United airlines planes at mountain Francisco worldwide Airport in 2015.Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

United airlines barred two teenage girl from boarding a trip on Sunday morning and also required a kid to adjust into a dress after a door agent decided the leggings they were wearing to be inappropriate. That set off waves of fury on society media, with users criticizing what they dubbed an intrusive, sexist policy, but the airline preserved its assistance for the door agent’s decision.

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The girls, who were around to board a trip to Minneapolis, to be turned away at the gate at Denver global Airport, the company said on Sunday. Unified doubled under on the decision, defending the in a series of tweets ~ above Sunday.

The occurrence was first reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a passenger in ~ the airport who was wait to board a flight to Mexico. In a phone call interview native Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Ms. Watts stated she noticed two visibly uncomfortable teenage girl leaving the gate beside hers. Both to be wearing leggings.

Ms. Watts went over to the surrounding gate and also saw a “frantic” family members with two young girls, one of whom was also wearing leggings, engaged in a it s too dirty exchange through a gate agent who told them, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.”

Ms. Watts said the girl’s mom told her the two teens had just been turn away due to the fact that the gate agent said their trousers were not ideal travel attire. The woman had a dress in her carry-on bag that the boy was able to traction on over her pants, and the household boarded the flight.

“The girl traction a dress on,” Ms. Watts said. “But please save in mind that the dad had on shorts that did no hit his knee — lock stopped maybe two or three inches over his knee — and also there to be no concern with that.”

Ms. Watts judged that the two girls who were barred indigenous boarding were in their “young teens” and the girl who adjusted into a dress was 10 or 11.

Ms. Watts described the instance in a collection of tweets prior to her flight to Mexico took off. By the time she landed her tweets had been shared widely, often accompanied by spicy criticism command at the airline.

Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United, evidenced that two teenage girls were told they could not plank a trip from Denver come Minneapolis due to the fact that their leggings violated the company’s dress code policy for “pass travelers,” a agency benefit that permits United employees and also their dependents to take trip for free on a standby basis.

Mr. Guerin stated pass travelers are “representing” the agency and thus are not permitted to undertake Lycra and spandex leggings, tattered or ripped jeans, midriff shirts, flip-flops or any type of article of clothing that mirrors their undergarments.

“It’s no that we desire our standby travelers to come in attract a suit and also tie or that sort of thing,” he said. “We want people to it is in comfortable once they travel as long as the neat and in good taste for the environment.”

He said both teenage girls stayed behind in Denver, “made an adjustment” to your outfits and also waited for the next trip to Minneapolis. Mr. Guerin did not understand if castle had efficiently boarded or not, and likewise had no information around the girl Ms. Watts claimed she saw readjust into a dress at the gate.

The firm largely evidenced Ms. Watts’s account earlier in the job in a solution to she on Twitter the did little to mollify the comes to of that is critics.

In a collection of dozens that tweets, the company said the event was not simply the result of one overzealous door agent. Instead, it said United Airlines booked the ideal to deny business to anyone its employees considered to it is in inappropriately dressed. It additionally referred to the dress code applied to happen travelers.

“In our Contract the Carriage, dominion 21, us do deserve to refuse transport for passenger who space barefoot or not effectively clothed,” the company tweeted. The added, “There is a dress code for happen travelers as they are representing UA when they fly.”

Few critics appeared to be satisfied by that explanation, which also did tiny to de-escalate a perilous publicly relations case for the company. Unified was the target of scores of angry and mocking tweets ~ above Sunday, consisting of from social media-savvy celebrities favor the model Chrissy Teigen and the actor LeVar Burton.

By Sunday afternoon, the this firm Twitter account was engaged in a tense earlier and forth through the Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette, that posted dozens of upset tweets around the situation.

Employees running United’s Twitter account invested the job walking a public relations tightrope: explaining to upset social media individuals why the agency was not wrong to bar the young ladies from boarding, if reassuring potential customers that they would not additionally be barred if they proved up in leggings.

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People like to it is in comfortable as soon as they fly, Ms. Watts said, and leggings and also yoga pants have become standard casual attire because that women.

“I’m pretty certain yoga pants room a thing,” Ms. Watt said. “They’re component of modern-day America. Lock a staple, a go-to clothes item.”

Mr. Guerin claimed the company was conscious of the criticism leveled in ~ its social media team, but said they were “working as hard as they can.”

“We could have stopped to immediately ask the ideal questions,” the said. “We are constantly engaging with our client as quickly as possible. Now we are going back. All day we’ve to be going back since that previously tweet. Now we’re going earlier and telling human being what is actually going on.”