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First-Class Dress Codes & Security Rules for Celebrities

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Great day to flyBy now, everyone is familiar with standard airport security procedures: shoes off, boarding pass out, water bottles empty and laptops in a separate bin. But do these strict and irritating rules apply to everyone equally … even celebrities?

And what about dress codes on airplanes? In the last couple of years we’ve heard media reports of women being kicked off planes for being dressed to provocatively, and just this week a man was denied his seat in first class for dressing too casually.

Is it fair to lose your seat because of the way you dress? Read on to learn how the rules of flight – or lack thereof – are sometimes inconsistently enforced.

We the common people tend to think celebrities have it easy. However, we often forget that pop icons can’t go anywhere without being swarmed by paparazzi.

Many of these encounters can be ugly and invasive, but one photographer caught an interesting moment at Los Angeles International Airport this week.

Britney Spears with drink in handThe paparazzo filmed Britney Spears passing through a security checkpoint carrying a Big Gulp. TSA officials surely wouldn’t let the hoi polloi get away with such an egregious security breach, but apparently for celebrities, exceptions can be made.

Perhaps the TSA agents recognized Spears and realized how silly it was to think that she had any malicious intentions with that Big Gulp—yet they routinely hound “suspicious” plebeians like you and me for trying to pass through with a water bottle.

Meanwhile, a United Airlines agent refused to let a man sit in first class this week because he deemed the man’s track suit too casual for the section.

Armando Alvarez, an executive for Best Buy, cashed in his miles for a first class upgrade on his flight from Washington Dulles to Connecticut. After his upgrade cleared, the gate agent told him he was not in appropriate first class attire.

For more, Travel Detective & Middle Seat Columnist Talk Upgrades & Downgrades. Or check out Strategies for Securing Airline Upgrades.

A United spokesperson has said that the airline does not have a dress code for passengers, aside from a general “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy that requires passengers to cover their bodies and feet in some sort of garment.

Track JacketThe spokesperson said that the gate agent, who speaks English as a second language and was busy assisting another customer, mistook Alvarez for an airline employee, for whom a dress code would be required.

Alvarez reportedly felt humiliated by the incident and ended up spending the duration of his flight in coach.

What do you think? Should there be an airplane dress code? Has a passenger’s attire (or lack thereof) ever made you feel uncomfortable?

Is it fair to deny someone a seat based on the way he or she dresses? How do you feel about the apparent security double-standard for celebrities?

Leave some comments below and let us know what you think.

By Dan Bence for

Related Links: Gadling, USA Today, Fox Atlanta

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