This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Different cultures have different expectations of what is and isn’t culturally appropriate — whether it’s what hand signals are offensive, which hand you use to pay or what clothes you’re expected to wear. When flying, we’ve heard of dress codes for non-revenue passengers (remember LeggingGate?) but dress codes for passengers seem like a thing of the distant past. While you may be judged for what you wear, passengers seem to wear whatever they feel is most comfortable.
However, as one passenger learned the hard way this week, there’s at least one airline that still has a dress code for passengers. Skyteam’s Saudia Airlines denied Forbes contributor Jordan Bishop from boarding a flight from Jakarta (CGK) to Riyadh (RUH) for having an “offensive” outfit. The offensive piece of clothing: his shorts.
SAUDIA is requesting from their guests to abide by a dress code where by they are clothed in a manner that is inline with public taste or not offensive to other passengers.
Turns out that shorts don’t make the cut for being “inline with public taste” — according to Saudia. Thankfully TPG‘s Alberto Riva was wearing pants or our review of the Saudia’s business class from NYC to Riyadh might not have happened.
While the current version of the dress code doesn’t specifically mention shorts, we are able to go back in time thanks to the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine” to find the full version of what the airline finds offensive — at least as of July 2017:
SAUDIA is requesting from their guests to abide by a dress code where by they are not clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.
- Women exposing legs or arms; or wearing too thin; or too tight clothes.
- Men wearing shorts exposing legs.
Note: SAUDIA may refuse to transport passengers, or may remove passengers from the flight at any point for not complying with its dress code.
* including but not limited to.
Thankfully Bishop didn’t miss the flight. He was able to buy a sarong at an airport store, which passed the gate agent’s decency requirements, and was allowed to board the flight. On-board, he spoke with flight attendants who recalled “several cases where passengers have not been allowed to fly.” Saudia’s policy for clothing violations is to treat the passenger as if he or she missed the flight entirely; the airline will not re-book the passenger. Instead, the passenger has to buy another ticket.
So, take this as a lesson for even the most frequent flyer: when flying to or through a conservative country, make sure that the airline you’re flying on doesn’t have a dress code. And, it doesn’t hurt to have a change of clothes with you. After all, you never know when checked baggage might be delayed.
Featured image by Carlo107 via Getty Images
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees