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Diatribe: Woman Asked To Cover Cleavage Before Boarding Flight To New York.


The duties of a flight attendant on a major airline are very important.  To maintain the passengers they must learn, understand and implement many FAA regulations.  There are many airline employees that do a perfectly marvelous job of providing customer service and safety at the same.   Nonetheless, I’m frequently annoyed by flight attendants.  Often, they exhibit personality traits similar to those of Austin Powers inasmuch as they appear to be mad with power.  They’re not all self-appointed law enforcement officers (as are many crossing guards) but, certainly, there are those who some might say take their work just a bit too seriously.

Earlier this month, a woman dressed in a black cotton dress, a flannel shirt and a scarf boarded an early morning  Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to New York.  During a polite chat with an airline worker she was told that her cleavage was inappropriate and that she would not be able to board the flight unless she buttoned up her flannel shirt.

She declined to cover up and boarded the plane anyway.  It had been 115 degrees in Las Vegas during her stay and most people were dressed to stay cool.  The woman simply wanted to be comfortable as she travelled and she was, unnecessarily, judged by an airline employee.

 “I initially chose [Southwest] because they were by far the cheapest option.  However, if the hidden cost is that I or other passengers will be shamed or judged without official policy to back it up, then it’s not worth it.  I was by no means fashion plate of the century with that get-up, but I wasn’t trying to be.  I was just trying to board quickly and safely, and catch up on my sleep in-flight — just like everybody else.” – Customer who was asked to cover her Cleavage

Southwest Airlines, or any other airline for that matter, is well within their rights to impose a dress code for their customers.  They’re free to require all of their passengers to wear bunny ears or ‘coon skin caps but what is troublesome is that fact that an individual employee might prevent a traveler from boarding an airplane based on their personal opinion.  Rules of this nature should be made very clear to all customers before they purchase tickets.

A Southwest spokesperson, reportedly, stated that the airline offered the woman an apology and a refund “as a gesture of goodwill”, but that their Contract of Carriage allows them to refuse to transport a customer whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.

What’s a “Contract of Carriage”?  Who defines “lewd, obscene, or patently offensive”?  Why wasn’t this woman notified?

I’m not a fashion critic and I don’t think that’s the job of a flight attendant either.  Far too many of them forget that, without the passengers, their salaries won’t get paid and they need to treat them with a little more respect.  Not that all passengers are perfect angels, but they do pay a ridiculous amount of money for their tickets and should be treated better than they often are treated by airline employees … not like they’re trapped and at the mercy of disgruntled stewardesses.

It was just cleavage for goodness sake.

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. Roly permalink

    Bloody cheek. They would have a tremendous problem in Africa. Many big boobs and much cleavage 🙂


  2. And what do they do with young men whose pants are around the middle of their butts. Fashion is really the problem, or lack of it. And if you are going to have a dress code, you’d better let folks know about it.


  3. Last I checked Joan Rivers was the Fashion Police not some Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant.
    If that picture you posted is the woman, I don’t find it obscene or lewd or whatever else they’d call it.
    And i’d fly any other airline.


    • I believe that’s her. I wonder if the same flight attendent (I assume it was a woman) would react similarly to a buxom woman in a tiny cocktail dress on an evening flight. I know for a fact that the Las Vegas airport is chock full of characters!


  4. As you say: “Rules of this nature should be made very clear to all customers before they purchase tickets.”

    And it sounds to me like airline employees may need a refresher course in the policies they have in place on customer relations, to say nothing of basic civility and being polite. How rude!


    • I’ve, honestly, grown to detest air travel. I’d rather spend eight hours in my car with someone that I like that six hours in a crowd of rude cell-phone-shouting selfish inconsiderate vacationers.


  5. The airlines are constantly inventing ways to make airline travel unpleasant.


  6. anne marie in philly permalink

    nobody cares what you wear on amtrak. I have not flown since 1990 and I never will again.


  7. mary i permalink

    Good Grief is there not more important things to worry about?! Bless her for I am built the same way. It is hot out here. For shame on that woman, I wonder if she was fed from a bottle or????


  8. There are so many other things to worry about, leave people alone for how they look unless it is lewd or obscene.


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