Saturday, September 8, 2007

Southwest Airlines 'Ding!' Program: It's Not Just About Special Flight Discounts Anymore!

Have you flown lately? Are you amazed by the list of stuff you can't take on a plane? I mean items like Box Cutters, Ice Picks, Knives, Sabers (light saber acceptable Chewy), Baseball Bats, Bows and Arrows, Flare Guns, Axes and Hatchets, Cattle Prods, Billy Clubs, Brass Knuckles, Nunchakus, Blasting Caps, Turpentine and Paint Thinner, Chlorine for Pools and Spas, Tear Gas and even Beverages brought from home LARGER than 3 oz. Now you can add to that list a white denim miniskirt, high-heel sandals, and a turquoise summer sweater over a tank top over a bra.

I guess Kyla Ebbert, who was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight two months ago for wearing an outfit far less revealing than a bikini top, didn't read the new rules! Maybe they should have been posted on their Ding! flight special software. Ebbert was kicked off the plane, because of what she was wearing. She had a short skirt, and a tight, revealing shirt. The 23-year-old refused to change and they eventually let her back on. But only on the condition that she pull her tank top up some and pull her skirt down a bit. Southwest explained its treatment of Ebbert in a letter to her mother, saying it could remove any passenger “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive” to ensure the comfort of children and “adults with heightened sensitivities.” Hmmmmm. What do you's the actual dress!

Come on folks. Girls in high-school wear less than that. If an airline has a problem with your clothes I think they should give you a dress code along with your ticket. Ebbert, a Mesa College student and a delightfully tacky but unrefined Hooters waitress, was allowed to stay on the plane, but only after she put up a fight and, she says, was lectured on how to dress properly. Ebbert, 23, says she was judged unfairly by the airline and humiliated by the experience. Who wouldn't be? She had a doctor's appointment that afternoon in Tucson, where temperatures had topped 106 all week.

After the plane filled, and the flight attendants (who by the way posed in mini skirts for this old picture I found on the web) began their safety spiel, Ebbert was asked to step off the plane by a customer service supervisor, identified by the airline only as “Keith.” They walked her out onto the jet bridge, where Keith told Ebbert her clothing was inappropriate and asked her to change. She explained she was flying to Tucson for only a few hours and had brought no luggage. “I asked him what part of my outfit was offensive,” she said. “The shirt? The skirt? And he said, 'The whole thing.' ” I wonder which way Keith swings and who knows where the lines are drawn these days, particularly when it comes to dress? If you watch television, or visit the mall, or stroll through The Grove on a hot summer day, you'll see women dressed in ways that, 50 years ago, were pornographic. Today they are stylish. Southwest said “there were concerns about the revealing nature of her outfit.”

You know, that's the problem with flying the friendly skies nowadays. Airlines just don't take the time to dispense fashion advice any more.