I’m Too Sexy for My Plane
Posted by Tony & Cheri on September 7, 2007
We live in Playa del Carmen, but then again you probably knew that. Down here fashion standards are little relaxed. Putting a coverup over your string bikini is usually all that’s required to gain access to the nicest restaurant or bar. Sometimes we forget that the rest of the world might be a little more traditional in its fashion sense. However, we just saw on the news today a story that really ticked us off. Yes, there are a lot of things in the world that need fixing, and we all try and do our share. Maybe this one isn’t the most important, but we thought it was worth a couple of minutes of consideration and a letter to the people at Southwest Airlines, which is being mailed from the US today, as the airline has a “no email” policy.
Dear Southwest Airlines,
We have always loved and patronized your airline. In our younger days, the lower fares of Southwest Airlines are what drew us. Since we’ve grown older and more successful, we still use Southwest for domestic flights. We always felt that it offered safe, efficient and friendly service. We couldn’t beat that even on more expensive carriers.
However, we write today to voice our extreme displeasure with your airline. We have seen this morning on the news Southwest’s reprehensible treatment of Ms. Kyla Ebbert. It seems that Ms. Ebbert was reprimanded for wearing a miniskirt and tank top on a Southwest Airlines flight. She was required to “adjust her clothing” or be removed from the flight. She was then lectured about her attire. We consider this behavior by Southwest to be so ill-advised and so wrong that we are seriously considering never using your airline again.
We have seen photographs of Ms. Ebbert’s attire. It is the same attire that one sees everywhere in many urban areas in the world. Indeed, she was more modestly attired than many people we have seen on the streets, on buses and yes, on airlines. It appears that her attire offended some small-minded passenger, flight attendant or bureaucrat. The effect of this “offense” was that Ms. Ebbert was publicly humiliated and threatened with expulsion.
Your legal and publicity advisors may be telling you that this is simply a small matter and will quickly go away. They are incorrect on both counts. First, it is not a small matter. In America, our concepts of larger issues of liberty and freedom are always…ALWAYS…grounded in personal freedoms. How we treat individuals creates the basis for how we treat ourselves as a society. Ms. Ebbert broke no law. As we said, her attire was socially acceptable. But the fact that one person was offended caused your airline to take dramatic steps against her. What is the next step for Southwest’s policies? If someone complains that they see another passenger reading a Bible, will Southwest feel free to ask the person to put the book away? If we complain because another passenger is wearing a yarmulke, will Southwest ask him to remove it on our behalf? At what point will Southwest stop being the guardian and self-appointed policeman of cultural mores? You have started down a slippery slope here which is the antithesis of how we as Americans are supposed to think and treat each other.
We are even more upset by Southwest’s official reaction to the outcry which has followed this incident. Southwest has attempted to sweep this matter under the rug. Your statement that you simply requested a clothing adjustment and then allowed Ms. Ebbert to continue on her journey fails to address the serious issues that your employees’ behavior has raised. What are Southwest’s policies? May individual flight attendants or supervisors enforce their own fashion rules? Are there other forms of “double-secret probation” being enforced on its passengers that no one knows about until they innocently violate them and find themselves humiliated on TV?
Southwest owes an apology to Ms. Ebbert, to its customers and to its employees. Southwest should have had the courage to step up and say, “A mistake was made with regard to Ms. Ebbert, and in the future we will make sure that our policy for dress is clearly understood by our employees.” Your failure to do so may have dramatic repercussions as more and more of your regular customers hear of this matter. .
Again, this is not a small matter. We urge Southwest to reconsider its statement and act in an appropriate and truly American fashion.
Tony & Cheri Head
No, we really don’t think that Southwest is going to change its policies because we don’t like them. But our regular blog readers know that we have no problem speaking out about what we perceive as an injustice or against blind following of authority. Our sympathies are with Ms. Ebbert. Besides, one of us really likes girls in miniskirts, and one of us is a girl who wears miniskirts. In fact here’s a picture of Cheri in normal Playa garb. Somehow we’re thinking Southwest wouldn’t approve.