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United Airlines has been heavily criticized on social media after two girls were reportedly barred from flying for wearing leggings. The popularity of leggings has increased since its inception in the early 2000s.  There are mixed reviews about whether it is appropriate attire at churches and schools.  But, this is the first time a major airline has taken a stance.

The incident happened on a flight from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday morning, activist Shannon Watts said.  It raises the question about what limit private companies have on setting parental expectations.  Is it “okay” to discipline another person’s child?

A United gate agent was “forcing” the girls, one of them aged 10, to change their clothes or wear dresses over the leggings, she tweeted.  To be fair, these travellers were “United pass” participants.  They were supposed to follow the employee dress code.  According to United, company employees or eligible dependents, it explained in a Twitter exchange on the issue.

The Storm on Twitter

Shannon Watts, founder of the group Moms Demand Action for gun reforms, tweeted about what happened to five girls when they tried to board a flight at Denver airport.  Please note that these children had adults waiting for them.  They had already purchased their tickets.

Watts said three of the girls were allowed to fly after putting dresses over the top of their clothing.   But, the other two were not allowed to board. “Since when does United police women’s clothing?” she said.


United was not available for public comment.  But, we expect there to be some sort of statement soon.  What do you think?  Is it a safety hazard or code violation that these girls dress as they did?  At what point do citizens rights stop and private company rights start?  Although it is a private airline, travel is something regulated by public funds.

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