Was What She Wore Inappropriate For Travel?

“Flying from Bham to Tenerife, Thomas Cook told me that they were going to remove me from the flight if I didn’t ‘cover up’ as I was ‘causing offence’ and was ‘inappropriate’. They had 4 flight staff around me to get my luggage to take me off the plane.”

Was What She Wore Inappropriate For Travel?

Source: Twitter account of Emily O’Connor.

What you just read was what Emily O’Connor — who is 21 years old — posted in her Twitter account; and the photograph which you see is the outfit which was considered inappropriate.


A debate as to whether or not the employees of Thomas Cook was justified in their actions not only ensued in her Twitter account; but also in the media.

“Emily, I’ve flown in this and not a word was said.. sure it was with but it’s totally unfair and unjustified what has happened to you. Shouldn’t be one rule for one.. I’d understand if you looked nude like me” was one of the comments which was posted by Heather O in response to this incident — and it came with a warning from Twitter: “This media may contain sensitive material. Your media settings are configured to warn you when media may be sensitive.”

Source: Twitter account of Heather O.

Four photographs appeared after the word Vie was clicked — two of which are shown below.

Source: Twitter account of Heather O.

Both women wore outfits which do not exactly hide the shapes of their bodies; but plenty of passengers — both male and female — board airplanes every day wearing clothing with plunging necklines, fabric which contours their bodies tightly, nothing but straps to cover their shoulders, short shorts or skirts, with portions of their bare stomachs revealed for all of the world to see.

What is so different about what these two women wore which would be considered inappropriate for travel?

My Thoughts

The pants which Emily O’Connor wore are only form fitting at the hips, as the legs seem to taper out as they get closer to her feet. I am not sure exactly what is inappropriate about that — if anything — so I have to assume that the top is what was considered offensive, as it resembles more of an undergarment than an actual top…

…but is that top really any different from a sports bra, skimpy blouse with spaghetti straps or halter top? The chest of Emily O’Connor may not leave much to the imagination; but her breasts are not exactly hanging out with her nipples clearly protruding from the fabric either — and can someone please tell me what is so offensive about a nipple on the body of a woman as opposed to that on the body of a man?

Although a part of her stomach area is showing, it is minimal at best. I have seen a lot worse from other passengers — again, both male and female — aboard airplanes with no issue from members of the flight crew.

As for Heather O, I could not help but think that if her outfit was a different color, there would probably be no issue. As a Caucasian female, the color of her outfit resembles that of her skin and therefore gives the initial illusion that she is naked — but although it conforms to the shape of her body, there is really nothing wrong with it.

I decided to quickly retouch the photographs, as I did not want to spend too much time on them, so please excuse the quality…

Source: Twitter account of Heather O.

…by simply giving the outfit a different color.

Source: Twitter account of Heather O. Quick retouching by Brian Cohen.

Is the outfit still inappropriate?

This is not the first time a questionable outfit caused a scene pertaining to travel. As I first reported in this article back in May of 2016, a burlesque performer was denied permission to board an airplane at the international airport in Boston for a connecting flight to Seattle operated by JetBlue Airways because her shorts were too short, causing Maggie McMuffin to search the airport to purchase a pair of sleeping trunks for $22.00 so that she can get home.

Maggie McMuffin short shorts

Source: the official Facebook Internet web site of Molly McIsaac.

McMuffin did receive a credit of approximately $200.00 from JetBlue Airways — as well as a refund for the purchase of her sleeping trunks — but she also wanted an apology from the pilot; a clear and consistent dress code for airline passengers; and either cash or a more significant refund.

I am not sure I would egg McMuffin pertaining to the short shorts she wore, as her buns were not showing, from what I can see. I have personally witnessed women wearing apparel which was more revealing — such as shorts and skirts — and therefore truly inappropriate for wearing in public.

Stricter Dress Code When Traveling on Buddy Passes

Passengers who travel using what are known as buddy passes are required to adhere to a significantly stricter dress code. As I first reported in this article back in March of 2017, two girls were initially not permitted to board an airplane operated by United Airlines because they were wearing “leggings” — but the two girls were reportedly permitted to board once they changed into more appropriate attire. Of the eleven reasons why you may not want to use a buddy pass when traveling about which I wrote in this article, the last reason specified that you must dress at the appropriate minimum standard as set forth by airline policy:

Do not even think about wearing clothing which is considered ratty, filthy, unkempt, sexually provocative or sports profane messages. Wearing comfortable casual clothing in a neat manner is acceptable — although some airlines might require business casual as a minimum dress code when traveling using a buddy pass.

Ensure that your personally hygiene is minimally acceptable as well. Do not look like a slob or emit offensive odors, for example.

If the dress code does not appeal to you — or if you feel that it interferes with your appearance, which reflects your personality — then do not consider traveling using a buddy pass.

Another article which I wrote pertains to ten tips on how to use buddy passes to prevent your trip from going horribly wrong — complete with examples which actually occurred. This specific incident could have very well become yet another one of those examples.

The two girls might have not had any problems wearing leggings aboard an airplane if they were traveling on either revenue tickets or award tickets — but then again, what exactly is the difference between leggings, yoga pants, certain types of Capri pants, or other similar types of fashion and what Heather O wore?


Note that even though I do not find what either woman wore for travel as inappropriate, nowhere in the article did I consider what either woman wore as appropriate for travel. I personally believe they could have decided on more innocuous choices for wearing clothing for the purpose of traveling.

Many airlines do not have a clear and consistent dress code. Generally, members of flight crews determine what is inappropriate for passengers to wear for travel aboard an airplane…

…and what is appropriate to wear can depend on the factors of the overall environment, as determined by the example of travel via buddy passes versus travel via revenue ticket or award ticket.

As for a threshold in determining what clothing is appropriate to wear, I tend to generally agree with the following statement which Matthew Klint wrote in the Comments section of this article which he wrote pertaining to this topic at Live and Let’s Fly:

Some of the comments here are exactly why I would not permit my own daughter to dress like that (and hope to have instilled a worldview such that she would make that choice on her own when she was 21). It is one thing to appreciate beauty…it is another to become the object of sexual desire through your wardrobe choice. There are cultural mores, certainly applied unevenly and not without issues themselves, that remain helpful in a world in which we don’t live isolated from everyone else.

I do think that is a different issue than whether she should be allowed to dress like that. Doesn’t she condemn herself by the way she dresses? By that I mean she betrays desperation for attention. But I am not offended in the least…the solution is simple: don’t stare at her.

Frankly, I find the oversized feet of some people spilling out of their sandals more inappropriate — and disgusting — than what the aforementioned women wore; but I suppose other inappropriate outfits which people wear aboard airplanes can potentially be a discussion for at least another article…

Source: Twitter account of Heather O. Quick retouching by Brian Cohen.

8 thoughts on “Was What She Wore Inappropriate For Travel?”

  1. GUWonder says:

    What people wear in public at places beyond just water-side, gym-side and exercise-focused areas has definitely become a lot more “relaxed” than used to be the case. And there is certainly not as much left to the imagination in terms of what some female attire is concealing as used to be the case.

    Wearing booty-contour-revealing clothes in public has increasingly moved into the realm of norm for regular day-wear when out and about in public. So I’m not surprised airlines end up with passengers whose clothing seems “inappropriate” to some.

    Personally, I would prefer that the airlines get out of the clothing patrol business unless and until the attire is such a public nuisance that there are laws applicable to the airline over the state of dress/undress involved.

  2. J says:

    To the passengers dressing like this – WAKE UP get some cloths on!!! It’s an airplane not a gym not a trail you run on, it’s not your house where you lounge around it’s an airplane. If you were smart you would also NOT wear polyester clothing use all natural cotton type clothing shoes you can run in given an emergency. This applies to any gender as well. Men is swim suits sweat pants tank tops short shorts or basketball shorts just as unacceptable.

  3. derek says:

    People should wear clothes for safety. Too much skin, particularly elbows and legs and that is injury waiting to happen in an evacuation. Also wear smart shoes. Plunging necklines are not so dangerous.

  4. BMG says:

    It is inappropriate – in some of the pictures it looks like she isn’t wearing anything.

  5. Christian says:

    There are certain social norms that should be recognized. If these ladies were flying from Jeddah to Tehran (unlikely given the regional tensions, but work with me here), these outfits would be completely inappropriate, but for normal western flights they perhaps push the borders of good taste, but overall are fine. I do think that imposing a dress code on nonrevs is perfectly acceptable. Overall, I have two problems with people calling these women out: this pretty much never happens to men, which makes it sexism, and the implication that human males are no better than feral dogs at controlling themselves. This makes for pretty much everyone to be insulted. The women are judged by a different standard and it’s implied that men are completely incapable of controlling themselves.

  6. rmah says:

    it’s just skin.


    “A debate as to whether or not the employees of Thomas Cook ~~was ~~ justified in their actions not only ensued in her Twitter account; but also in the media.”

  7. rmah says:

    also, no semicolon needed!

  8. Kitt katt says:

    A comment on punctuation as mentioned by rmah:

    No semi colons needed before the FANBOYS ( for, and , nor, but, or, yet, so). The proper punctuation is a comma. This rule is easily found online. Unnecessary can be a distraction.

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