JetBlue Staff Asks Dancer To Change Shorts Before Boarding Flight

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Maggie McMuffin didn’t think there was anything scandalous about the black-and-white chevron shorts she was wearing when trying to catch a connecting flight from Boston to Seattle earlier this month.

But apparently, for JetBlue employees, her outfit didn’t fly.

The 26-year-old burlesque performer, who asked that only her stage name be used, made a pit stop at Logan International Airport from New York City on May 18, on her way home to the West Coast.

While McMuffin was waiting to board her flight, a JetBlue employee approached McMuffin at the gate and asked that she change out of her high-waisted shorts, or risk not getting on the plane, McMuffin said during a telephone interview.

“My response was a little angry, and a little surprised,” said McMuffin.

“I was like, ‘I don’t understand that,’ since I had flown JetBlue [to Boston] earlier that day with no problem.”

McMuffin said the shorts “covered everything,” so there was no way, in her opinion, that she was breaking any indecent exposure laws.

“I was wearing thigh-high socks and a large sweater,” she said. “[Including the shorts] 90 percent of my body was covered.”

Doug McGraw, a spokesman for JetBlue, said in an e-mail to the Globe that airline employees at the gate and aboard the plane had “discussed the customer’s clothing and determined that the burlesque shorts may offend other families on the flight.”

When asked about the airline’s customer clothing policies, McGraw said JetBlue’s “contract of carriage” allows the company to deny boarding to any customer whose clothing may be offensive to the viewing public.

McGraw said that McMuffin wasn’t denied access to the plane, but rather, the flight crews “politely asked if she could change.”

“The customer agreed and continued on the flight without interruption,” he said. “We support our crewmembers’ discretion to make these difficult decisions.”

But McMuffin said the JetBlue employee who had confronted her about the shorts in question said she could either change outfits or be booked on a later flight.

To ensure that she made it back to Seattle as scheduled, McMuffin complied with the airline’s request, dashing off to a store in the airport to purchase a different pair of shorts, she said.

“It was embarrassing,” she said.

McMuffin’s tango with JetBlue piqued the interest of Internet users this week, leading to an influx of inquiries about what had happened and a range of opinions from the flying public.

“Stop being a whiny brat,” one person told her on Twitter. “Your panties were inappropriate for a flight. Save that for [your] shows.”

Others put on short shorts of their own, and said they were going to fly in “solidarity” with McMuffin.

The airline said that it had reimbursed McMuffin for the shorts she had to buy before boarding the plane, and offered the dancer a credit for a future flight.

But for McMuffin, that wasn’t enough.

“I don’t want to fly JetBlue again, even though this is the only problem I’ve had with them,” she said.

“It’s a pretty big breach of trust as a consumer.”

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