Should An Airline Be Allowed To Say Your Shirt Is Too Offensive?

When does an airline passenger’s attire cross a line and become so offensive they should not be allowed to board? And who determines where that line is drawn? Those are the questions surrounding an incident involving a woman who says she missed her connecting flight because a pilot said her shirt was inappropriate.

The passenger in question tells she was flying home from Washington, D.C., wearing a shirt (see the full sort-of NSFW version below) that reads, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a senator!” — a reference to a sign held by Oklahoma state senator Judy McIntyre during a March reproductive rights rally.

The woman says she made it through security and boarded the plane — wearing a shawl — without incident. But before the flight was about to land, she says that a flight attendant asked her if she had a connecting flight. When she told the attendant that she would be connecting to another flight, the attendant said the passenger needed to speak to the pilot because the shirt was offensive.

As she was deplaning, the pilot spoke to her and said she should not have been allowed to board and that she needed to change her shirt before boarding her connecting flight.


The passenger’s luggage had already been checked so that meant she would need to buy a shirt. And when she arrived at the gate for her connecting flight, she says she learned that the pilot had called ahead to alert the gate crew to her shirt.

She wasn’t able to board that flight, but was — again with the help of her shawl — able to board a later connecting flight.

The American Airlines contract of carriage, does give the airline the right to refuse of remove passengers who “Are clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.”

And the airline confirms to that “the only reason she was asked to cover up her T-shirt was the appearance of the ‘F-word’ on the T-shirt.”

We wanted to know from you whether or not you think the shirt in question was sufficiently offensive to merit the pilot asking the passenger to change:

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