Best Buy executive Armando Alvarez was hosed last Monday when he was denied boarding onto a United flight from Washington Dulles to Connecticut because he was wearing a tracksuit. He showed up for his flight and upgraded his seat at the counter from coach to first, using miles. Once it was time to board, an employee stopped him at the gate and reprimanded him for his dress, saying he was not dressed appropriately for first class and was denied entry, and ultimately, his flight. “I was humiliated,” Alvarez is quoted as saying to FOX 5 reporter Will Thomas following the incident. “I was embarrassed and when some of the passengers were boarding behind me they said, ‘Hey, what just happened?’ And I said the agent just said I wasn’t properly dressed to go in first class today. And they said, ‘Was he kidding?’ I said obviously not because I’m boarding and not getting in first class.”
United weighed in with their sketchy side of the story — they claim that the employee on duty who didn’t allow Alvarez to fly was very busy at the time, helping other customers, erroneously thought that Alvarez was an airline employee, and therefore subject to the airline employee dress code for first class. Note there is no dress code for passengers, other than they must be wearing clothes and shoes. Also, United tossed in that the airline employee who denied Alvarez entrance also speaks English as a second language. Hey, the guy was busy, and c’mon, he don’t speak English so good. So obviously he thought Alvarez was also an employee of the airline. What’s next? Are you going to lose people’s luggage and break their guitars, due to the fact that the baggage handlers were busy and don’t speak English?