Thomas Cook staff ridicules and humiliates passenger over a crop top
On her way to Tenerife, twenty-one-year-old Emily O'Connor tweeted about being left humiliated over a member of Thomas Cook staff threatening to remove her from the flight as they considered her outfit 'inappropriate' for travel.
Flying from Bham to Tenerife, Thomas Cook told me that they were going to remove me from the flight if I didn’t “cover up” as I was “causing offence” and was “inappropriate”. They had 4 flight staff around me to get my luggage to take me off the plane. pic.twitter.com/r28nvSYaoY
— Emily O'Connor (@emroseoconnor) March 12, 2019
According to Emily's thread on Twitter, she went through security and passport control in the same manner as she entered the plane. However, once she got on board, the staff threatened to 'remove' her from the flight if she didn't 'cover-up'.
The manager went as far as to get her bag, further pressuring her to cover up or else leave the flight. She later stated that she was left 'shaking and upset' when the staff talked about the situation over the speaker, further embarrassing her. It appears no one on the plane stood up for her, one man even telling her to 'shut up [...and] put a f*cking jacket on' whilst calling her a 'pathetic woman'.
'They had four flight staff around me to get my luggage to take me off the plane.'
It's clear how upset Emily has been left by the even, calling it 'the worst experience of [her] life.' The responses under the tweet have been largely supportive of her, and have tagged Thomas Cook demanding a response.
Surrounding this story, there is a question of misogyny. Emily's 'inappropriate' outfit shows off part of her chest (no more than a v-neck t-shirt would), her arms, shoulders (hardly the most scandalous part of the body) and a small area of her stomach. Emily has said they '[sexualised and ridiculed]' her, being told she had 'caused offence'. Just what about shoulders anyone could find offence with is unclear. Every part of the body that could be deemed in any way sexual is covered in Emily's attached picture, the suggestion that she should be more modest is blaming her for being harassed.
The story serves to highlight the way society treats women and the double standards of the way we treat men and women. One reply comes from someone claiming to work at an airport, informs Emily that they've seen 'guys wearing less on stag do's'. In their experience, they've never seen anyone being 'not allowed on for inappropriate wear'. Emily herself remembers "a gent two rows behind [her] was wearing a vest top and shorts...yet clearly nothing was said to him".
There appears to be no reason for Emily to have been singled out in this way, other than the fact she was a woman who was showing some skin. The staff have demonstrated the way that women are constantly over-sexualised—their bodies are viewed as objects, either too covered up or not covered enough.
'I was physically shaking, and they could see that, yet they continued to sexualise and ridicule me. It was the worst experience of my life.'
Unfortunately, there are those who agree with Thomas Cook staff. One reply told Emily she should have 'more class and cover up', asking her whether she'd 'walk down the street wearing that'. A redundant question, considering she very obviously would and did. Some seem to think Emily is at fault for resisting. It seems clear that people are missing the point when they believe she should have just covered up for the sake of preventing a scene. There shouldn't have been cause for a scene in the first place.
The BBC have reported Thomas Cook's response. They claim they are 'sorry to have upset Miss Cook', however, mention their 'appropriate clothing policy'. This contradicts their apology and tells us they believe the staff was right to consider her outfit inappropriate for travel to a hot country. Furthermore, Emily states that she was not aware of such a policy prior to her flight, telling us perhaps Thomas Cook are not making their expectations for clothing attire clear. There appears to be no word yet on just what about Emily's outfit Thomas Cook deems inappropriate.