A Seattle burlesque dancer was asked to change her clothes before boarding a flight from Boston back to Seattle. She says a JetBlue crew told her the outfit she was wearing was inappropriate. Maggie McMuffin was returning home from a performance on the east coast when the incident happened earlier this month. She was wearing a tiger sweater with striped black and white shorts and thigh-highs. She flew from New York to Boston on a JetBlue flight in that outfit with no problems. Yet on the second leg of her trip, from Boston to Seattle, she learned the flight crew in Boston had an issue with what she was wearing.
"A few minutes before boarding was set to start, the gate lead approached me and said there was a problem and that what I was wearing was not appropriate," said Maggie. "And they were hoping I could put something else on. And I informed them that I didn't have anything else. I had two small carry-ons with me, and they suggested I go buy something."
The performer ran to a store in the airport terminal and purchased a pair of size extra-large women’s pyjama bottoms for “proper coverage” to continue her journey home.
Since the incident, JetBlue has reimbursed McMuffin $22 for the cost of the pyjama bottoms and offered her a $162 credit for a future JetBlue flight.
Still, she feels incredibly disrespected.
"It was a nice gesture," she said. "But I don't really want to fly JetBlue again and they told me they couldn't give me a cash refund."
A spokesperson for JetBlue said:
"The gate and onboard crew discussed the customer's clothing and determined that the burlesque shorts may offend other families on the flight. While the customer was not denied boarding, the crew members politely asked if she could change. The customer agreed and continued on the flight without interruption. We support our crew members' discretion to make these difficult decisions."
Maggie says she'd much rather have an apology and a more clear airline policy regarding passenger dress code.
"If companies are going to seek action against people like me, they should clearly list their boundaries and their dress code," she said. "I think this seems like a small thing, but it's connected to a lot of larger things in our society, and it's something JetBlue really needs to analyse.
They're not like burlesque shorts, they're just shorts," she said. "And it's obviously subjective. I've flown JetBlue before. I flew in that exact same outfit the same day, and also if they can rebook me on a different flight, that means it's not any type of company policy. It's very subjective."
In this case, Maggie says she was told the flight crew discussed her outfit, and the pilot made the final call about how to handle it.