Southwest Airlines to Women: Stow Your Tray Tables… and Your Cleavage?

The airline has apologized for telling a female passenger to cover her cleavage before takeoff.

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circa 1968: Stewardesses on Southwest Airlines in Texas sport go-go boots and micro-minis, per airline policy.

Southwest Airlines has apologized to a woman passenger who was told by airline staff to cover her cleavage before takeoff. Before boarding, an airline representative reportedly told the passenger, who was wearing a flannel shirt and scarf over a sundress, that she was dressed inappropriately and would need to cover up. “To add insult to injury,” the woman told, “the guy sitting in front of me on the plane was wearing a shirt with an actual Trojan condom embedded behind a clear plastic applique and had no trouble getting on his flight.”

Southwest’s “modesty” code has made headlines before. In 2007, a college student named Kyla Ebbert was forced to wear a blanket during her flight, after a flight attendant deemed her miniskirt and sweater ensemble too revealing. Green Day frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, was booted from a Southwest flight last year for wearing his pants too low. A few weeks later, The L Word star, Leisha Hailey, was escorted from her flight for kissing her girlfriend on-board. And don’t forget the whole “too fat to fly” fiasco.

(MORE: The Number One Way to Get a Flight Attendant Angry)

The airline has publicly apologized for offending patrons  on several occasions but maintains that its Contract of Carriage allows it to refuse service to any customer “whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.” But what exactly constitutes “lewd” or “obscene”?

Things sure have changed since the airline’s early days, when its “Long Legs and Short Nights” marketing campaign had “stewardesses” pushing beverage carts in micro-minis and go-go boots. One can’t help but wonder: Would these leggy ladies of yesteryear get booted from their own airline, today?

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