Saudi Arabian airline Saudia refuses to let passenger board a flight because he was wearing shorts
The kingdom follows a very strict dress code enforced by authorities and being the national airline, Saudia told the man his clothing was inappropriate and he should change
There have been many instances lately where passengers on flights have been escorted off the aircraft because of unruly behavior, but, in the case of one entrepreneur, he was turned away by the staff at the boarding gate of a Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flight on October 8 because he had been wearing shorts and this was considered to be inappropriate attire for the airline.
Jordan Bishop, who is a contributor to Forbes and the founder of Yore Oyster, a corporate flights concierge, spoke about his experience in an article for Forbes and said he was pulled out of the boarding queue and was told by one Saudia staff member he would not be allowed on the flight unless he changed what he was wearing.
Until that moment, the Daily Mail reported, everything had gone as planned for Bishop. He had arrived at the Jakarta airport a full two hours before his 4 p.m. flight, Bishop explained in his article. He had also checked-in and was waiting in the Saudia lounge for his flight to begin boarding.
(Saudi Arabian Airlines denies passenger boarding for wearing shorts)— geopost 24/7 (@gooshi2000) October 9, 2018
A man has been refused entry onto a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight for wearing shorts.
Jordan Bishop, a Forbes contributor and ... - https://t.co/oZ8oylG4I0 pic.twitter.com/jl4xUfj9AA
When he reached the boarding gate, Bishop wrote he saw one of the airline staff giving him an "awkward look" and then call his superior. The manager arrived and told the entrepreneur he would not be able to board the flight to Istanbul, Turkey, through Riyadh. Bishop said he travels internationally regularly and his clothes have never been under question in such a manner before.
The airline website has an official Saudi dress code that reads: "Saudia is requesting from their guests to abide by a dress code whereby they are clothed in a manner that is in line with public taste or not offensive to other passengers." Saudia is the national airline of Saudi Arabia, a country that follows Wahhabism, a conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam. The kingdom has a very strict dress code that is law and the authorities in the country ensure all women wear an abaya, a long garment that covers their clothes, while in public.
Bishop explained, however, that he had been told that shorts were allowed once the flight had taken off and when it reaches Saudi Arabia but not during the process of boarding. According to the entrepreneur, the weather in Jakarta had been over 90 degrees Fahrenheit so he had nothing he could change into. He asked the airline if they had any spare clothes but they said they did not. After trying to argue his case for some time to no avail, Bishop decided to do something about it.
Time was running out till the last passenger had to board the flight and Bishop ran to a nearby airport kiosk that was selling sarongs. He bought one and tied it around his waist like a skirt. Even though the staff were skeptical about it, they let him board the flight. Bishop also mentioned, in his article, multiple crew members went up to him and apologized later and told him that it wasn't his fault. He claimed one of them said: "This happens more than you'd think."