American Airlines Passenger On $2,000 Ticket Denied Boarding Over Skimpy Attire

An American Airlines passenger says she purchased a $2,000 ticket but was denied boarding over the clothing she was wearing. Gate agents called police. She complains that she’s being refused boarding over a ‘dress code’ but the airline ‘refuses to show’ her the dress code.

She insists the officer “understand how [she’s] feeling.. just because someone says ‘I’m offended by what this girl is wearing, I don’t care.”

One of the reportedly four police officers who responded explains to the woman that “they can deny boarding for any reason” which is not, in fact, true.

American Airlines rules say that passengers must “dress appropriately” but there’s no guidance about what this means other than that “bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.” Front line employees are left to exercise their own judgment, which varies, and passengers rarely think that the clothing they’re wearing is “offensive” or else they wouldn’t be wearing it. Opinions vary! (American’s rules also ban passengers with offensive odor “unless it’s caused by a disability or illness.”)

Subject dress codes come up frequently across U.S. airlines. For instance,

Yet we often see far more flamboyant or skimpy attire on planes. Here’s women in swimsuits checking in for an American Airlines flight while the carrier’s agents are like ‘no big deal.’ This is an airline with a hub in Miami, after all! Rules in Dallas are very different than in Miami!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. The airlines either need to say they have a dress code that is a documented and shown to passengers when they buy their ticket (not buried in fine print in the contract of carriage) or they should defer to the local laws and regulations and basically if the outfit wouldn’t get you jailed for indecent exposure allow it.

  2. If it’s legal to wear on the street, then it should be tolerated as attire on a domestic flight.

  3. What does the cost of the ticket have to do with anything? Is it appropriate or isn’t it? That’s the only metric.

  4. It looks kind of like night club wear. I wouldn’t be upset if she was seated next to me as long as she kept to her seat and didn’t interact with me except in a mutual agreeable way. If she wanted to chat, I probably would enjoy talking to her. This is a gate agent problem and an airline policy problem. I wonder if a much younger gate agent would have had the same objection. I doubt airport police ever take the side of the customer.

  5. @Michael … “appropriate” to who ? Personally , I enjoy when they wear skimpy attire , IF they are attractive . I could even sit next to them if they are wearing a negligee ; wouldn’t bother me .

  6. For some reason, claiming to have paid $2k for their ticket appears to be a “go-to” argument for problematic AA pax. Reminds me of the DFW “male karen” freakout who, after being denied boarding for being angry and wasted, repeated ad-nauseam “I paid TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS for my ticket!!!!” For those interested, see below. Definitely one of my all time favorite airport freakouts.

  7. Looking at it again, she should have fastened closed her coat before going through the gate and kept it closed until after take off. Then she could open or take off extra garments. Unfortunately you have to manage other people’s expectations in some cases. Just like getting a ticket for speeding, create a stink if you want the officer to remember you in court. Do your best to be generic if you want the officer to have a hard time remembering you (I won on a ticket by doing this while representing myself, ending up with the officer perjuring himself while in the witness box.)

  8. @jns … I was pulled over for going too slowly on my country road whilst holding a girl with my right arm . No ticket .

  9. When will airlines learn that if you can wear it on the street, you can wear it on the plane…

  10. …and to think in the 50’s and 60’s people used to “dress-up” because they were flying on a plane!

  11. Companies need to post things in clear language as to what is or isn’t allowed and it should never be up to the judgement of an employee.

    Too many companies seem to make up rules as they go and aren’t penalized for it. Anything from dress to hotels not honoring reservations due to events jacking up rates and they want more money.

    Living in a poor time where common sense and enforcement is lacking.

  12. When it comes to flying in the US or on a US carrier these days, the bottom line is you don’t want to do anything to stand out in any way. You want to be as close to invisible to airline personnel as possible, because if you register on their radar then you open yourself up to being subject to their often randomized, inconsistently-applied wrath. I’m not contending that this is a good state of things, but rather that it’s just the way it is. What you paid for your ticket or what class you’re flying in does not impact this much, if at all.

  13. People need to respect themselves a bit more and not look at themselves as 2 legged animals.
    A little self dignity would prevent people from dressing in a way that shows that their only value is skin deep.

  14. To all the Fifi Le Hooks out there, if you want to board that flight without incident, leave the bare boobs and bare ass covered. Or choose another mode of transportation. I do not want to sit in the seat that your bare ass was just in. It cannot possibly be that hard for you to put clothes on.

  15. She has a suitcase full of clothes. Put something else on and get on the flight. Complain once you get to where you are going.

  16. 1. You forgot to include the link to her OnlyFans account.
    2. Hard to tell what she’s wearing in the final shot, but those ta-tas look like they could use help.

  17. Two things; (1) paying $2000 to fly on American Airlines, and (2) saying “I don’t care” when told about her obviously inappropriate attire attest to the fact that she is a typical mentally challenged liberal.

  18. If it’s OK in public elsewhere in society it should be OK on an airplane. Airplanes have not been special dressy places for years. The big problem, unless she actually was violent before the excerpt seen here, is calling the police (and the police responding) over their customer service issue. Police should respond to crimes, not to made-up dress code violations.

  19. Leave it to David Miller to bring politics into it. Keep your MAGA garbage to yourself and stay on topic classy guy!

  20. @Gary: The airline can ABSOLUTELY deny boarding for any reason! The police are not there to determine what the rules/policies/rights of passengers are or the contract of carriage says; the plane belongs to the airline, and if the airline doesn’t want you on it, law enforcement is going to remove you.

    If the airline is wrong, you can figure that out with them / in court later.

  21. @Alert, I’m not opining on her outfit. I don’t have an opinion on it. I’m pointing out the cost of the ticket is irrelevant. You cannot get on a flight visibly impaired or verbally assault other passengers and claim you should get a pass because you happened to have $2,000 in disposable income.

  22. @Alert, also you are contradicting yourself. Attractive to whom? Attractive is as subjective as appropriate attire. In other words you wouldn’t mind if she was attractive, but would complaint to the crew if she wasn’t? What if the crew finds her attractive but you don’t? Who gets to make that call? I don’t mind if someone wears a shirt with profanity on it. But I do mind if my kids are traveling with me and have to read it. Appropriate is also a judgment call, and the crew and GAs get to make that call.

  23. @davidrmiller: SIEG HEIL!

    @raehl: precisely correct – there are no rules – and the Captain can override anything any other employee says about whether or not you are flying on that plane

    @daveS: in the post 9/11 world, if an airline calls the police, they respond as if a crime has occurred; and failing to obey an airline employee is a criminal offense; the law is what an airline employee says it is

  24. Spell it out! I am fine with businesses having more restrictive dress codes than society at large, but they need details. “Appropriately” is extremely subjective and should not be in a rule unless it’s either in reference to some standard (say, appropriate medical treatment) or there’s no way to reasonably enumerate the details. (Say, use of force in self defense. Every situation is different–even if there was some way to enumerate them the result would be a law too complex for decisions that typically must be made in a second or two.) Vagueness should always favor the accused.

    As for “respect themselves” and “self dignity”–how can you appear in public without your bursa on?? Disrespectful, do you have no dignity?! Obviously, that’s not what most readers of my words will consider wrong–but you’re making exactly the same argument just from a different reference point. Not everyone considers the human body shameful.

  25. @Loren

    The human body is not shameful. It’s just the very superficial presentation of who a person is.

    Being human means that you have gone through challenges, experiences, and relationships throughout your life. You have grown and become a smarter, better person. You are not just some skin on a skeleton but a deep and complex individual.

    There’s nothing wrong with looking your best, but when one dresses a way which insults ones’ depth of character, it downgrades their humanity and turns them into an good looking animal.

  26. She’s dressed like a lady of the night. With the lack of a protective layer of clothing on her I’d be afraid crabs might be able to easily crawl off of her and onto nearby passengers.

  27. From its hubs in DTW and ATL, Delta flies its distinguished, discerning guests to premium destinations around the world.

  28. Hagbard Celine — This quote by Euripides – “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish” — emphasizes the importance of discerning when it is futile to engage in rational discourse with individuals who refuse to embrace reason. Hagbard, he is talking about you….

  29. @David R. Miller Do you really have to make every comment about your own bizarre political views? I’m sure your health insurance covers mental health services. Avail yourself of them.

  30. @Jimmy

    Maga is the only rational thought left in Weimerica.

    @Hagbard Celine

    Nazis were leftists.

  31. It’s really offending and hurting my eyes.

    A fat woman should never trying to expose her bowling balls and think that it’s sexy.

    It’s not sexy, it’s DISGUSTING.

  32. She dressed for a specific reason – to get attention and create a buzz. That’s all these people care about these days – getting themselves on video. This world has gone batshit crazy if it’s clicking to see this drivel.

  33. Funny how enforcement of these ‘dress code’ rules only seem to apply to women. Beyond that, never understood why anyone would gaf about what someone else wears.

  34. @David weirdo Miller – why inject politics into this discussion? Not.relevant, necessary or mildly useful.

  35. It’s about time!
    Have some decency.
    Thank you AA for standing up for the rest of us.

  36. Crantract of carriage.

    Appearing to everyone that your Hooker means that you’ll most likely be trying to get some work in the air. Still federally illegal. Everything on a plane is federal law. Put a coat on if you’re a Hooker. She doesn’t appear to be high class enough to maybe get away with it. More like C or D grade.

  37. I’d love to see a formal dress code that included “no dressing like a hobo, no unwashed men with scraggly beards that may be home for pests, no dressing like a whore / stripper, no bare skin within 8 inches of any body orifice below the neck”

  38. This is a tough one for any company. How does a company define “dresses like a whore”? Someone define “decency”. It’s a “catch 22″…damned if you do…damned if you don’t”. One can note that restaurants sometimes have a sign, “No shoes. No shirt. No service.” Does that mean that “no pants” is OK? I’m no prude but I don’t want to sit next to someone for several hours with BO, over perfumed/cologned, boobs splattered all over the place, crotch uncovered, and swatting flies with the eyelashes or a man showing his “junk” to all who can see. Decency is highly subjective so…how does the airline cope with this problem? People don’t realize that the way one dresses can also mean the difference between life and death by the way they are dressed. Pajamas, flip flops, shorts, etc. I can assure you that in case of an emergency situation, this broad will be either killed or severely injured.

  39. Why is it so hard for “women” to dress appropriately? Maybe because of all the ads that show females dressed half naked with slinky outfits that show everything. Because it is worn on the street does not deem it okay for an air- plane. Babies in pjs is one thing, but over 16 in pajamas and swim wear, or work out clothes, even crop tops is unacceptable. Why is it so hard for a woman to put on a pair of pants and a tee shirt without any swear words. Families traveling do not want their kids to see or hear cuss words, or some half naked influencer who thinks she is better than everyone else. The airlines are just hurting themselves by not making the dress codes more specific all the way around. In the above video, I agree she should not have been allowed to board, for even a 4000.00 dollar ticket…….wholly inappropriate.

  40. Weird she has that case with her but doesn’t have a single piece of clothing to put on so that she can board? Frankly airlines need to clearly state the dress code. Like no swim suits, no lingere, no exposing X body parts, no swear words on clothing,no exposed midriffs,, no see through clothing that exposes areas of the body that are not allowed to be exposed, no clothing inconsistent with local laws etc. It really doesn’t seem that difficult to set out the required dress code. Absent a clear policy local laws at departure/arrival should control.

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