US Airways have been accused of refusing to let two black passengers into first class unless they changed out of their jeans, hoodies and baseball caps into slacks and a button-up shirt.
McCraig Warren and Miles Warren are claiming that when they tried to board the plane in Denver bound for Los Angeles, they were told by an employee that their clothes violated an alleged first class dress code.
The two men then went to a restroom to change their clothes. While they were there Miles reportedly spoke to a white passenger — Michael Heffernan — and told him he was worried that he would miss his flight because of the apparent dress code violation.
In a federal discrimination lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Warrens say they were then saw two young men in first class — one Caucasian and one Filipino — who were both wearing jeans and hooded sweatshirts.
The Warrens spoke to the two men who revealed that they were “not instructed to change their clothes prior to boarding, nor at any time during the flight.”
As a result of their alleged experience, the Warrens are now seeking punitive damages say they were shocked, humiliated and confused by what happened.
US Airways spokesperson Andrew Christie told AlterNet:
“We welcome customers of all ethnicities and backgrounds and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We take these allegations seriously.”
“Initial indications are that these pass-riders were traveling on non-revenue tickets as part of our employee travel program. All employees and pass-riders are expected to comply with the policies associated with this travel privilege.”
This explanation is understood to mean that passengers using “non-revenue” tickets are held to a dress code while other passengers are not.
It is likely this component of US Airways policy will be robustly challenged if the discrimination lawsuit goes to trial.
Do you think the US airways employee discriminated against the two black passengers by asking them to change, and do you think it’s fair that two other non-black passengers were not asked to do the same?