A woman claims she was kicked off an American Airlines flight for refusing to remove a profanity-laden anti-drug mask, again placing the spotlight on American’s vague and inconsistently-enforced dress code.
Another F-Bomb Mask Incident On American Airlines, A Different Outcome
The F-bomb seems to stir up all sorts of emotions when invoked. And even going back to the seminal Cohen v. California case, Courts have struggled over the fine line between decency and political expression.
Of course an airplane is not the public square and not subject to the First Amendment. AA’s dress code can be comically arbitrary as long as it does not discriminate against a protected class.
But AA’s treatment of the f-bomb has been inconsistent, to put it nicely.
- In one instance, a passenger was kicked off for wearing a F*** cancer hoodie, but then American Airlines apologized. It said it should have “taken the broader context of the message displayed on the customer’s shirt into consideration.”
- In another instance, a passengers was kicked off for wearing a F*** 12 mask, an anti-police message that grew popular during the George Floyd protests and riots.
To makes matters worse in this case the passenger flew the first leg of her journey without issue, boarded her second flight without issue, and was only removed after one flight attendant was apparently offended and notified the captain, who finally came out and sided with the flight attendant.
— Traci ❤️ Lizzy Storm (@LizzyStorm4Uxxx) October 29, 2021
Arguably, American Airlines is between a rock and a hard place. A general policy has advantages over specific “can” and “cannot” rules. But now the f-bomb has come up three times and each outcome was different.
Without making an inflexible black-and-white rule, American Airlines should set a policy on the f-word and other vulgar words. Are they appropriate in certain contexts or never appropriate?
However we can distinguish a lethal drug from the police from cancer, passengers should reasonably expect consistent enforcement in AA’s dress code. That clearly did not happen here and gives the passenger solid ground upon which to be angry, even if she should never have worn the mask in the first place.
American Airlines should decide once and for all how it wants to address the f-word on clothing, communicate it to employees, and move on. I don’t think a conditional approach works here. Either allow it or not. But please just make a decision.
(H/T: View From The Wing)