We don’t care what fellow airline passengers are wearing. We just want to arrive in one piece.


It’s time someone spoke truth to power, the “power” being United Airlines and the “truth” being this: Your full-paying customers couldn’t care less whether a couple of teenage girls traveling on free passes are wearing leggings.

We’re too busy worrying about whether there will be any overhead bin space left by the time we’re called to schlep down the aisle; whether the passenger in front of us will recline his or her seat as far back as humanly possible; and whether the $14.95 bag of pistachios we rushed to buy before check-in will carry us through a six-hour flight, because we can’t count on any airline food these days.

That’s on top of any worries about whether the plane will get us to our destination in one piece.

In other words, the outfits chosen by our fellow travelers are the least of our concerns — so why, exactly, are passengers flying on “buddy passes” supposed to dress to impress?

According to a statement from the airline, pass riders “are considered representatives of United. And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow.”

But unless you issue them badges or T-shirts or leggings embossed with the United logo, how are we supposed to know they’re “representatives of United”?

Or are you hoping these appropriately dressed “pass riders” will elevate the general tone inside the cabin? Maybe the rest of us slobs will look at them admiringly and think, “They look so nice! Next time I fly, I’m trading in these sweatpants for a pair of tight, uncomfortable jeans!”

Not going to happen.

You either give employees and their families a perk, or you don’t. Expecting them to follow a dress code that you don’t impose on other passengers is a double standard. And double standards will bring you nothing but trouble.

United, you and your brother and sister airlines should ditch the dress codes. Not only will you avoid future PR nightmares, your employees also won’t have to waste time figuring out whether someone’s wearing leggings, skinny jeans or jeggings.

Better yet, discontinue the friends and family “buddy pass” program altogether. Then take that savings and serve us some decent food.

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