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Woman Sues Jet Blue, Says She Was Kicked Off Flight Until She Could Prove She Had Underwear On

Posted Jul 22, 2011 11:44 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A New York financial consultant has filed a state-court lawsuit against Jet Blue, contending that the discount carrier refused to fly her to Florida until she could prove she had underwear on.

Escorted off a plane earlier this month, Malinda Knowles, 27, says she had to pull up her t-shirt and reveal the short-shorts she was wearing underneath before she was allowed to board another flight, reports the New York Daily News.

Knowles said she was "completely humiliated" by being asked by a "macho" male airline supervisor "to basically show him my crotch." Her lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Brian Dratch asserts claims for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The action follows recent underwear issues on other airline flights:

Last month, as the San Francisco Chronicle details, a college football player removed from an Albuquerque-bound plane, arrested and jailed when he refused to pull up his saggy pants in order to travel on a US Airways flight from San Francisco.

DeShon Marmon, 20, who plays for the University of New Mexico, was held in lieu of $11,000 bail on suspicion of trespassing, battery of a police officer and resisting arrest. His mother complained that her son, who is black and wears his hair in dreadlocks, was targeted due to his race. The charges were later dropped.

While Marmon, who was reportedly returning home from a funeral a day earlier and upset about a friend's death, could have been more cooperative, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the case didn't merit prosecution, reports the Associated Press.

“My belief is, if we took this into a courtroom with 12 members of our community on our jury, they would tell me, ‘Come on guys, you have more important things to spend your time on,’” said Wagstaffe. “And I share that view.”

Meanwhile, a US Airways spokeswoman said the airline's dress code prohibits "indecent exposure or inappropriate" attire.

Marmon's case, however, caught the attention of another US Airways passenger, who told the Chronicle the airline had allowed a middle-aged white male passenger to fly a short time earlier wearing revealing women's panties--and provided a photo to prove her claim. (The man also had on thigh-high stockings and a spaghetti-strap top over a bare midriff.)

A post on the Two-Way page of National Public Radio provides a copy of the photo and recaps the coverage, which includes a comment by the same US Airways spokeswoman explaining why this individual was allowed to fly despite fellow passengers' complaints.

"We don't have a dress code policy," she stated, adding: "Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that's not appropriate...So if they're not exposing their private parts, they're allowed to fly."

Although US Airways says Marmon violated that policy, his lawyer, Joe O'Sullivan, says surveillance footage will show his client didn't have any skin exposed, only his boxer shorts, which showed above the dropped waistband of his pajama pants.

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