- Getty/Cavan Images
- Thomas Cook Airlines staff threatened to throw a 21-year-old woman off a plane for wearing a crop top.
- Emily O’Connor said they told her to “cover up” as she was “causing offence” and her outfit was “inappropriate.”
- O’Connor said a male passenger on board shouted: “Shut up you pathetic woman. Put a f—ing jacket on.” She said the flight attendants said nothing to him.
- O’Connor said that she felt sexualized and ridiculed and that it was “the worst experience of my life.”
- Thomas Cook has apologized for how its staff handled the situation.
A woman said airline staff threatened to throw her off a plane for wearing a crop top.
Emily O’Connor, 21, was on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight from Birmingham, England, to Tenerife, Spain, when the incident took place.
After posting about what happened on Twitter, her story quickly went viral, and Thomas Cook has now apologized.
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
O’Connor was wearing a black crop top with high-waisted trousers.
She wore the outfit through security and border control at the airport, but it was only when she boarded the plane that any issue became apparent.
She said that as she entered the plane, staff members told her to put on more clothing. She then went to her seat.
However, the flight manager and four other members of Thomas Cook staff then told her they would remove her from the flight if she didn’t “cover up,” as she was “causing offence” and her outfit was “inappropriate.”
O’Connor said staff members were standing around her, waiting to retrieve her luggage and escort her from the plane.
“They announced that I was offensive and inappropriate in front of the whole flight. 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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I informed the staff that there is no ‘appropriate wear’ policy stipulated online,” O’Connor said.
With the whole plane listening, O’Connor stood up and asked the other passengers whether she was offending anyone, but no one said a word.
O’Connor said the manager then went to get her bags, but at the same time, a man shouted: “Shut up you pathetic woman. Put a f—ing jacket on.”
She said the airline staff said nothing to him, writing: “They allowed a man [to] hurl abuse at me whilst the Flight manager and 4 air staff stood and said nothing.”
O’Connor said that she borrowed a jacket from her cousin, who was sitting at the front of the plane, and that the staff didn’t leave until she put it on.
“They made comments over the speaker about the situation and left me shaking and upset on my own,” she added.
O’Connor’s story swiftly went viral. Most people have taken her side and expressed outrage at how Thomas Cook treated her, but some thought she was dressed inappropriately and should have covered up.
The airline has now apologized for how its staff behaved.
“We are sorry that we upset Ms. O’Connor,” a Thomas Cook spokesperson told INSIDER. “It’s clear we could have handled the situation better.
“In common with most airlines, we have an appropriate-attire policy. This applies equally to men and women of all ages without discrimination.
“Our crews have the difficult task of implementing that policy and don’t always get it right.”
Thomas Cook’s “appropriate attire” policy is stated in the in-flight magazine.
It says: “Customers wearing inappropriate attire (including items with offensive slogans or images) will not be permitted to travel unless a change of clothes is possible. Footwear must be worn on the aircraft.”
The airline said its cabin services director has spoken to O’Connor twice since the incident to apologize further.