Maggie McMuffin, a burlesque dancer, said she was told that she “needed to put something else on or I would not be allowed to board the flight,” according to Mashable.
She also said she was told the decision to allow her onboard was at the pilot’s discretion and she “felt very disrespected” as a result of the threat.
She reportedly offered to tie her sweater around her waist and asked for a blanket to drape over her legs but the crew rejected both of those proposals.
With no other clothing items handy, McMuffin was forced to purchase a $22 pair of pajama shorts in an airport store.
The airline spoke out in defense of the flight crew’s decision: “The gate and on board crew discussed the customer’s clothing and determined that the burlesque shorts may offend other families on the flight,” a JetBlue spokesman told local reporters.
Although the airline maintains its employees made the right decision, they are reimbursing McMuffin for the cost of the shorts and offering her a $200 flight voucher.
“While the customer was not denied boarding, the crew members politely asked if she could change. The customer agreed and continued on the flight without interruption. We support our crew members’ discretion to make these difficult decisions, and we decided to reimburse the customer for the cost of the new shorts and offered a credit for future flight as a good will gesture.”
JetBlue does not have a specific dress code that passengers are expected to follow; however, they do outline conditions in which a passenger would be turned away in their contract of carriage.
“Persons whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive,” the contract reads.
“Lewd, obscene or patently offensive,” may be extremely strong words to use for McMuffin’s shorts in particular, but policing women’s bodies seems to have become standard practice for airlines and other public entities.
For example, last year, Indigo — a private Indian airline —barred a woman from boarding her flight due to her “inappropriate” dress.
While it is a good thing that JetBlue is accommodating McMuffin for inconveniencing her, their gesture doesn’t erase the disrespect and embarrassment she was made to endure due to their misogynistic judgment of her attire.