Last year, Saudi Arabian Airlines made the news for enforcing a strict dress code, refusing to carry “women exposing legs or arms, or wearing too thin or too tight clothes, and men wearing shorts exposing legs”.
It’s the national airline of Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism is followed, a conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam.
But on its website, the carrier has a very general, and brief, description of its dress code.
“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,” it says.
So, for western passengers travelling on the airline, what’s considered decent attire could be hard to discern. Wearing a comfy pair of shorts for a comfortable journey could, understandably, fly under the radar as Jordan Bishop found out.
When he went to board his Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, he faced a polite refusal, reports The Independent.
“Sir, I’m afraid we can’t allow you to board. You cannot fly with Saudia wearing shorts,” a manager informed Bishop, who was boarding a 4 pm flight at Jakarta to fly via Riyadh to Istanbul on October 3.
But when the Forbes writer – ironically also the founder of Yore Oyster, a corporate flights concierge – was caught short … with nothing else to change into, the manager again denied him entry.
So quick-thinking Bishop made a dash for a clothes store at the airport.
“When it became clear that I had no other option but to find a pair of pants on my own, I ran down the length of the terminal until I found a travel kiosk selling sarongs,” he said.
“I bought the first one I saw, raced back to the gate and tied it around my waist like a full-length skirt.”
Where he was given an “awkward” once-over by a flight attendant at the gate before boarding, the addition of the sarong provoked some bemused glances according to the writer, but he was finally given permission to board.
Have you ever been refused entry to a flight? Tell us why and what happened in the comments section below.
Article created in partnership with Over60.