Passengers should dress appropriately for a flight, most fliers agree

Business-class fliers on a United Airlines flight to Hawaii in 2011. Most fliers say passengers on commercial flights should dress appropriately for a flight.
(Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times)

The days when all travelers put on their Sunday best to fly on a commercial plane are long gone, but most fliers still believe that airlines have the right to kick you off a plane if you are not dressed appropriately.

Even if the flight crew doesn’t ask you to deplane based on what you wear, airline experts say your clothes will determine how you are treated in the cabin.

A survey of more than 2,000 fliers by the travel review site found that 59% of air travelers believe airlines have the right to kick a passenger off a plane for not dressing appropriately, with 34% disagreeing and 7% having no opinion.

Airline representatives say flight attendants and the pilot have the final say in what is “appropriate” dress for a flight.


In May, a burlesque dancer who goes by the name Maggie McMuffin said she was evicted from a JetBlue Airways plane preparing for a Boston to Seattle flight because she was wearing extra-small striped shorts.

And she is not the first to clash with a flight crew over clothes. Green Day guitarist and vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in 2011 after he refused to pull up his sagging pants.

George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, said travelers shouldn’t be surprised that the flight crew treats passengers differently based on how they dress. After all, he said, some flight attendants and pilots grew up in conservative parts of the country, where short shorts are frowned upon.

“Some airline people resent how decorum has been thrown out the window,” he said.

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.


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