United Airlines had some confusion last year over whether or not passengers in yoga pants were allowed to fly. They are.
But did you know there’s an airline where men aren’t allowed to travel in shorts? Forbes.com writer Jordan Bishop discovered that this week while trying to fly Jakarta – Riyadh – Istanbul on Saudia.
King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh
He checked in, spent time in the lounge, and then went to board. Once he reached the front of the line,
When I got to the front of the line, though, the gate agent gave me an awkward look. “Umm, sir,” he said, looking around to his colleagues. “Can you step over here for a minute?”
I obliged, unsure of what the issue could be, and waited patiently for his manager to come over. “Sir, I’m afraid we can’t allow you to board,” the manager said firmly. “You cannot fly with Saudia wearing shorts.”
…”Do you have any pants you can change into?” the gate manager asked me.
He didn’t have pants, so he was informed he could not board because Saudia has a dress code that says passengers must be “clothed in a manner that is inline with public taste or not offensive to other passengers.”
He wasn’t entering Saudi Arabia, just transiting the airport. And apparently shorts would be fine once on board but not during the boarding process.
Bishop insists he should have been informed of the requirement earlier, such as when he “entered the Saudia lounge” although of course Saudia has no lounge of its own in Jakarta and uses contract lounges and Garuda Indonesia’s lounges there. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to flag this in his confirmation e-mail, but most people don’t read those anyway.
Paddle Your Own Kanoo points out that the airline used to be more explicit with their policy,
It turns (from an earlier but now redacted version of the dress code) that men wearing shorts is one example of offensive attire. Women who don’t cover their legs or arms, or wear too thin or too tight clothing can also apparently be denied boarding.
Saudia Boeing 777, Copyright evrenkalinbacak / 123RF Stock Photo
Ultimately he made the flight, running down the terminal and buying a sarong That Saudia was apparently comfortable with.
Delta promotes travel on its partner Saudia. When they came under criticism for partnering with Saudia over the airline’s stance towards Jews, Delta said they would not codeshare with Saudia or offer recirpocal frequent flyer benefits although they list Saudia as a codeshare partner and honor Saudia elite members through SkyTeam. Maybe Delta could help out and warn Americans about the no shorts rule?
Now if only we could ban men flying in flip flops.