On 6 October, Kayla Eubanks was ready to board her Southwest Airlines domestic flight between LaGuardia Airport, New York and Chicago (United States). The staff at the boarding gate refused to let her on the flight because she was … “in breach with the airline’s dress code“.
“Generally I wear, like, T-shirts, sweats, or whatever to the airport, but it was supposed to be like 77 degrees in Chicago when I landed. It’s only an hour-and-a-half, two-hour flight,” Eubanks said to BuzzFeed News. For the occasion, she was wearing a black halter top not imagining that it would be an issue.
After luggage drop, Eubanks arrived at the gate, where she was denied boarding by a Southwest Airlines gate agent, because of her halter top. Eubanks responded by asking the member of the airline staff to produce the policy, which the worker was not able to do.
According to the airline’s policy, the dress code advises customers 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 airline, however, did not provide clarity on what could be considered a breach of the dress code but shared that it did its best to “promote a family-centric environment.”
Finally, Eubanks was able to board the flight on the requirement that she wore a shirt loaned by the captain of her Southwest Airlines flight.
Meanwhile, she has received an apology and a refund from Southwest Airlines after the video of the encounter went viral online.
In response to the company’s apology and refund, Eubanks said a more appropriate gesture would be for the airline to revise its policy and develop a clearer line for what was and wasn’t acceptable rather than leaving it up to employee interpretation.