An American passenger was forced to improvise quickly after being told he could not board his flight due to his “inappropriate” attire. He was wearing shorts.
Saudia is requesting from their guests to abide by a dress code whereby they are clothed in a manner that is inline with public taste or not offensive to other passengers.
That’s the extent of the policy.
Bishop was merely transiting through the Kingdom on his way to Turkey and would not actually enter it. Nevertheless, gate agents informed him he had to find pants or would be denied boarded. This despite the fact that nothing was mentioned to him at check-in or while he was visiting the lounge (he calls it the Saudia lounge in his story, but he likely means the Garuda Indonesia or JAS Lounge).
Without any pants in his checked or carry-on bag and the flight just moments from closing, Bishop darted down the concourse and purchased a sarong, a “garment consisting of a long piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body and tucked at the waist or under the armpits, traditionally worn in Southeast Asia.” In other words, a skirt.
He added that FAs confided him onboard that this is a regular problem on Saudia and the airline does not make any exceptions.
I’ll never forget my trip to Iran in 2011. Upon arrival on Kish Island, I was chastised for dressing so offensively and almost denied entry into the country. I was wearing shorts.
If you are a male traveling through Islamic countries, always keep in mind that it is considered offensive to expose your knees. Even so, I’m not sure if Bishop should have “known better.” Even though he was flying from one Islamic nation to another (oh Turkey, how Ataturk is rolling in his grave) via a third Islamic nation, you’d think that an airline like Saudia that markets itself to the world would make this requirement a bit more clear.
(H/T: View from the Wing / image: Saudia)