Southwest Flight Attendants Doubling As Fashion Police?
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, at least a few
Southwest Airlines employees may have a rather archaic and
Puritanical view of fashion sense.
In Wednesday's story, a young woman was asked to leave a flight
a couple of months ago due the way she was dressed. The flight
attendant called it too "revealing." The young woman, Kyla Ebbert,
had boarded the plane at Lindbergh Field wearing a denim miniskirt,
high heeled sandals and a summer sweater over a tank top.
After all passengers had boarded and the flight attendants began
their safety speech, Ebbert said she was asked to step off the
plane by a customer service supervisor, identified only as
Keith said her outfit was inappropriate and asked her to change.
She hadn't brought luggage as she was just going to Tucson for a
"I asked him what part of my outfit was offensive," she
said. "The shirt? The skirt? And he said, 'The whole thing.'"
He then asked her to go
home and change then take a later flight to Tucson, where
temperatures topped 100 degrees all week, and she refused. As the
plane was ready for departure, Keith made her pull up her shirt
down a little bit and her top up a little - as if that inch or so
of additional covering made a big difference -- and allowed her to
return to her seat and put a blanket over her lap.
Ebbert, a 23 year-old college student and Hooter's waitress,
said she was "humiliated" and also received a lecture on how to
dress properly. She maintained herself through the short flight,
but fell apart when she called her mother after her arrival in
Using her cell phone, she took a photo of herself and sent it to
her mother for an opinion and mom got more than a little upset.
"My daughter is young, tall, blond and beautiful and she is both
envied and complimented on her appearance. She dresses
provocatively, as do 99 percent of 23-year-old girls who can. But
they were out of line," Michele Ebbert said.
To check it out, the reporter called Southwest Airlines and
asked if a young woman could board a flight to Tucson today wearing
a bikini top since it was so hot. The customer service rep that
took the call, Angelique, said yes.
"We don't have a problem with it if she's covered up in all the
right spots," she said. "We don't have a dress code."
So, what gives? A summer sweater over a tank top is far less
revealing than a bikini top. (Editor's Note:
Copyright laws prevent us from showing an actual picture of
Ebbert's outfit... but trust us, you've likely seen far worse in
restaurants and your local mall.)
In a letter Southwest sent to Michele Ebbert, the airline said
it was within its rights to remove a passenger "whose clothing is
lewd, obscene or patently offensive" to ensure the comfort of
children and "adults with heightened sensitivities."
The reporter, along
with two fashion advisors, met with Ebbert dressed in the outfit in
question. The result was no undue attention other than a few
glances. Furthermore, the fashion advisors said they were surprised
by the carrier's stance as there nothing in her outfit that one
wouldn't see on just about any college campus.
"I was expecting to be shocked, and I was shocked the other
way," said photojournalist Crissy Pascua.
"It wasn't a big deal," writer Nina Garin said. "Her skirt was a
bit short, which was only accented by her heels. If she had been
wearing flip-flops it wouldn't have mattered."
The reporter called the author of the letter, Southwest customer
relations representative Hollye Chacón, about the "concerns
about the revealing nature of her outfit" to ask if they were all
talking about the same outfit.
"What exactly was being revealed?" the reporter asked.
Chacón said she would call back, but didn't. As the reporter
deduced, that could be interpreted as rather revealing, as
On a related note... isn't Southwest the airline that used to
tout its stewardesses, dressed in hot pants, in the 1970s?