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Couple kicked off Miami-New York flight because of T-shirt

by C1ay / August 1, 2004 9:00 PM PDT

MIAMI ? A couple returning home from a Costa Rican vacation was ejected from an American Airlines flight because the man was wearing a T-shirt depicting a bare breast.

Oscar Arela and his girlfriend, Tala Tow, were removed from Flight 952 on Saturday after he refused to change the shirt or turn it inside out at Miami International Airport. The flight left 90 minutes late without them.

The couple, making a connecting flight from Costa Rica, said nobody on the earlier flight objected to the shirt and claimed the airline violated their constitutional right to free speech.

More...

But, the first amendment prohibits Congress from infringing the right of free speech, not American Airlines or anyone else serving the public. What do you think?

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(NT) (NT) Seems reasonable to me
by Evie / August 1, 2004 10:46 PM PDT
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Airline on A&E
by Angeline Booher / August 1, 2004 11:39 PM PDT

I'm with AA Airlines on this, aside from the T-shirt issue.

I enjoy watching "Airline" on A&E (Monday nights). Those employees show remarkable patience, and make every effort to help. (The airline featured is Southwest.) The article said that the man was told to change his shirt, or to turn it wrong-side out. Was that too much to ask?

The airlines are charged with the safety of their passengers. They can refuse boarding to someone who is drunk, or who has been acting in a harassing manner /cursing employees. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the T-shirt man objected in an unsavory manner.

Regardless, the government regulates the airlines, but they do not own them.

The dozens of other passengers may or may not have found the shirt offensive. But,IMO, that was not the point. The airline did. We all have seen t-shirts that have stuff we prefer not to read or see. Free speech? I don't think so. I can think of no free speech issues re: that shirt, only one of "Look at me!" Otherwise, the airlines could not refuse boarding to those who are abusive or threatening to employees or fellow travelers.

Angeline
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re: Airline on A&E
by John Robie / August 2, 2004 7:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Airline on A&E

I also watch Airline on A&E because I normally travel Southwest. Another that shows a series about the problems of running Briton's largest airport comes on quite often on the Discovery Wings channel.

I have to go with AA on this T-Shirt incident:

"The description I heard was a picture of a graphic of a naked man and woman performing a sexual act," he said. "We as an airline are in the service business, and we have the same latitude as a restaurant that says proper attire is required."

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(NT) (NT) Yep, thought I read it already.....:-)
by John Robie / August 2, 2004 7:16 AM PDT
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I'm with AA on this one
by Josh K / August 2, 2004 6:43 AM PDT

This isn't a free expression issue. Restaurants and stores are allowed to have dress codes. Airlines are no different.

There was a little newsstand/grocery in a town I used to live in that made an effort to establish entry policies, but their sign wasn't written very well. It read:

No shirt
No shoes
No dogs
No service

I asked whether it would be OK to come in even though I didn't have a dog with me, but they didn't catch on.

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