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Rights Groups Want Airlines to Issue Dress Codes for Flying

But they'd be opening themselves up for lawsuits...

For decades passengers have traveled aboard air carriers without being instructed on the appropriate attire for their sky-bound journeys. And while some travelers have come under fire for donning outfits deemed too outrageous for the friendly skies -- namely the male U.S. Airways passenger who wore ladies' lingerie, stockings and high heels -- flyers rights groups are now calling on airlines to publish dress codes in the same manner they publish ticket prices and baggage restrictions.

"People aren't mind readers,” says Kate Hanni, executive director of FlyersRights.org. “They don't know what that flight attendant's going to want to see when you get on a plane!"

Fox News adds:

She argues the lack of consistency leaves passengers exposed to the judgments of the flight crew, who may take offense at clothing that wouldn't be considered indecent off the plane, but which leads to an argument and sometimes ends with the passenger getting kicked off. Such an incident happened in San Francisco this past June, when a college football player’s low hung pants- and his refusal to pull them up- caused his controversial removal from the plane.

Most airlines agree that the people running the flight need to know passengers will do what they’re told.

[...] Indeed, most of the major carriers scoff at spelling out specifics, and only give general guidelines in their contracts of carriage. American Airlines, for instance, won't give a maximum weight limit, but reserves the right to turn away anyone deemed too fat to comply with safety instructions by themselves. The airlines say it also within its right to kick off someone with an offensive odor not caused by an illness or disability. On the question of clothing, passengers can be booted if they're dressed in a manner "that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers."

The proposed policy has also drawn critics, who assert airlines would open themselves up to lawsuits in the event a flight-crew overreacts to a passenger's form of dress.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson told Fox News, "If an airline's going to be so unreasonable for kicking someone off a plane for wearing saggy pants or being slightly overweight, to me, it just seems impolite of the airline to behave in that way."

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