JetBlue Just Kicked a Burlesque Dancer Off a Flight Due to Her Outfit. Here's Why That Was the Exact Right Move.
A Seattle burlesque dancer named Maggie McMuffin says an airline "shamed" her when she was told to change her clothes or she wouldn't be allowed to fly.
She was boarding a JetBlue plane when an airline worker told her the crew thought her shorts were inappropriate for the flight. McMuffin offered to cover up with a blanket or a sweater around her waist, and ultimately bought a pair of $22 pants in order to catch her flight.
McMuffin claims that the airline was "slut shaming" and "body shaming" her, and that airline employees should be subject to sensitivity training.
Here's why she's wrong, and the flight crew was exactly right:
In general, dress codes (especially in schools) are sexist and vaguely give men license to objectify and ogle women whose shoulders or knees are showing.
But that's not what happened here.
What happened here is that JetBlue, as a not-horrible employer with not-horrible management policies, gives its crew the autonomy and flexibility to make decisions to keep passengers comfortable, safe and happy.
See, contrary to what a lot of extreme feminists seem to think, airlines have to worry about more than, "Will the plane fly?" They have to worry about the safety and comfort of all their passengers.
The crew does and should have the discretion to remove someone from the flight if they feel the person poses a danger or is making others uncomfortable.
For example, if someone is incredibly super stinky, crew should be able to remove him from the flight. It's disgusting to be in an enclosed space with someone who stinks for hours and hours -- especially for those who are closer to the stinky passenger! Moreover, his extreme stinkiness could lead to additional health concerns in the air. Imagine feeling just a little queasy, and then inhaling a lungful of stank. And then setting off a chain reaction of puking.
(I'm a sympathetic puker -- if someone near me starts puking, I probably will, too.)
This isn't actually a hypothetical. It happened on an Air Canada flight in 2010.
Shoutout to the adorably naive girl who said it "wasn't his fault" that he was disgustingly stinky. Of course it was. He could have showered and applied deodorant before the flight.
Or. Say a mom demands hot food from flight attendants, saying that her 15-year-old daughter might "have a meltdown" and start biting and scratching other passengers. It sucks for the mom and the autistic teenager... but the crew should absolutely be able to remove them from the flight.
This isn't a hypothetical, either. It happened in February 2015.
Before you go wah, wah ableism, social justice, white feminism... consider this. No matter how "oppressed" you are (in this case, even if you're autistic), your rights only extend as far as other peoples' begin.
If I were on a flight with this girl and she freaked out and scratched me -- disfiguring me, damaging my eyes or even just causing me temporary physical pain -- that would be awful. And if I then discovered that the flight attendants knew this was something that could happen, and they did nothing... there are no words.
This is why, when the mom said her teenager might start scratching and biting, they had to be removed from the flight.The mom had given the crew had no other choice.
Other people have rights, too. My right not to be assaulted trumps your right to not be removed from a flight after making threats.
The TL;DR is that any number of unforeseeable situations can arise on an airplane. It is impossible to make a policy to preemptively address each and every one of them. That is why flight crews must have the discretion and autonomy to assess individual situations and act as they see fit in order to ensure safety and comfort for all passengers.
In the particular case of Maggie McMuffin, yeah, I find it a little weird. Maggie McMuffin's outfit was ugly and tacky, but not horribly threatening or offensive. But the crew needs to have the ability to make ad hoc decisions. They are human, so they aren't going to get it 100% right every time, and people won't always be happy with their decisions.
But c'est la vie. You can get your panties (err... "shorts") all up in a bunch about it, or you can focus on having an awesome life. If it were me, I'd be all, "Yay! I got a free flight for basically nothing!"
Also worth noting: Maggie McMuffin is hardly the first customer to be removed from a flight for violating said dress code. See also:
IndiGo bars woman in 'short dress' from flight
Hooters Waitress Thrown off plane for outfit deemed too skimpy
Southwest Calls Woman's Clothing 'Inappropriate.'
Airline Dress Codes Ban Cleavage, Shirts With Expletives
Qantas dress code: Airline bans flip-flops, shorts and vests
Southwest asks Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong to Leave Flight for Low-Slung Pants
Man wearing only women’s undergarments is allowed to take seat.
American made to change shirt emblazoned with the F-word
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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