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Southwest Airlines Community

A Different Perspective

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A lot of you are familiar with the Southwest Airlines Customer who was asked to cover up her outfit, and there has been a lot of attention devoted to this subject.  In fact, the Customer was on the Today Show this morning.  You might be interested in the perspective of one of the show's producers, Dan Fleschner.

Thanks for your comments. We are closing the comment section. Please see Colleen's new post: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2007/09/14/wrapping-up-the-skirt-issue/
951 Comments
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I am outraged at the desicion to take this young woman off of the plane. I know that I will never book a flight with your company again.
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Its sad that Kyla Ebert and her mother lack judgement in choosing appropriate attire... even sadder that they are attempting to profit from it.
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If Southwest wants to enforce something like this, a dress code MUST be in place and customers need to be informed at time of reservation - not before take off! Southwest should make customers a priority, those that complained AND the person they are discussing. She should have been told very VERY discreetly about the concern & simply (& kindly) offered a blanket (walked up to the front of the plane - no, lectured - are you kidding?, audible for any in the plane to hear - Southwest should know better). That was horrible customer treatment. Southwest seems to have forgotten that these are paying customers & people, human beings, deserving of courtesy. That said - her skirt did appear too short, & more clearly after the "show" on the Today Show. But Southwest does NOT have a dress code. How often are other common "fashion" trends addressed with Southwest customers? Men with pant WAISTbands bellow their bottoms sharing their underwear with all? Women with low-rise jeans& underwear showing - always or just when bending over? How much is too much cleavage? I would like (love) to see all these issues addressed. But, without a dress code - that was horrible treatment, and very inconsiderate! Was this really a concern worthy of delaying a flight - and the schedules of ALL the others on the flight? And, truthfully, we barely fit on the plane with much room to spare (if you're wondering - I am thin, well within my suggested healthy BMI, and my children are thin - two are much thinner than average - as our pediatrician points out at each visit, but genetically just fortunate). So, it would be quite and accomplishment of the woman discussed here to cross & uncross her legs frequently with wide sweeping movements to warrant the kind of "show" warranting the resulting treatment of the Southwest flight attendant. I would hate to pay a chunk of money for a plane ticket and be treated that way - or for the same to happen to any of my 4 children (2 of whom are teenagers that are not allowed to dress that way). Unless this is addressed well, and quickly, by Southwest I will no longer be able to be a customer.
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Are you kidding?? As an airline, I think the only legal reason you can kick someone off of the plane is if they are uncooperative, or a threat to the flight. I fly over 50 flights a year! If I had been on that flight, I would have been kicked off for being uncooperative. You need to apologize and admit your flight attendant had no authority to do what she did. Giving her free travel for about 10 years might make up fo it. You should also be suspending the stewardess (I use that term as a slap to her, she is not a flight attendant which would be the politically correct term) from her duties and send her to "reality" training. That is pathetic. I remember the flights from the 70's, does "Throwing stones and glass houses" mean anything to you guys???
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Someone made a HUGE error in judgement on this one. I fly frequently with Southwest and I can tell you I have see far worse than this passenger. One young woman on one flight I was on had jeans cut so low they were at her pubic line and had a belly button ring that what highly suggestive . . . Not to mention a top that only covered the essential upper parts. There was no covering on her torso what-so-ever. You are such a great airline and do a wonderful job and NOW you need to be the great company you are, stand up and apologize to this passenger and give her a years worth of free air travel. Someone made a big mistake and your continued blather about protecting the public from inappropriate dress rings very hollow and is not evenly applied in any shape or form. Flying is hard enough these days. I love flying Southwest and I hope as a company you stand up and do the RIGHT thing . . As you attendants say at the end of the flight "there are many other airlines" thank you for choosing Southwest. Hummmmm
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Thank You Southwest! You have every right to set such policies concerning attire and I believe you acted appropriately. I know many men especially, but women and children also, appreciate not having to be taunted and distracted for the entire flight by hormones (is that sexist?...., lets get real people - men know what I am saying) or discussions of whether her underwear were the right color for her outfit. Lets be real, people who are serious distractions or are difficult are removed for safety and other reasons from flights all the time and this is no different. Flying is NOT a casual affair, but a serious activity to the crew and employees of Southwest flights and they should have free reign to assure they can perform their duties properly. Where do you draw the line anyway,... can I wear a bikini while going to Florida? Anyway, .... Thanks Again for a great airline! - PJ in VA
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I think "corporate" level decisions should be left for people who are supposed to have the power to make them. This is going to be a Very expensive decision made by a front line employee, and executed in Very poor taste. Who cares why it was done, it was wrong. Humiliating a paying customer in front of other customers is bad business. Your employees made a HUGE mistake. Step up, do the right thing, offer a public apology, and settle out of court, its not worth the bad PR to save face. I'd also suggest a mandatory course in appropriate customer relations for all staff members who have to deal with the public.
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Get real , can this chick be this stupid . And for the person/people that compare this to breast-feeding. you're just as stupid. there is a huge difference between the two. One is saying "I'm too sexy for my clothes" The other says, "I'm feeding my baby. Of course most of you perverts think breast-feeding is something sexy. I love the lawyer getting into the action, Typical California mentality. Gonna try to make some money on this. forget it, move on and try to use just a little modesty the next time you fly or go to court or for an interview etc.
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I flew SW each week for 1 1/2 years straight during 2006-07. I've seen worse, but who cares! I fly for convenience and getting to my destination. I 'Moo' like the rest of the people and don't care how anyone looks. It was a dumb mistake - just give me the peanuts and get to to my next stop. Even with this faux pau, SW is lighyears ahead of 'sucky' Contintential and Delta.
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i, for one, applaud southwest for it's stand ... i appreciate their stance for decency and i will continue to fly southwest knowing my children and grandchildren are not going to be exposed to the *exposed*!
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I applaud Southwest's decision to request this young woman dress appropriately. Your course of action will no doubt be ridiculed by a culture that mocks modesty as an antiquated relic of the past. Others will appreciate your values and place Southwest at the top of their list the next time they fly. Thanks again.
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C'mon Southwest, the clock is ticking. Take the opportunity, while it is still news, to issue an apology and give the young woman some free airline tickets. Also, find somewhere else in your organization for the offending flight attendant to continue his/her Southwest career. There can be no justification by Southwest for the way your passenger was treated. Al.
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... With all that is wrong with the nuts of the world trying to get on airlines to do what ever, you have a flight attendant that tosses someone off a plane because her skirt is "too short" and she's "offended", are you people insane? It's absolutely pathetic that that kind of thing happened to a paying passenger. Where in the ticket does it say your airlines are also the fashion police of the skys? ... I hope that you get sued and I, for one, will never fly your airlines and I will definately tell everyone I know not to fly your airlines. Michael Lawley Chico, CA
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Sorry to disagree with so many of you, but dressing like a street walker is not appropriate attire, unless you are a pole dancer or a hooker. If she wants to be a hooker, let her take to the Hollywood streets. I for one don't want to see up her or anyone's skirt. Look at where the sixties liberal views have taken you; you now have AIDS, a long list of other sexually transmitted diseases, rampant rape. She is advertising her body (likely has no self esteem), and most of the male comments here appear to from willing buyers. Do mothers really want their daughters to attract men that only want sex from their daughters? Mother's know what this type of clothing attracts, don't you? Maybe prudishness needs to make a comeback. Hopefully, other companies will follow SouthwestÃ
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All Southwest Airlines needs to do is view the interview with Matt Lauer on today's GMA and when she got up to show off her "outfit" and then sat down, you could see her crotch. That's the same outfit, but is it the same underwear? Pretty disgusting! For the mom to be so deluted to say that that outfit is okay, you have to ask what does that girl wear out to the clubs..she should have been embarrassed - at least someone have the common sense to point out that her decision to wear what she wore wasn't a good decision for the occasion. Someone tell that girl it's okay to make a mistake and to be called on it and that she doesn't have to "get an attorney" and go on national television (to show off her crotch, again, to the public). The girl should apologize for be so self centered as to hold up the flight for the other 200+/- passengers. I hope that SWA let's them have it with both legal barrels and put an end to such a gratuitious lawsuit. It's just so silly that the mom and daughter have their attorney present, please! They shouldn't even have those minutes of fame!
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You guys are a joke. Who made you judge and jury regarding what's decent and appropriate. You might want to take a look at some of your old ads... You remember, the ones with the "hot pants." At the end of the day, I guess it's your airline, and you can make up whatever rules you want regarding who can fly and who cant; however, as a stockholder and a flyer, I too can have a say... I sold my stock this morning, and I won't set foot on another of your flights, lest you decide that my apparel doesn't meet your high standards. Reid Parker
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This is about the most inane thing I have ever seen, and the fact you are even making any effort to defend it is even worse. Has the Taliban taken over operational control of Southwest Airlines? ~Becky
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People! Get a grip on your outrage. This happened to one person, and it wasn't you. Reserve your anger for use when something actually does happen to you, or for gross injustices, which this certainly was not. To use it in a haphazard manner only serves to dilute its effectiveness when you do need to express it. I don't know all the facts because I wasn't there. Y'all probably weren't either. While on the surface it may look like the action was inappropriate, let's defer to the highly trained flight attendants who are placed there to make our flights safe and comfortable. Sometimes it takes a tough judgement call to make that happen.
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I am amazed that the representative had the nerve to make a statement regarding a passenger (customer's) attire. In a business setting, public or private, that would be grounds for termination. With all the ethics and morality clauses in business today, combined with the mass of litigation regarding comments made about the attire of individuals, it amazes me that Southwest's employee guidelines does not have a section about making (or not) comments about customer's attire. As previously noted, SHAME ON YOU. I will never fly your airline again and will recommend boycotting your business to all my professional and personal acquaintances. An executive of your agency should appologize immediately via mass media. The alternative is someone else (who may be a lawyer) may do the same thing and you will end up with a lawsuit that will diminsh your name even futher. Stand up and appologize; there is no excuse for this lack of professionalism. Travel to europe or asia and see what people there wear. The ignorant attitude of your employee is a testimonial to your lack of proper training and guidance for your representatives. Where is your CRM program?????????
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Personally I think if a woman dressed like this distracts you that much that you can't take your eyes off her there must be something wrong with you. It's not her fault youÃ
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I don't think it is out of reason for people to have a little common sense when traveling, and dressing appropriatly. I don't think it is too much to ask for a person to wear something to cover their backside if they are going to sit in a seat that someone else has to sit in later. I don't think the airline attendents spray all the seats when everyone leaves the plane. I wish they would sometimes!! It just comes down to dressing decient, and this girls parents should have instilled better values in their daughter. Maybe she started dressing this way after working at Hooters, who knows. But she can't be whining about how she is treated when she is dressing in a way to get attention in the first place. Young lady, you set yourself up to be humiliated when you wore a skirt that showed your crotch, me and a million other people saw it on the Today show this morning!!
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I can help you evaluate the accuracy of the young woman's account of the events with a simple example. On the Today show she said, "Everyone on the plane heard ..." referring to conversation with the Southwest employee which has been reported to have taken place either "at the door of the plane" or "in the jetway." Now, with all the ambient noise on a plane (even at the gate), how much of a private conversation at the front of the plane or in the jetway can you hear when you are seated on the plane? Heck, in most cases it's hard to even hear the flight attendant on the PA. I am sure Ms. Ebbert was embarrassed, but it certainly had nothing to do with "everyone on the plane" hearing anything.
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The fact that the Today Show had to block out her crotch as she was sitting down says it all. Her skirt was too short and I commend SWA for standing up for what they believe in. Men with short-shorts, women with short skirts or low tops should not be allowed in family friendly areas. They really should tastefully choose their outfits accordingly. Did she forget that she was not working at Hooters?
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How come I can never have someone dressed like that when I fly from TUS to SAN or back?
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southwest ought to be ashamed. of course they should apologize to the young woman for the embarrassment they caused her. the fact that they haven't done so already makes me very glad that i'm not an investor in the airline. if the steward who lectured her is so appalled by the sight of a woman's legs perhaps he should try another airline .....like AIR ALASKA!!!!
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This is disgusting on the part or your airline. Never again will I fly Southwest and I will make sure that no one I know flies it either. You all should be ashamed. I hope the flight attendant and whoever else was involved has had appropriate actions taken against them.
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Since I'm pretty much offended by just about everyone, especially when I fly, I think I'll stick with Southwest. Judging by their policy with this particular girl (if you think she's dressed immodestly, you haven't been out in public lately. Better hitch up the buggy and head into town for a look see) I should be able to have most of the plane to myself just by complaining to the flight attendant.
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Being a college student myself i am disgusted at the treatment shown in your disregard for civil rights. This young woman's attire was no different than anything myself or my friends would wear on our way to vacation. She looked like any average twenty year old. Obviously your company and the people you employ are stuck in the 40's. I will never fly with your company again and I will also inform anyone I know to do the same.
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It is difficult to be able to police an issue such as this one, and it is difficult to understand what really happened after so much publicizing of the issue. However, one fundamental question is can an airline ask someone to change their personal attire because of other passengers or even flight attendants concerns? In seeing images of her skirt it is quite easy to understand that she would have been very revealing when she sat down, especially if the skirt was not pulled down as it was in the photos. As a male I appreciate Southwests concern about the appropriateness of a passengers attire when it crosses social boundaries. So I think Southwest not only had the right to ask her to change, but had an obligation to ask if they were being culturally sensitive to the other passengers. Thank you. As to how the "lecture" and the incident was handled that is something that none of us are able to comment on because we were not there to observe it and have not heard both sides of the story.
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So Southwest Airlines should now be called Nazi-Airlines. I will never fly with Southwest ever again if this is the way they are going to treat their customers. I will be more than happy to spend my money on an airline that believes in American freedoms and not censorship. Stephen, Tyler, Texas
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Oh Terry, how sad. We are suppose to defer to the "highly trained flight crew ". This reminds me at best something I would have heard from a nerd in high school or at worst the type of stuff spouted in the Nazi Youth Leagues. I think we can see how this woman was dressed. It is the type of thing we see everyday on the street, stores, restaurants, etc. If it was just one stupid employee that decided to exercise his power that is understandable. Its the age old question of whether it is more dangerous to give some little jerk too much power or too much power to the authorities. But it was totally inappropriate. And any attempt to justify it is so utterly lame. Hopefully it is just one isolated incident. But it is so ridiculous--that is why it is getting attention. And deferring to the "highly trained flight crew"--give me a break. ~Becky
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I am going to boycott SWA for at least 3 flights for this type of behaviour. This is suppose to be a free country where people should be able to express themself. As far as I know, we live in the US not Afghanistan. Kyla looked and dressed like a regular girl. I personally would tell her that she is wearing too much cloth.
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I would imagine that SOUTHWEST has the business right to deny business to any customer. However, I believe it was a ridiculous decision by that particular flight crew to remove Kyla or to "regulate" her. SOUTHWEST's business is to provide timely and safe air transportation. I seriously doubt KYLA's attire was going to cause anyone on that flight to suffer. Suddenly, SOUTHWEST is the morality police? Should she not have been allowed to walk through the airport? Give me a break. If this is there new way of doing business, I hope they start ordering new aircraft with segregated seating by type of customer starting with a section strictly for screaming babies and toddlers. A second section isolated for smelly people. A third section for the big mouth drunks on the plane. A fourth section for air sick people. The fifth section could be for all the people that are scantly dressed. When that happens I might start flying SOUTHWEST again.
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I am the parent of a 4 year-old boy. There are many things he is not allowed to view. I saw nothing inappropriate in this woman's attire. Women as pretty as her will always attract venom from some old hag. The hostesses and waitstaff at some of the most upscale restaurants we've frequented with our son wear the same clothing. Come on Herb! Belly up to the bar and offer the lady an apology.
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Good for you southwest airlines! It is about time companies start standing up and saying "No, this is a family business and that is inappropriate!" I don't care if she looked just like all the other people in college as her mom says...it was still inappropriate ...
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In my opinion, this young lady is using Southwest and NBC in a publicity campaign designed to land a big-bucks deal with a skin magazine. Evidence: Her recently masked myspace page contains favorable references to FHM and Hugh Hefner, not to mention some photos that her mother should be ashamed of. This publicity scheme, if that's indeed what it is, is working very, very well. You can learn more and join the lively debate at http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=732978 and also at http://allday.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/09/07/348617.aspx Also, can anyone at Southwest confirm or deny the rumors about thong or even nonexistent underwear? That might change quite a few minds either way. Kudos to Southwest for having the courage to blog this topic.
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There is no excuse Southwest. None. You really screwed up! To anyone posting here that even THINKS the airline might be justified in it's treatment of this woman, I pity you. I really do.
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YOU BLEW IT!!! Cut your loses and apologize to the girl AND sit the attendant (Keith?) down and pound some COMMON SENSE into him. Are you getting a clue that WE the flying public--and public in general-- are against you on this one???? I've read the posts and with the exception of the mommy wanting to protect her kids from the evils of life (if she really thinks THIS is an evil, then she AND her kids are in for a rude awakening) we are overwhelmingly in favor of the young woman who was HUMILIATED by Southwests actions. You also should fly her where ever she wants to go for a year for FREE. BAD, BAD Southwest.
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Way to go Southwest! You've got my business for sure! If you don't have a dress code I hope you create one to support your making this girl cover up. I wouldn't want to sit in her seat and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near her during a flight, especially with children. I'm sure hooters is grateful for all the attention, though. They like attention whether it's good or bad. These younger girls need to grow some class and realize they should save their skimpy clothing for the hooters classy clientele.
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Thank you for maintaining a respectable flying environment.
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I disagree, this is crazy fudie thinking. Southwest just lost my business, about $2K a year we spend on their flights out of Nashville which from now on will go to Continental airlines. If I want to be preached too or judged I'll go to church and if I want to fly I'll go Continental!!
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I agree that it is not her fault. As long as her attire is within legal constitutional guidelines who cares what shes wearing? Opinions are simply just that and nothing more and a paying customer should not be harassed because some retards are jealous they couldn't pull off the same outfit or aren't Twenty years old again. I suppose if we're going to dress not to offend anyone we can all just throw on a cloak before we leave the house eh? But if we aren't going to throw cloaks on then when you leave your house realize you are now entering the World and in the world your opinion only goes as far as the person next to you and no further. If you don't agree with what someone else is wearing turn your head. If that doesn't work for you then go home. Stop the hate on hot girls if anything take into consideration the extra fuel that a plane has to use for flights bearing overweight people. lol Seriously though this is shameful and I nor anyone I talk to for any length of time will ever bother to fly SW again. Sometimes loosing customers is the only way a company can learn to stay in their place and it seems SW has certainly lost their share of customers today.
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As a parent of a teenage daughter I don't know if I was more disgusted by moms excuse making or the young womans outfit. I'm all for a cute little outfit and she is a beautiful girl but...Even on the Today Show and, I am sure on her best behavior, this young woman forced me to look at her little white panties while she tried to sit back down in her seat the whole time tugging on her skirt. Who knows how many times she"flashed" while trying to get comfortable in her seat. I am so sick of looking at these young women flashing their thongs and panties I can't tell you! Although extreme, Southwest sent a Families Values statement no one else has dared and they speak for more of us than you may think!!
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This poor woman, I for one will NEVER fly your airlines again. I'm not sure if I will live up to Southwest Airline's dress code that DOES NOT exist. Southwest should be so embarassed of the action of thier employee who did this to this woman. I hope this poor women ends up owning Southwest airlines by the time her lawsuite is settled. I think that ALL of Southwest female flight attendents should dress EXACTLY like this woman, WITH CLASS. Atleast she has some, unlike your airlines.
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Thank you to Southwest for acting on this inappropriate attire. We appreciate your stand for decency which is sorely lacking throughout our society these days. Our family is grateful that the airline is protecting ALL its passengers from those who would deny us our freedom to fly without having to look at the flaunted bodies of those who have no shame in baring themselves in public. We will continue to support you.
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I guess my concern is the arbitrary nature of your enforcement of your policies. As a former frequent flier (pre 9/11) and now beginning to fly more, I have been charged several times for things on a return trip when i wasn't on the originating flight (I even inquired about extra fees at the gate) This method of giving individuals authority should be commended but there should be standards that are followed by everyone. As a business owner, If I cannot rely on consistent enforcement, I cannot fly SWA because I will not know from one flight to the next if my staff will be allowed to fly or charged extra.
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Congratulations SWA, obviously her momma didn't teach her how to dress for travel. That was a bar-hopping-looking-to-get-me-a-date outfit. I have 3 daughters in college, and, they know what to wear for business, formal occasions, fun, etc.....
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One question: if the incident embarrassed Kyla so much, why is she, and her mother and attorney, drawing more attention to the incident? Is Kyla, mother and attorney looking to try to cash in on this month's old incident? Hmmm. Makes one wonder. As an employee of SWA, we believe in our culture that we are taught from day one - SWA is the LUV airline. Yes, back in the day, employees who were then known as "stewardesses" wore short-shorts and knee-high boots - that was the fad. But their bodies were covered. Now, our "flight attendants" dress in casual attire - and are able to look professional while being comfortable. I have to ask myself why the Today show hasn't aired a segment on SWA's support of our troops overseas, the LUV rations that are collected and sent to the troops fighting for our country. . .now that is a news story! I am sure the SWA employee spoke quietly to Kyla in explaining the situation, just as we are taught when we have to speak to someone who is intoxicated and not able to fly on their chosen flight. The entire thing would have been over and forgotten had Kyla not wanted to bring attention to herself. Only those who were traveling on the flight know for sure if Kyla had on all of her undergarments. I didn't see Matt Lauer ask Kyla to reach up. . .what a sight that would have been on the Today show! Years ago, people put on their "Sunday best" for airline travel. Now, we are much more casual. But it is necessary to be "appropriately attired" in our casualness. What famous Vulcan said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" ? 136 other flying customers should not have to have felt uncomfortable because of the scanty nature of Kyla's outfit.
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You all goofed big time -- our family flying with two children (age seven and ten) would have been more offended by your employees ridiculing a fellow passenger than by the passenger's attire. Southwest and employees involved should apologize for their unfriendly and hypocritical behavior. We will rethink our future flight plans to visit family in Vegas and Phoenix.
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I think SW has really crossed the line. An airline does not have the authority to tell anyone how to dress. If the airline though the young lady was showing to much, they should have called for the police. In our society only the police have the authority to make decisions regarding whether or not someone is wearing to little as to make it leud. Then, they have to arrest and a judge review the evidence.... you get the point. Airlines do not have any authority pass that of safety. I hope this young lady sues SW for a large sum of money. Maybe then SW will get the point that they are just a business. They don't dictate social values to Americans. Oh, and I don't see me buying any tickets from this airline until they acknowledge that they were wrong and apologize to the young lady and public at large.