Passenger ‘very upset’ after being told she was ‘showing too much skin’ on flight

·3 min read
Incident occurred on an Air New Zealand flight (Getty Images)
Incident occurred on an Air New Zealand flight (Getty Images)

A woman was left feeling “very upset” after airline staff told her to cover up before a flight because she was “showing too much skin”.

Courtney Newbold was about to board an Air New Zealand Rarotonga-Auckland service on 23 July when she claims two separate flight attendants remarked on her outfit.

The first allegedly asked if she had a t-shirt as she was “showing too much skin” in her high-waisted leggings and two layered crop tops.

“Because it’s so hot in the airport, I hadn’t thought about a jersey or anything,” said Ms Newbold, reports Stuff.

She borrowed a friend’s top to wear on the flight, but claims she was stopped by a second member of staff at the top of the stairs.

“She said the same thing to me, she said, ‘do you have a jersey you can put on?’,” says Ms Newbold.

Newbold said she was “very upset” by the incident, adding: “It was shocking to me that in 2021 someone was telling me I can’t wear what I was wearing.”

She complained via the airline’s Facebook page and received a call from Air New Zealand to apologise.

The representative was “very apologetic”, according to Ms Newbold, and said the carrier would investigate and look into further training of staff when it comes to dress code.

“She said it wasn't the staff’s place to pass judgement on my clothing,” added Ms Newbold.

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Air New Zealand told Stuff in a statement: “It's always our intention to put customers first and ensure those who travel with us feel welcome and have a comfortable journey, and we apologise that this was not Courtney's experience this time around.

”In this instance, there has been a misunderstanding, but we will be taking this situation as learning and will be re-engaging with our customer-facing teams to ensure that this doesn't happen again.”

The Independent has contacted Air New Zealand for further comment.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that an airline has caused offence by telling a passenger their outfit was inappropriate.

A Turkish bodybuilder and social media influencer was stopped from boarding an American Airlines flight for allegedly wearing denim shorts that were “too short” and would “disturb families” on the plane.

Deniz Saypinar was prevented from boarding a flight from Texas to Miami on 8 July.

On her Instagram, Ms Saypinar said that she had moved to the US to “experience freedom” but was shocked by the “ridiculous” behaviour of American Airlines staff. 

American Airlines said in a statement: “On 8 July, American Airlines denied boarding for a customer travelling from Dallas-Fort Worth to Miami. As stated in the conditions of carriage, all customers must dress appropriately and offensive clothing isn’t permitted on board our flights.”

The spokesperson added: “The customer was advised of our policy and was rebooked on a subsequent flight. The customer has since arrived in Miami.”

Watch: Airline refunds: What are your rights as a consumer?'

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