CHICAGO (CBS) – If there is one thing you never mess with, it is a woman and her leggings.
Which is why a tweet about United Airlines not allowing two girls wearing leggings on board a Denver flight went viral in a matter of minutes.
CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey talked with United representatives and got to the bottom of what really happened.
A single tweet posted by Shannon Watts set twitter into a leggings frenzy.
Shannon Watts was nearby when three passengers were turned away from a United flight out of Denver because two young girls were wearing leggings.
“I don’t think leggings are inappropriate for women or for girls and this young girl who was 10 or 11 looked like a normal little kid,” Watts said.
Watts’ initial tweet to United was retweeted more than 5,000 times and even got disapproving reaction from celebrities, Chrissy Tiegan, William Shatner and Patricia Arquette.
But little did Watts know, the three passengers were flying as friends and family of a United employee, as part of the “Pass Riders” program. There is a specific dress code that prohibits “pass riders” from wearing form fitting lycra or spandex.
A United Airlines representative told CBS 2, “We have these guidelines in place so we don’t put a gate agent in a position to have to make judgement calls about attire. She followed all of the guidelines perfectly.”
“Social media is going to make or break your reputation.”
Public Relations Professor Anne Marie Mitchell said organizations need to be on the guard 24-7 for PR nightmares like this one.
“These kids of mistakes will happen, so again it’s just back to United and other organizations to figure out how do we respond quicker in real time before things get out of control, like they obviously did here,” Mitchell said.
Delta Airlines is taking advantage of the conversation, tweeting “Flying Delta means comfort. That means you can wear your leggings.”
It is important to note, there was no negative exchange between the gate agent and the girls about the leggings.
Anne Marie Mitchell said she would not be surprised if a leggings company took advantage of this social conversation and released “airplane leggings” in the next few weeks.