I found a news story about United Airlines refusing to let three girls board their flight because of what they were wearing. In my opinion, this whole situation sounds ridiculous. Anyways, United refused to let the girls board because they were wearing leggings, and according to United, the girls were not meeting the company’s dress codes. The situation is not necessarily a crisis, however it stirred some attention on twitter by multiple people.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand with over 50,000 followers on Twitter tweeted about the issue, and her Tweets attracted a lot of attention to the issue and more complaint from other users. Even though United replied to these complaints on Twitter, the company definitely could have handled the situation better. United Tweeted back in response to some of the complaints, with same response to everyone: “UA shall have the right to refuse passengers if they are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage.”
Later on, United also posted a tweet addressing the issue: “The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel.” The company wanted to note that since the passengers were “United Pass Riders” (passengers flying under employee pass privileged) they would have to comply the company’s internal dress code standards. However, according to a United spokesperson, regular paying customers can wear yoga pants or leggings.
I think these sorts of situations have to be handled well because dress code issues at school and body shaming girls/women is a big topic nowadays. One Twitter user tweeted in response to Shannon Watts “how about a rule to not promote body shaming of our children?”. Issues like this could easily cause more damage to the company’s reputation and possibly lead to lost of customers.
Since handling situations like this can be difficult on Twitter due to the limited characters, I would make a post on the Facebook page and tweet a link to it on Twitter. This would be my response:
“The reason the passengers were not allowed on the flight was due to our internal dress code policy for United pass riders flying under an employee privilege. We would not want our reputation to be tainted by not following following our dress code. We also want to note that our regular customers are welcomed to wear leggings on our flights.
We will be happy to answers any of your questions or concerns regarding the matter.”
I think this response would reduce the amount of negative comments regarding the situation because it addresses the reason why the girls were not allowed on the plane, and it notes that it was a special case. The post also mentions that the company respects their values, and want to keep a good reputation. Lastly, the post also notes that other customers are allowed to wear leggings and that it won’t be an issue for other customers.