US clothing police

European travelers to the USA may wonder whether they traveled 100 years back in time. Some American flight attendants act as if they are Iranian clothing cops.

A Southwest Airlines employee confronted a passenger in Las Vegas for showing too much cleavage (see the picture on the right).

All airlines reserve the right to refuse passengers for a variety of vague reasons. In their contracts of carriage they list some of them, but only as examples, so without limitation.

We checked what the 4 biggest US carriers in their contracts say about passengers' clothing:

* United Airlines may remove you if you are barefoot or not properly clothed.
* Delta Air Lines may refuse you if you are barefoot.
* American Airlines may forbid you if you are clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.
* Southwest Airlines may bar you if your clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.

What is appropriate or inappropriate is opaque. There is no clear dress code for airline passengers and whether your attire is inappropriate is solely to the carrier's discretion.

So be aware that some US flight attendants behave like Iranian clothing police.

Related article: "Is there a dress code for airline passengers?"

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