Skip to comments.Southwest fashion police set no-fly zone
Posted on 09/05/2007 10:37:55 AM PDT by brityank
Southwest fashion police set no-fly zone
CRISSY PASCUAL / Union-TribuneA Southwest employee asked Kyla Ebbert, wearing this outfit, to change or leave the plane.
As the mercury climbed over 100 on Labor Day, I called Southwest Airlines with a not entirely hypothetical question:
Could a young woman board a flight to Tucson today wearing a bikini top?
Angelique, the agent who took my call, assured me that a young woman could.
We don't have a problem with it if she's covered up in all the right spots, she said. We don't have a dress code.
Tell that to Kyla Ebbert, who was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight two months ago for wearing an outfit far less revealing than a bikini top.
Ebbert, a Mesa College student and Hooters waitress, was allowed to stay on the plane, but only after she put up a fight and, she says, was lectured on how to dress properly.
I don't know about you, but one of my big gripes with the airlines is that they just don't take the time to dispense fashion advice any more.
Southwest explained its treatment of Ebbert in a letter to her mother, saying it could remove any passenger whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive to ensure the comfort of children and adults with heightened sensitivities.
Ebbert, 23, says she was judged unfairly by the airline and humiliated by the experience. Who wouldn't be?
She had a doctor's appointment that afternoon in Tucson, where temperatures had topped 106 all week. She arrived at Lindbergh Field wearing a white denim miniskirt, high-heel sandals, and a turquoise summer sweater over a tank top over a bra.
After the plane filled, and the flight attendants began their safety spiel, Ebbert was asked to step off the plane by a customer service supervisor, identified by the airline only as Keith.
They walked out onto the jet bridge, where Keith told Ebbert her clothing was inappropriate and asked her to change. She explained she was flying to Tucson for only a few hours and had brought no luggage.
I asked him what part of my outfit was offensive, she said. The shirt? The skirt? And he said, 'The whole thing.'
Keith asked her to go home, change and take a later flight. She refused, citing her appointment. The plane was ready to leave, so Keith relented. He had her pull up her tank top a bit, pull down her skirt a bit, and return to her seat.
Ebbert says several flight attendants overheard the conversation and, after an embarrassing walk down the aisle, she took her seat and spread a blanket over her lap. She kept her composure until the plane landed, when she called her mother and broke down.
She took a photo of herself with her cell phone so her mother could see her clothes. That's when mom became livid.
My daughter is young, tall, blond and beautiful, Michele Ebbert told me, and she is both envied and complimented on her appearance. She dresses provocatively, as do 99 percent of 23-year-old girls who can. But they were out of line.
Who knows where the lines are drawn these days, particularly when it comes to dress? If you watch television, or visit the mall, or take in a game at Petco Park, you'll see women dressed in ways that, 50 years ago, were pornographic. Today they are stylish.
A Supreme Court justice famously could not define obscene, and declaring a thing lewd imputes motive. Did Kyla Ebbert intend to excite sexual desire on that flight to Tucson? I doubt it, just as I doubt that flight attendants are proper judges of such matters.
But neither am I. So when I arranged to see Ebbert in the notorious outfit, I brought along my fashion advisers, writer Nina Garin and photojournalist Crissy Pascual, who for years collaborated on a feature in this newspaper called Seen on the Street.
The three of us met Ebbert and her mother for lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Ebbert, who is 5-foot-5 and has green eyes, is pretty enough to be a model.
Yet even wearing the clothes that scandalized Southwest, she did not attract attention beyond some lingering glances.
My fashion advisers were baffled, saying they saw nothing you don't see on a college campus or in Pacific Beach.
I was expecting to be shocked, and I was shocked the other way, Pascual told me.
It wasn't a big deal, Garin said. Her skirt was a bit short, which was only accented by her heels. If she had been wearing flip-flops it wouldn't have mattered.
Garin wondered if a jealous woman may have complained about Ebbert's outfit. I asked her what she would have said had she been on the plane.
'I hope she's not sitting next to my husband,' Garin replied. She's pretty. She wears her clothes well. But I wouldn't complain about it.
Pascual detected sexism in the way Ebbert was treated, wondering if a man would have been asked to change clothes. Do men dress inappropriately? I see butt cracks, a lot of butt cracks, she said.
In its letter, Southwest said there were concerns about the revealing nature of her outfit.
I called Hollye Chacón, the Southwest customer relations representative who wrote the letter, to see if we were talking about the same outfit.
What exactly was being revealed? I asked.
She said yesterday she'd call back, but never did. That's pretty revealing in itself.
Gerry Braun: (619) 542-4563;
LOL. As if.
Maybe if the description also included, "a case of 5 o'clock shadow."
What if she was fat and ugly and someone wanted the seat?
I submit that her hands are in her lap to keep the view from going any - uh - further.
Ha! I had a flight one time where the whole plane was full and I found the only unoccupied seat there was——right next to these two 21 and 22 yo sisters who were the smokingest two women I may have ever seen anywhere. OMG!! And how that seat wasn’t taken is a COMPLETE mystery.
After I’d been on the plane for a couple of hours and had a few drinks with them I found out their mom was sitting right behind us! Yikes!!
Best flight EVER!!
Big hands. Hmmm.
They shouldn’t have kicked her off. However, it is almost certain that the picture she is showing here is not representative of what she looked like at the time.
First, she is purposely hiding that she is wearing a tank top, by crossing her arms and hunching so the white looks like a one-piece dress.
Second, in the article it says Keith told her she had to pull her tank top “up” and her skirt “down”. This is the post-adjusted state. Her tank top must have been riding much lower, probably showing her bra and a lot more cleavage. And her skirt isn’t very long to begin with, so if it was any higher there might have been underwear showing.
Still, I’m not supporting removing her, just saying that the picture doesn’t tell the story, and i’d love to see a picture of what she looked like when she was taken OFF the plane.
She should have kicked “Keith’s” ass. I have no doubt she could have done it.
When your sweater casts a long shadow on your waist, you’re OK with me! ;-)
You mean aside from the fact that “Classy Green-Eyed Blonde” was a guy?
Ya know, I fly several times a year. Used to be the air waitresses were attractive, polite, and when necessary, helpful.
Now? Ugly, overweight, and bitchy is the norm, with a bit of ‘you’ll do as I instruct, or I’ll call TSA!’.
I can handle bitchy, and I can even tolerate a bit of high handedness.
But ugly and fat?
Thats over the line....(chuckle)
Not if there were witnesses.
"I could see her FACE and EVERYTHING!!!"
Possibly, but on an airline with cramped seating, who could she flash? She didn't have any luggage to stow, so she wasn't going to need to reach up and/or bend over.
My late Aunt Gussie lived in California, so when she traveled back to the ‘burgh, she was dressed to the nines — hat and white gloves, dressy dress, pumps, etc. etc.. She was mortified when I came out to see her. I was in my 20’s then, and didn’t own a hat or white gloes, or even a proper dress for that matter. I came off the plane in shorts and a t shirt. She was mortified. LOL
Wonder what she would have thought of this gal’s get-up? Aunt Gussie might be rolling over in her grave.
Hmm, maybe they considered all of the silicone a safety issue unless it was properly strapped in. No telling what would happen if there was a sudden drop in cabin pressure.
Either someone whined to Keith and played a PC card, and/or Keith is a pervert.
I was suprised myself. One would think that any observant person who flies, even occassionally, should notice that a large percentage of male flight attendants are gay.
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