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Can going braless remove you from your flight? Local airlines weigh in  

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Feb 11, 2024 6:03 pm

Is there such a thing as a dress code when going on a flight?

This idea was prompted after a self-employed DJ was reportedly removed and threatened from her flight for not wearing a bra.

On X (formerly Twitter), DJ Lisa Archbold, better known by her stage name DJette Kiwi, expressed her sentiments on a January 22 flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco after attending the Sundance Film Festival. She claimed she was "extracted from a Delta flight for not wearing a bra," and she was treated "like a criminal."

"@Delta I was extracted from a delta flight for not wearing a bra. The gate attendant waited until the entire plane was seated, then asked to speak to me privately and escorted me off the plane, like a criminal. I was told 'the official policy of @Delta is that women must cover up,'" she said. 

According to the New Zealand Herald, Archbold was approached by a crew member when she went to her designated seat. The crew member then loudly announced that she needed to speak with her privately.

Citing the NZ Herald, Business Insider said that an employee escorted Archbold off the plane and scolded her for her "baggy" t-shirt and long pants, described by the airline crews as "offensive attire" and "revealing." In addition, she told Yahoo! News Australia that she was allowed to reboard the flight only once she had covered up with a jacket.

After wearing her jacket, Archbold then confronted a male staff member to express her disappointment over her perceived "discrimination."

"He replied verbatim, 'Our official policy on Delta Airlines is that women must cover-up.' It's pretty gross," she revealed to the New York Post.

Although Archbold received an apology from the airline through an email, she told the Herald that she felt "humiliated and abused" as a woman.

"It was humiliation," she said, adding that Delta stopped short of acknowledging any wrongdoing. She also hopes the airline will take a step forward to avoid such incidents.

"I don't need miles or an apology, I need Delta to be interested in the safety of their passengers. The dress code is extremely subjective. Subjective policies are easy vessels of abuse. They are easy to shift. Let's make everyone more safe," the DJ told the New York Post.

Meanwhile, Delta's US Contract of Carriage reserves the right to refuse transportation to passengers if their "conduct, attire, hygiene, or odor creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance" to other passengers, emphasizing that the airline does not have an official dress code for passengers.

As of writing, Delta Airlines has not yet released its official statement regarding the incident nor responded to Business Insider's requests for comment.

Is there an in-flight dress code?

Speaking to PhilSTAR L!fe, John Rey Catindoy, a passenger service agent at Philippine Airlines, said there is "no specific dress code among passengers as long as it's not "too vulgar" and shows the wearer's comfort.

"Wala namang specific dress code sa mga [passenger] as long as it's not too vulgar and the person wearing it feels comfortable considering various conditions like the climate in our country and humidity," he told L!fe.

He continued, "Most Filipino passengers traveling abroad would stick to decent-looking outfits. Meanwhile, a majority of foreigners are noticeably fine with wearing shorts and sandos with matching flip flops or slippers."

This also rings true for Carlo Carongoy, the external communications manager and deputy spokesperson of AirAsia Philippines, "For as long as it's appropriate, we allow our passengers to board the plane. As an airline [that] pioneered low-cost travel and democratized air travel, we would like our guests to enjoy each journey."

He also cites scenarios and instances of such regulations.

"There are passengers, especially those who came from island destinations such as Panglao or Puerto Princesa and Cebu, who wear summer clothes from point A (domestic) to point B (international). Most of the time, they are allowed to travel," he said to L!fe.

Going braless: a political protest

Going braless was considered a political protest and a symbol of women's independence and feminism when women were struggling for equal rights.

Although the "burn the bra" movement gained notoriety, no bras were ever set on fire—women who were against the Miss America beauty contest in 1968 removed their bras and tossed them into a "Freedom Trash Can" receptacle in New Jersey.

Along with the bra, they threw in high heels, lipsticks, pots and pans, corsets, Playboy magazine, and curlers—things they considered "instruments of female torture" or enforced femininity.

'No Bra Day'

Every year, October 13 is officially recognized as No Bra Day. The origins of this event are traced back to a Toronto plastic surgeon who organized "Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day" to increase awareness of the availability of reconstructive surgery for women who have had mastectomy. It was also intended to raise awareness of breast cancer symptoms and early screening.