What’s up with the airlines?
As I have the great fortune of flying around the country on my book tour (current stop Los Angeles), I’ve been paying more attention than usual to what’s going on in the not-so-friendly skies. Yesterday, I heard about an older, non-colored gent who was allowed to fly on US Airways wearing lingerie – yes, lingerie. But that wasn’t even the hook of the story. It seems just days later, a Black college student was kicked off a flight, also on US Airways, for wearing sagging pants (and for refusing to pull them up after an attendant’s request).

Now, let be among the first to loudly denounce sagging pants — right after President Obama. I don’t want to see any man’s underwear outside of the house, much less on the train, walking down the sidewalk, or in an airport terminal. Yes, a man showing off his Calvin’s is an eyesore and completely inappropriate for public display. But if we’re weighing the level of what’s worse (and more outrageous), between a kid showing his behind in boxer-briefs and a grown man wearing panties (and a bra and thigh-high stockings) showing almost everything? The man in the lady-things is going to trump every time. Why wasn’t he even asked to cover up by airline personnel, despite complaints from other passengers? (Note: there are no reports of complaints about the student in the baggy jeans.)
The good folks over at US Airways don’t agree. Spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said employees had been correct not to ask the lingerie-wearing man to cover himself. “As long as you’re covered, you can fly,” she explained.
As long as what’s covered? Both men are showing their underwear, one, the Black one, with more fabric than the other. Either they both stay on the plane, or they both get asked to cover up. And if they don’t comply, they don’t travel.
It seems Delta’s been having a few issues as well. There was a scandal earlier this month when a unit of American soldiers returning from Afghanistan were charged $2,800 for extra checked bags. One of the soldiers posted a video on the Internet complaining about Delta, and a PR nightmare for the airline quickly ensued. Initially, Delta apologized, but didn’t change its policy. But as the bad press grew, the airline decided to allow troops to carry up to four bags (and in some cases five) without charge.

Of course, I get why the soldiers get a much-deserved pass. But wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of us could get one too? As I jet around the nation, I’m annoyed at having to drop up to $30 for a checked bag on a flight that’s already expensive due to gas prices – and serves no food. But you know what drives me even more crazy? Now, nobody is checking their bags. The result is too much carry-on luggage and not enough space onboard the plane for it to fit. So each of my flights has been delayed by at least thirty minutes while all the bags that weren’t checked at check-in, get checked at the gate — an absolute nightmare.

Much like you, I have people to see and places to go and this summer (especially the ESSENCE Music Festival next week!). I wish the airlines could get us to our much needed getaways without all the drama. I promise to dress appropriately and only have a carry-on and a personal bag.
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter: @abelleinbk

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