What can you wear on a plane? Well, that depends on who's paying.
Sunday, a United Airlines gate agent
blocked two girls from boarding because they were wearing leggings while
flying "non-revenue" on an employee's free pass. But the damage was
done and outrage ensued online. (United's Twitter post above - from
last summer - highlighted the confusion and irony. Currently, the airline remains resolute and won't apologize nor change it's passenger dress rules re. "non-revenue" passengers.
It was an issue that divided the country.
On one side were the absolutists, "rules must be followed at all costs" crowd. On the other were the "airlines shouldn't police kids' clothing" crowd.
-Gate agents shouldn't deny the boarding of kids and teens in public, it can o
-In this era of social networks,
using authority to create a public scene over what appears to be a
questionable practice is likely to create a PR disaster.
-The United Airlines social media team is terrible.
-It's bad business to alienate a large portion of the population.
Delta's social media team swooped in to take advantage.
-The incident brought up the changing
culture of air travel - involving high-density seating, deep vein
thrombosis risk and the necessity of stretchy, travel clothing.
-It's an American tradition to protest and question authority.
Back in 2011, Delta faced similar outrage when it billed US Army soldiers returning from Afghanistan almost $3,000 in bag fees.
servicemen spoke out about their experience on social media. And,
although the Delta agent was following company policy regarding extra
bag charges, we saw a much different response and outcome from Delta
This spectacle also exposed the shadowy underworld of non-revenue passengers.
Who are these people?
may never know, because it's very secretive. When these "non-revs"
travel, they never, ever disclose it to anyone. Only the gate agent at
check-in will notice it in the system - that this person is flying
standby for free.
Who are the benefactors of free flight? Usually it's for the following people:
airline employee, their spouse or domestic partner, their parents,
their dependent children up to age 22. Additionally, there are flight
buddy passes, up to 24 each calendar year, for use by anyone the
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We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.