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#LeggingsGate Chat with Heather Poole

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#LeggingsGate Chat with Heather Poole

#LeggingsGate Chat with Heather Poole
March 27
20:33 2017

MIAMI – United Airlines seemingly broke the internet yesterday when it denied boarding two female teenagers who were flying on a United employee travel pass from Denver to Minneapolis. Jon Ostrower and Jill Disis with CNN Money succinctly summarize the details:

Two groups were traveling separately on the Minneapolis to Denver flight on Sunday morning. The first group of three traveling on a travel pass through United’s company travel perk program included two teenage girls wearing leggings who attempted to board the flight, according to Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United.

The two teenagers, whose ages were not identified by the airline, were notified by a female gate agent that their leggings violated the travel pass dress code. There was “no uproar, no tears” and the teenagers left the gate area without incident, according to Guerin.

A second group in line behind the teenagers, including a younger girl also wearing leggings, is believed by United to have seen the exchange between the gate agent and the teenagers who were denied boarding, according to Guerin. A woman in the party took a dress out of the party’s carry-on luggage to cover the younger girl.

Guerin said there was no exchange between the family with the younger girl and the gate attendant nor was there any mention of the dress code to the family, which was believed to be flying on a regular ticket. They departed on the flight to Denver.

The issue sparked massive debates and haranguing on Twitter, under the #leggingsgate moniker, with celebrities such as Patricia Arquette and Seth Rogen getting into the act.

Given the massive social media blowback on the issue, I decided to sit down (virtually) with Heather Poole, a flight attendant with a major US airline and bestselling author, to get her unique perspective on the issue.

As with some of my live blogs in the past, we’re going to be using the ReplyAll tool to hold the conversation. Follow along below.


About Author

Vinay Bhaskara

Vinay Bhaskara

Senior Business Analyst, Big Airline Enthusiast, Avid Airport Connoisseur, Frequent Flyer, Globetrotter. I Miss Northwest Airlines Every Day. @TheABVinay

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  1. marykirby
    marykirby March 28, 08:14

    Thank you for posting this interview. The woman that Ms. Poole is referring to is yours truly, and the website is Runway Girl Network. She and I have had a very public disagreement over United’s decision to deny carriage to pants-wearing young girls, who were traveling non-rev (the incident now known as #leggingsgate).

    It’s okay for people to disagree with each other. And #leggingsgate has generated dialogue on a number of important subjects. To wit, yesterday I received an interesting email from a sex discrimination lawyer, who is watching the incident closely. She noted, of course, that United defended making the girls change clothes before it figured out that they were non-rev. Furthermore, she said, leggings have become the teenage girl equivalent of jeans for boys. She’s absolutely right, as my soon-to-be-13-year-old daughter’s closet would attest. (And indeed I regularly fly in leggings, most especially now that Y-class seating configurations have been tightened up).

    Ms. Poole is certainly within her rights to disagree with all of the above, and more.

    However, it is alarming to me that Ms. Poole would suggest our Lean Into Aviation platform – which both highlights the achievements of women in aviation and urges women to consider varied careers in the industry – only cares about female pilots. I’d urge her and your readers to judge for themselves (and would point them to our most recent flight attendant-focused piece, a profile of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president Sara Nelson, dated March 10).

    Mary Kirby
    Editor and Publisher
    Runway Girl Network

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