While you might think your revealing outfit or T-shirt expressing your social and political views shouldn’t be a problem, airlines might not agree, and they’re prepared to show you just how much if it comes to that, according to an Associated Press report.
Arizona State University graduate student Arijit Guha found that out from Delta Air Lines last week when he was blocked from a flight in Buffalo, N.Y., because he wore a T-shirt that said “Terrists gonna kill us all [sic].” Guha, who was mocking federal security agents and criticizing what he called racial profiling, told the AP he was exercising his free-speech rights and thought “it was a very American idea” to do so.
Delta, however, is a private company and while the First Amendment prevents the government from limiting free-speech rights, private companies aren’t held to the same standard, according to Houston law expert Joe Larson, who observed that it was a Delta pilot who confronted the passenger about the T shirt and not Transportation Security Administration agents.
Other airlines, such as Southwest, American Airlines and US Airways, which last year pulled a passenger from a San Francisco flight because of his sagging pants, also have confronted passengers.
Kenneth Quinn, an aviation lawyer and former chief counsel at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, told AP, “It’s like any service business. If you run a family restaurant and somebody is swearing, you kindly ask them to leave.”
If a person puts down several hundred dollars for a flight and is comfortable with what he or she is wearing, should the passenger be allowed on the flight if others are concerned or offended?