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Dress right for free flights

AirportThe row about passengers’ clothing that has been dubbed 'leggingsgate' has brought to light the strict dress code that some airlines require travellers with free tickets to adhere to.

One of the world’s biggest carriers, United Airlines, has hit the headlines due to some young travellers being told to change their clothes before a flight. After the incident created a storm on social media, it transpired that they were using free tickets.

Tweeted response

The airline tweeted: “United shall have the right to refuse passengers who are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage.”

In fact most airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, insist on high standards of dress for staff and their families who are travelling on “non-revenue” tickets or passes.

United commented: “We have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow.”

UK airlines

British Airways has instructions for former staff travelling on free or discounted tickets that say: “Both yourself and your nominee/s should be neatly dressed, especially if your ticket offers premium cabin eligibility. For travel in the Club and Traveller cabins smart jeans can be worn.”

However, non-revenue BA passengers must not accept amenity kits: “When travelling in a premium cabin wash bags and sleepers suits must be discreetly declined.”

Drinks and meals also come under scrutiny if you are flying free with BA as their rules state that if you choose a wine that has not been opened for a commercial passenger you should expect to "discreetly accept an alternative choice," and that commercial customers will also be given first choice from the food menu.

Virgin Atlantic's rules for staff and their families include bans on sarong, kaftans and shorts, and also skirts and dresses that are above mid-thigh.

This might be news to Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson, who said in a recent blog post: “Personally, I think all employers should drop the dress code and let their teams wear whatever they feel most comfortable in.”

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your Worldwide Travel Insurance in advance.

Date Created: 29 March 2017

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