In case you missed it, there’s a story that has gone viral about two 10-year-old girls who were removed from a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings.
Naturally, as the story unfolded via a series of tweets, people became more and more enraged. How dare the airline dictate what two young girls wear on a plane ride? And leggings, no less? They are probably the most universally comfortable thing to wear on a plane.
There were several layers of concern to this story. Think about it: Hundreds of thousands of women have worn leggings on flights before without issue. Barring these girls from the plane due to their attire was a gross form of body/wardrobe policing, and hello, they’re 10! Who were they really offending with leggings?
Young girls deserve to be comfortable when they travel, and they are entitled to bodily autonomy — just as much as adults. It is absolutely bananas that someone would deny them of this while they traveled and go as far as to kick them off the plane for wearing stretchy freaking pants.
Wearing leggings while traveling is a way of life for me and countless others. (To be fair, leggings are just a way of life for me even if I’m not getting on a plane, but I digress.) Leggings are more than just the ultimate comfort — they’re great for traveling because they stand up against most changes one may experience while traveling. If you’re traveling from one climate to another, leggings are perfect. You can go from cold to hot or hot to cold, and all you’d need to do is maybe change your jacket and shoes. Easy.
Also, you don’t have to worry about fumbling with snaps and buttons and trying to suck yourself back into your jeans if you have the unfortunate honor of having to use the tiny-ass airplane bathroom. Once I wore overalls on a plane, and god help me, it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. They’re good for whatever temperature you experience on the plane. Sometimes planes can be hot and stuffy and claustrophobic, so you can just pull them up your calves if need be. More often than not, planes cold as fuck, so having your legs covered comes in handy — because let’s be honest, airline blankets are garbage.
Leggings are also the ultimate wardrobe staple for traveling because you can dress them up (pair them with heels and a cute jacket or tunic) or you can pair them up with a T-shirt and hoodie and be super low-key cute. They instantly pull your outfit together. Really, the only downfall is the lack of pockets for the million things you need to get you through the gate. But that’s why jackets have pockets, right? Right.
Upon further investigation of this situation, it was revealed that that United Airlines has a dress code for employees and employees’ family members, which prohibits attire such as leggings, and the girls fell under this category. Leisure-style clothing, such as leggings, is prohibited because they are apparently poor representatives of the brand that United has created. (Insert all the eyes that have ever rolled here.) I’m with the people calling BS on this policy. Why is it necessary to have such a ridiculous rule in place, especially for children?
Look, I understand the importance of maintaining a brand and being professional — I really do. But there is a time and place where you have to have a little flexibility. Clothing children, especially tweens, is so difficult. They want to be comfortable and stylish too. And let’s face it: Leggings have become a mainstream fashion choice, especially for girls. Leggings and a T-shirt is an easy outfit that will probably elicit minimal complaints from a reluctant tween who is developing her own sense of style. Leggings are easy to pack in a suitcase too.
Why should these girls be told that they can’t wear what they’d like because their whoever works for an airline and because they were using employee perks they must follow an outdated, sexist dress code? Come on now! United Airlines needs to update their outdated policies, and stop policing the bodies of girls and women in this manner.
And guess what, United, leggings aren’t going anywhere, and we’re all better off for them. They make for happier travelers too, and I’m sure you can appreciate that.