UNITED Airlines has caused some major turbulence on Twitter after refusing to let a 10-year-old girl board her flight because she was wearing leggings.
The American flight giant has now been forced to defend its decision after being accused of body shaming and sexism.
1) A @united gate agent isn't letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?
The airline stood by it’s decision not to allow the child and two others on their flight from Denver to Minneapolis saying it reserved the right to refuse anyone who did not meet its dress code.
Whether or not a person is suitably dressed is at the discretion of its gate agents, it explained.
The young girl was eventually allowed on board but only after changing into a dress.
However, her two companions, whose ages are not known, were not allowed on because they did not have a change of clothes handy.
The internet row erupted when a fellow passenger posted on Twitter that she saw the agent tell the girl and two others they were inappropriately dressed.
‘A United gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?’ Shannon Watts said, tagging the airline in her tweet to prompt an explanation.
‘She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board.
‘Since when does (it) police women’s clothing?’
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The gate agent told the girls she ‘doesn’t make the rules, just follows them,’ Ms Watts added.
American Airlines defended its right to refuse a passenger entry based on apparel and referred critics in the thread of tweets to its ‘Contract of Carriage’.
But many criticised the airline for its decision and then for later defending it.
‘If leggings aren’t allowed then what about shorts and dresses. Sounds like United Airlines is bodyshaming,’ said one.
‘United Airlines is defending their decision to prevent pre-teen girls wearing leggings from boarding a flight due to their attire,’ another wrote alongside a string of thumbs-down emojis.
United Airlines’ head office did not respond to requests from the media for comments on Sunday morning.
Its Twitter operators continued to defend the decision throughout the morning despite growing criticism
from the public.