United Airlines got embroiled in a social media controversy about leggings over the weekend. On Sunday, a gate agent in Denver refused to allow three girls to board a flight to Minneapolis because their leggings were deemed inappropriate, reports the New York Times. One of the three was able to board because her mom gave her a dress, but the other two, believed to be young teenagers, had to change and catch the next flight. The incident came to light when another passenger at the airport, Shannon Watts, tweeted about what was happening. After those tweets generated lots of anger online, United said that the girls were "pass riders," referring to relatives of United employees who fly for free on standby, and that dress code is stricter for such passengers.
"The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel," it tweeted, per Fox 31 Denver. The explanation, however, did little to mollify the online ridicule and scorn being directed United's way. For example, author Dana Schwartz tweeted to women on Twitter to share stories of when they'd felt "embarrassed" or "sexualized" because of their outfits, and the responses came rolling in, reports Mashable. Actress Patricia Arquette also got involved, with a series of back-and-forth tweets with the airline. "Do U understand U have just made at least half UR customers very unhappy?" she wrote. The company's response: "We acknowledge the severity of the situation, are are looking into it."