Flannel & Birkenstocks not enough

Leave the cleavage at home: Discovering Southwest Airlines' arbitrary, sexist policy

Leave the cleavage at home: Discovering Southwest Airlines' arbitrary, sexist policy

Southwest, too much cleavage, Avital-Jezebel
Southwest Airlines deemed Avital's dress "inappropriate." Avital/Jezebel
Southwest Airlines, cleavage, sandals
Were her Birkenstocks not enough to neutralize what was up top?  Jezebel.com
Southwest, too much cleavage, Avital-Jezebel
Southwest Airlines, cleavage, sandals

As if waking up for a 6 o'clock Tuesday morning flight from Las Vegas wasn't a truly miserable experience already, one passenger had to deflect an early-morning attack on her morality — and her breasts — before boarding the plane.

That passenger, Avital*, recently told Jezebel about her run-in with a Southwest Airlines representative who deemed her cleavage "inappropriate" and threatened that the passenger couldn't embark unless she buttoned her flannel shirt. 

"I didn't want to let the representative's Big Feelings about my breasts change the way I intended to board my flight," Avital said. "And lo and behold, the plane didn't fall out of the sky. . . my cleavage did not interfere with the plane's ability to function properly." 

 Avital was wearing a flannel shirt and what appear to be Birkenstock sandals. Shouldn't those accessories neutralize any amount of boobie-bearing?  

Let's be honest here. Avital was wearing a flannel shirt and what appear to be Birkenstock sandals. Shouldn't those accessories neutralize any amount of boobie-bearing?

And if not those, then the modest length of her cotton sun dress, or the drape of her colorful scarf? 

In a Contract of Carriage, Southwest outlines its right to refuse service to "[persons] whose conduct is or has been known to be disorderly, abusive, offensive, threatening, intimidating, violent, or whose clothing is lewd, obscene, or patently offensive."

That line is obviously quite blurry, as a representative balked at Avital, a "self-described large-chested woman," but let slide a guy "wearing a shirt with an actual Trojan condom embedded behind a clear plastic applique," who occupied the row ahead on her flight to New York. 

As Jason Cohen of the TM Daily Post pointed out, Southwest's perception of "family-friendly" hasn't always leaned so prudish — just take a look at these gams.

Why are its policies so upright and short-sighted now? Was an apology and a refund enough recompense for Avital's embarrassment?

*Avital asked Jezebel to withhold her last name.