Why Did U.S. Airways Let This Man Wear Lingerie On A Plane?
So, did you hear the story about the football player from the University of New Mexico who got arrested almost two weeks ago for—gasp—sagging his pants and exposing a small portion of his underwear to fellow passengers aboard a U.S. Airways flight? Did you watch the video that leaked last week of the plane’s pilot confronting the player, 20-year-old DeShon Marman? Were you shocked that his relatively mild-mannered response prompted the pilot to have him arrested—and did you immediately think, “Wow, something just doesn’t add up here”?
Well, you weren’t alone. We thought Marman’s arrest on the U.S. Airways flight was offensive, unnecessary, and racist. Yes, racist. If that had been a white man sagging his pants or an overweight man suffering from a serious case of plumber’s crack or even just a young lady wearing revealing clothing, little if anything would have been done to try and rectify the “situation.” There’s a good chance those cases wouldn’t have prompted a response from the plane’s flight crew, let alone a stern warning from the pilot and, eventually, a trip to the slammer. So, yes, racist was one of the first words that came to mind after the story hit.
And now we’ve got another piece of evidence to prove it. As it turns out, just a week before Marman was arrested for sagging his pants, a man who took a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to Phoenix was photographed wearing—get this!—skimpy women’s panties, thigh-high stockings, a pair of high-heels, and a top that barely covered his man-boobs. And, the best part: No one said anything to him, even as a fellow passenger snapped a shot in front of the U.S. Airways terminal!
The Washington Post immediately recognized the double standard and decided to give U.S. Airways a call late last week to ask them about the man’s attire. And what they found out is shocking. “We don’t have a dress code policy,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that’s not appropriate…So if they’re not exposing their private parts, they’re allowed to fly.”
Hmmm…Or, are they? What about DeShon Marman? For the record, U.S. Airways contends that Marman was exposing a body part—though they haven’t revealed which one—when he walked onto one of their planes to take a flight from San Francisco to Albuquerque, N.M. And they say that his reaction to being asked to pull them up was the only reason Marman was asked to get off the flight and later arrested. But Marman’s attorney has issued a rebuttal saying surveillance video at the airport would suggest otherwise, and that Marman shouldn’t have been singled out and asked to get off the plane.
But regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, the latest news about a man flying on a U.S. Airways flight in a pair of women’s underwear certainly doesn’t help the case of the airline. If they’re going to make a big fuss over who wears what on a flight, they need to make sure they’re doing it for everyone and not just a select few. These may have just been two isolated incidents—and may not represent how U.S. Airways operates as a whole—but the fact that the incidents happened just a week apart makes it look worse than it is.
We’d also like to point out that if Marman wasn’t a football player at a Division 1 school and if so many sports blogs hadn’t picked up this story, it likely wouldn’t have enjoyed the shelf-life it has. It probably wouldn’t have gotten picked up by any of the national newspapers, either. But the fact that it did feature a football player and that it did get picked up nationally gives us the opportunity to bring the situation to light and demonstrates that this type of behavior by large companies still goes on and is unacceptable.
We expect U.S. Airways to issue an apology for the treatment of DeShon Marman. And if they aren’t willing to give that, at the very least they can give us a better explanation as to why Marman had to be arrested for his actions. Otherwise, we’ll make sure we fly Jet Blue or American Airlines or Delta or Continental or any other airline the next time we fly. Because if this is the type of double standard that U.S. Airways delivers on their flights, we’re probably better off.