- Kayla Eubanks received an apology and a refund from Southwest Airlines after an employee barred her from boarding a flight to Chicago from New York City for wearing a “lewd, obscene, and offensive” top.
- Eubanks last week was stopped from boarding the flight at LaGuardia Airport by an employee for wearing a black halter top.
- “I was told that passengers may look at me in my attire and be offended,” 22-year-old Eubanks wrote in a now-viral Twitter thread.
- After being held at the gate for 30 minutes, Eubanks was able to board the flight only when she wore a t-shirt borrowed from the flight’s captain, she said on Twitter.
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Southwest Airlines apologized to a 22-year-old woman who was barred from boarding a flight to Chicago for wearing a “lewd, obscene, and offensive” top.
On October 6, an employee at LaGuardia Airport in New York blocked Kayla Eubanks from walking through the boarding gate to her seat on the airplane because she had been wearing a black halter top.
“I was told that passengers may look at me in my attire and be offended,” Eubanks wrote in a now-viral Twitter thread.
—Kayla Eubanks (@UziSuzy) October 6, 2020
Eubanks posted a video that showed an employee specifying that her halter top was the reason she couldn’t be let on the flight. In the video, Eubanks asks the employee to produce a copy of the policy the said she couldn’t board a flight while wearing this shirt. The employee promised to show the policy but then couldn’t find it.
A Southwest Airlines dress code policy posted online advises those flying to “dress to impress.”
“While Southwest’s dress code is relaxed and casual, you will be expected to present a clean, well groomed, and tasteful appearance,” the policy continues.
When reached for comment, the airline gave the following statement:
“Our Employees are responsible for the well-being and comfort of everyone onboard the flight. Southwest has a Customer policy in our Contract of Carriage that prohibits clothing attire that is ‘lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.’ Our Employees discreetly notified the Passenger of this clothing policy and attempted to resolve the conversation before boarding. She boarded her scheduled flight to Chicago. We also directly reached out to her to refund her fare as a gesture of goodwill.”
Eubanks wrote on Twitter that she had been stopped because the employee and the airline were trying to police a woman’s body.
“How will my shirt impact my flight, for myself, the other passengers or even the pilot? 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,” Eubanks said.
After being held at the gate for 30 minutes, Eubanks was able to board the flight only when she wore a shirt given to her by the flight’s captain, she said on Twitter.
Eubanks told BuzzFeed News the apology from Southwest Airlines is not enough and the airline should discern “a standard across the board, period.”
“I think they need to update the policy,” she said. “I think it needs to be nondiscriminatory. I think that as a woman, specifically a Black woman, my body is constantly policed and over-sexualized, and that’s not fair to me.”
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