Do Airplane Dress Codes Infringe on Free Speech?

Not really. Crews can kick passengers off flights for what they deem inappropriate attire

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Clearly today’s air travelers don’t dress up as they used to; jeans, or even sweats, are much more frequently worn on an airplane than suits and ties these days. But can an airline tell you what you can and can’t wear? Well, yeah, pretty much, the Associated Press reports.

In light of recent reports of passengers who were booted from planes because of their attire (such as overly baggy pants, too much cleavage and obscene or political messages on T-shirts), folks are wondering if free-speech rules apply in the air. The quick answer: Planes are private property, so airline officials are “within their rights to make the passengers change shirts even if messages are political,” First Amendment attorney Joe Larsen tells the news service.

“It’s like any service business,” aviation lawyer Kenneth Quinn adds. “If you run a family restaurant and somebody is swearing, you kindly ask them to leave.”

Do you think it’s fair to kick a passenger off a flight for showing too much skin or wearing a T-shirt with curse words? Or should folks be able to wear what they want, when they want? Leave a comment below!

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