver by a male United gate agent,’ she wrote. ‘At first I thought it was because I had a ripped ticket, but I later learned that it was because of what I was wearing.’
In September 2021, Ray Lin Howard, 33, from Fairbanks, Alaska, accused Alaska Airlines flight attendants of harassing her after she was removed from a flight because she was wearing a crop top
The plus-size rapper and stylist claimed she was told her crop top was ‘inappropriate’ because it showed her stomach
Alaska Airlines has also been called out in the past for its dress code policy, with passenger Ray Lin Howard, 33, slamming the airline’s staff in September 2021, after she was kicked off a flight for wearing a crop top.
Howard, 33, from Fairbanks, Alaska, recorded herself being interviewed by police officers after allegedly being escorted off of an Alaska Airlines flight. On Saturday, she shared the footage on her TikTok account.
In the video, the plus-size rapper and stylist accused Alaska Airlines flight attendants of repeatedly harassing her about her ‘inappropriate’ outfit, which consisted of a crop top and shorts.
Ray explained that she was wearing a sports bra when she was asked by a flight attendant to put on her shirt, which she did.
‘Then they approached me again, saying I can’t wear this, my stomach is showing, and it’s inappropriate,’ she added.
Cops were called after Ray was approached for the third time and told the airline crew: ‘If you’re going to kick me off, kick me off. I’ve done what you asked me to do. I want you to leave me alone.’
The salon worker and recording artist could be heard asked the officers to let her go because she was due to perform at a show.
The officers acknowledged that she didn’t seem to have committed any offenses from what they could gather.
‘I felt like I was being discriminated against for being a fat, tattooed, mixed-race woman, which in turn left me full of emotions like anger, disappointment, helplessness, humiliation, and confusion,’ Ray told Jam Press.