Seattle burlesque performer: Airline did not allow me to board plane because of my short shorts

SEATTLE — A woman is upset after she says she was not allowed to board a plane bound for Seattle because of her short shorts.




Burlesque performer Maggie McMuffin leaves it all on the stage in her shows in Seattle.

But she says a recent bout with airline JetBlue has left her feelings bruised.

"I felt very disrespected," she told KIRO 7 News.

On May 18, she was at the Boston airport waiting to catch a connecting flight to Seattle.

She flew from New York to Boston earlier that day wearing a long-sleeve sweater, thigh-high socks and short shorts.

She says she had been standing by the gate for about 45 minutes when a gate lead approached her.

"Told me that she was really sorry for bringing this up but just what I was wearing was not appropriate and the flight crew had discussed it and the pilot had decided that I needed to put something else on or I would not be allowed to board the flight," she said.




Her shorts were deemed too short.

She says she didn’t have any other clothes with her and offered to tie the sweater around her waist, and even asked for a blanket but was not allowed.

She says she was offered to be booked on another flight.

She felt forced into searching the airport and finally buying $22 sleep trunks just to get home.

She questions the subjective rules since she went through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and was not questioned during her first flight.

“I was told it was the pilot's final say so these are official rules that can be broken," she said.

KIRO 7 News asked JetBlue to respond. The company’s spokesman released this statement:

“The gate and on board crew discussed the customer’s clothing and determined that the burlesque shorts may offend other families on the flight. While the customer was not denied boarding, the crew members politely asked if she could change. The customer agreed and continued on the flight without interruption.

We support our crew members’ discretion to make these difficult decisions, and we decided to reimburse the customer for the cost of the new shorts and offered a credit for future flight as a good will gesture.”

KIRO 7 News asked if she would have still been allowed to board had she decided not to change.

Spokesman Doug McGraw said he could not speak to a “hypothetical.”

Maggie says she made no mention of her occupation before or after the confrontation.

Asked if she looks back and sees any possible problem with her outfit, Maggie responded:

“I've seen people online that say this looks like underwear because of the shape but I have walked around in outfits like that before," she said.

"I feel like it's just a symptom of our patriarchal society that women are sold scantily clad things and if we choose to wear them we can be punished for that."

Maggie did get a credit of almost $200 from JetBlue and a refund for her sleep trunks, but she wants the pilot to apologize, a clear dress code for airline passengers and a cash or a larger refund on the flight.

According to a CNN report in 2011, JetBlue “warns that it can remove passengers whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive.”