PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A United Airlines gate agent barred two girls from boarding a flight from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday because they were wearing leggings, setting off a social media firestorm.
The girls were turned away at the gate at Denver International Airport, catching the attention of another traveler.
1) A @united gate agent isn't letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
Watts, who is the founder of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, updated her Twitter followers throughout the ordeal with a series of follow-up tweets.
2) 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?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
Watts said the gate agent said "she doesn't make the rules, just follows them." Watts said the girls were allowed to board "after being forced to change or put dresses on over the top of their clothing."
3) Gate agent for flt 215 at 7:55. Said she doesn't make the rules, just follows them. I guess @united not letting women wear athletic wear?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
.@united They just boarded after being forced to change or put dresses on over the top of their clothing. Is this your policy?— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
Watts then accused the airline of "policing the clothing of women and girls."
United Airlines replied to Watts on its Twitter account.
In our Contract of Carriage, Rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers who ... https://t.co/52kRVgaCyb— United Airlines (@united) March 26, 2017
Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United, confirmed that the girls were told they could not board the flight because their leggings violated the company's dress code policy for "pass travelers," an airline benefit that allows United employees and their family to travel for free on a standby basis.
Guerin told the New York Times that the girls "made an adjustment" to their outfits and waited for the next flight to Minneapolis.
Celebrities had a field day with the controversy on Twitter.
I have flown united before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress. Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 26, 2017