Southwest Pilot Lent His Shirt To Passenger In A Revealing Top. She’s Mad – And Got A Refund

A woman flying Southwest Airlines says a gate agent told her that the way she was showing her breasts was “lewd, obscene and offensive” and she wouldn’t be allowed to fly dressed that way. The flight’s captain lent her his t-shirt to resolve the dispute so she could reach her destination without further incident. Now she’s mad. She’s demand – and received – an apology from the airline. She even got her money back.

Kayla Eubanks tweeted out a photp of herself in the “low-cut black halter top” she wore.

She called the actions of the airline employee searching for the carrier’s rules “d[oing] cartwheels” to ensure she wouldn’t be able to fly and challenged: “How will my shirt impact my flight, for myself, the other passengers or even the pilot?” and opposes the idea of a dress code to fly,

Y’all have a dress code for CUSTOMERS who pay to get on a plane? It’s the constant policing of women’s bodies for me.

The captain handled things perfectly and with good humor, coming out to talk to the customer and opening with, “they’re hating on you because you’re looking good, is that right?” He asks if she has something she can cover up with if that’s going to be required, and offers his own shirt to try to help.

She took the captain’s shirt and put it on – but during the flight she removed it and reports she was told inflight that she’d “have to speak with a supervisor upon landing.” Here she is wearing the captain’s t-shirt.

The airline apologized to her, and says that “each situation is very different.” Their rules prohibit “lewd, obscene or patently offensive behavior, including wearing clothes that are lewd, obscene or patently offensive” but of course that leaves a lot to judgment about just what is lewd, obscene or patently offensive.

This passenger’s name was Kayla. It was 13 years ago that Kyla Ebbert had 15 seconds of worldwide fame getting kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for her outfit (which was far more modest). Back then they ran a fare sale based on the publicity,

Southwest Airlines today faces the bare facts and reveals the naked truth by issuing an apology to its Customers who have commented about its handling of a few who were dressed in revealing clothing. …Southwest has lowered its already skimpy fares to “mini-skirt” size of $49 to $109 one-way.

“Some have said we’ve gone from loving hot pants to having hot flashes but nothing could be farther from the truth, “said Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly. “The publicity caught us with our pants down, quite frankly. The story has such great legs, but we have an even better sense of humor, so we’re going to jump out there and lower our fares to match the mini skirts we’ve all been hearing so much about.”

Live and Let’s Fly points out that Southwest plasters Israeli model Bar Refaeli in a bikini on the side of one of their 737s, which I take as prima facie evidence that the attire in question doesn’t violate Southwest’s standards of what’s appropriate to fly.

Here are Southwest’s original flight attendant uniforms, designed by their original President’s wife. The airline’s ticker symbol is LUV. The peanuts they used to serve onboard were “Love Bites.” Their original ticketing machines were called Quickies.

The passenger was guilty of poor taste. But poor taste hasn’t stopped anyone from flying since deregulation. The rules are ambiguous, putting staff in an uncomfortable situation. They probably should have let this one go. The captain, though, performed admirably in my view.

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, 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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  1. I wonder if one of the passengers in the gate area complained to the LUV employees who were then put in a very uncomfortable position.

  2. She belongs on LUV’s “no-fly” list. The Captain deserves credit for offering a workable solution, which the passenger later abused.

  3. The captain made a bad decision. She was clearly unreasonable and uncooperative during his conversation with her. She should have been denied boarding. He is lucky that things did not escalate in the air when she decided to strip.

  4. The Captain was AMAZING. Wow. I don’t believe the passenger was unreasonable during the conversation. And the gate agents were wrong. There’s no question her dress would be offensive to some, but if we allowed that to be the standard, the airlines will have troubles.

  5. On the flights to hawaii, you’d be hard pressed to find a plane without anyone dressed like that.

    Bad taste is not a crime but what the airline did should be. Clearly she was being picked on.

  6. The airline was 100% correct. What she was wearing to fly was completely inappropriate and offensive to other people on the plane.

  7. It’s not offensive but it is inappropriate. The days have passed when people dressed up to fly commercial but there is still a minimal bar and that top falls below it. I’m betting WN apologized because they didn’t want to be on the opposite side of the race card.

  8. As far as I am concerned she can go around topless, Constitutional rights and all of that, as her breasts don’t infect others. She’s wearing a mask to protect others, and that’s the only important thing during this pandemic.

  9. Amy, just out of curiosity, I checked Lamaze and found COVID-19 does not appear to pass to a baby through breast milk. Nothing yet on whether any COVID-19 immunity is passed, but it appears breasts really don’t infect others (just follow other precautions – face mask, hand washing, etc.). Great for Africa where 95% of babies are breastfed.

  10. Inquiring minds want to know what passenger Kayla Eubanks was told by the Southwest Airlines “supervisor upon landing”.

    I’m guessing the supervisor said, “Thanks for flying Southwest Airlines. We are hiring flight attendants. Please consider working for the Southwest Airlines family. The captain says, keep his shirt with his compliments and, as a memento of you being on his flight. Have a nice day Miss Eubanks.”

  11. Well I think it would be better to make clear precise rules rather than the current ambiguity
    How about for men and women, girls and boys
    No visibility of nipples
    No butt cracks showing
    No camel toe

    There done, this woman would have passed that rule. Can I get an upvote?

  12. As twenty year veteran flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier, I will tell you our Flight Attendant Manuel (FAM) was very clear about dress codes for passengers. As purser I often was at the 1Left or 2 Left doors. I also would causally stroll throughout the cabin checking out the passengers, looking for potential problems as well as checking on able bodied passengers who could assist in an emergency situation. There were multiple occasions when I informed a passenger their shirt must be covered or worn inside out. A scantily clad passenger would be asked to either cover-up or deplane. No ifs ands or buts! Even if the majority or the passengers did not notice a man wearing only a Speedo or a woman in a bikini, the passenger(s) sitting in their row certainly did. Passengers would occasionally come to me and say they are not sitting with their children next to a scantily clad passenger. There were occasions that a Speedo/bikini clad passenger agreed to wrap themselves in a blanket, and stay wrapped. Any threat (large or small) from a passenger to a flight attendant while boarding is cause for the passenger being removed from the airplane. Barefoot passengers were never allowed to board.
    One last comment regarding attire. I often was startled to see passengers wearing flip-flops on a flight. It probably never occurs to passengers in flimsy footwear what would happen in an emergency if they were required to exit through a window exit out onto a semi-flaming wing. Their flip-flops would immediately melt. Going down an evacuation slide could lead them into an area of flaming debris.
    Passengers boarding an aircraft should give their attire a second thought!

  13. Did the airport have a nude beach? Does she dress that way to church? If a guy wore a shirt like that he would get into trouble. So she should have been kicked off the plane.

  14. America is being run by the PC/Cancel Culture people!!! They allow rioting, looting, destruction of property, killing of innocent people, but don’t go on a plane wearing a halter top, oh no!!!!

  15. Ist, she didn’t look so bad she couldn’t fly. I totally respected her position. 2nd, the male employee did great in speaking softly and trying to come up with other options.
    3rd, the captain did a good job by loaning her a shirt in order to help her get n the plane. Once she got on the plane and took the shirt off she lost my respect. The airlines bent over backwards to omeup with options. She took advantage once she got on the plane. The airlines make the rules. You have to decide if you want to obey thier rules or not. You have the opportunity to go fly with another airlines. When you buy a airlines ou get to make your rules and you hope people obey the rules you have in place. Why has society decided they don’t have to obey rules and they get to change what they don’t like. I get may rules are b.s. but you have the right to take the steps to properly try and make change.

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