Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Too sexy for the plane?

Odd story I first came across in a post by IB, a math teacher in Minnesota. And it is not about math or teaching or schools or education. It's about a young woman who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because "her clothing was inappropriate."

Huh? Check out the picture to left. This 23-year old Kyla Ebbert was wearing when she was escorted off the flight.

I think Gerry Braun at the San Diego Union-Tribune first broke the story.
Southwest explained its treatment of Ebbert in a letter to her mother, saying it could remove any passenger “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive” to ensure the comfort of children and “adults with heightened sensitivities.”
Her attire was lewd or obscene or patently offensive?

Oh, come on. What BS. I see skimpier clothing on, well, nearly all young women today.

Wrote Mr. Braun,
A Supreme Court justice famously could not define “obscene,” and declaring a thing “lewd” imputes motive. Did Kyla Ebbert intend to excite sexual desire on that flight to Tucson? I doubt it, just as I doubt that flight attendants are proper judges of such matters.

But neither am I. So when I arranged to see Ebbert in the notorious outfit, I brought along my fashion advisers, writer Nina Garin and photojournalist Crissy Pascual, who for years collaborated on a feature in this newspaper called “Seen on the Street.”

The three of us met Ebbert and her mother for lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Ebbert, who is 5-foot-5 and has green eyes, is pretty enough to be a model.

Yet even wearing the clothes that scandalized Southwest, she did not attract attention beyond some lingering glances.

My fashion advisers were baffled, saying they saw nothing you don't see on a college campus or in Pacific Beach.

“I was expecting to be shocked, and I was shocked the other way,” Pascual told me.

“It wasn't a big deal,” Garin said. “Her skirt was a bit short, which was only accented by her heels. If she had been wearing flip-flops it wouldn't have mattered.”

Garin wondered if a jealous woman may have complained about Ebbert's outfit. I asked her what she would have said had she been on the plane.

“ 'I hope she's not sitting next to my husband,' ” Garin replied. “She's pretty. She wears her clothes well. But I wouldn't complain about it.”

Pascual detected sexism in the way Ebbert was treated, wondering if a man would have been asked to change clothes. Do men dress inappropriately? “I see butt cracks, a lot of butt cracks,” she said.

In its letter, Southwest said “there were concerns about the revealing nature of her outfit.”

I called Hollye Chacón, the Southwest customer relations representative who wrote the letter, to see if we were talking about the same outfit.

“What exactly was being revealed?” I asked.

She said yesterday she'd call back, but never did. That's pretty revealing in itself.
Yeh; I think Southwest went over the top on this one. They ought to give Ms. Ebbert a round-trip ticket or a year's pass in return for her not taking them to court.

As to public reaction, well, the blogosphere is all a twitter, and I love the comments posted at this site:
  • I’ve flown Southwest for 30+ years, and their stewardesses used to wear much more revealing clothing than that.
  • The girl seems overdressed by today’s standards.
  • She can sit next to me. Heck, if they run out of seats, I’ll generously offer my lap...
  • In the interests of saving those “adults with heightened sensibilities”, I’ll sit next to her. I do it not for myself, but for all mankind.
  • Finally, a middle-aged man willing to stand up for the rights of beautiful, scantily-clad blondes! Way to go, Gerry!
The good news is that Ms. Ebbert was allowed back on the plane, and she was able to make her doctor's appointment in Tucson.


  1. I don't know if she's dressed inappropriately, but I'd sure hope that she sat in the seat next to me. ;-)

  2. Come on, she is a hooter gal, and they're not known for modesty. You can bet she was wearing either a thong or nothing under that skirt. It only takes flashing a little beaver in the waiting area to piss off someone enough to complain. I know I get tired of seeing people let too much hang out.

  3. She was just on the Today show and when she stood up she looked okay. But when she went to sit down the camera guys had to blur out her snatch. Too short yeah.

  4. way too freaking short. Come on people use some common sense. She said on the Today show she was so embarrassed because everyone was looking at her. Wasn't that the whole point when she put on that skirt. Mission acomplished!

  5. I just love to see what topics generate comments... shows what's really important in this world...


  6. Yet another consequence of the "moral majority" trying to foist it's puritanical belief system on the entire world. America is losing brave men & women everyday fighting against Muslim fundamentalists who ironically would agree with Southwest Airlines that this is inappropriate clothing for a woman. But from what I've been told, that's because "they hate freedom"...wait a minute now, wake up America! How much more freedom are YOU willing to lose? Or do also just hate freedom?

  7. She is more revealing in these pictures..

  8. I'll bet she did not have her tank top pulled down to cover her middle. That would have left about 6 inches of "skirt" covering her butt. It says that she had to pull her skirt down and her ttank top down so I'll be the bottom of her ass was visible.

  9. She is more revealing in these pictures..

    Based on these pics I would venture to guess that her mini skirt wasn't covering up much more than her underwear is in those pics.

  10. I work at an airport....i see more revealing than that each and every single minute from may to end of sept? This LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY young lady is going to be very rich off their a** and probably free flights for life.

  11. Yeah... but that picture was taken AFTER the incident. She could have totally adjusted her clothing. They said pull the shirt up... but the picture shows no cleavage.

    Something fishy going on!

  12. The male flight attendant who complained about her clothing should be fired!!!

    I dress like that ALL the time.

  13. I don't believe for a minute that she was wearing the same granny panties in the waiting areas as she was on the Today show.

  14. If we all had the body to wear stuff like that we would. i wear stuff like that(maby alittle bit shorter) and when i go out women are always giving me the evil eye. I feel that other women are just jelous that they couldn't be able to pull of that type of clothes. and/or their afraid of losing their boyfriends. reading that last comment a MALE flight attendent complained. alittle confusing. anyway we always need someone to be sexy for the boys.