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An airline apologized after threatening to throw a 21-year-old woman off a plane because she was wearing a crop top

INSIDER logoINSIDER 3/14/2019 Rachel Hosie
© Emily O'Connor via Twitter

Emily O'Connor via Twitter

  • Thomas Cook airline staff threatened to throw a 21-year-old woman off a plane for wearing a crop top.
  • Emily O'Connor was told to "cover up" as she was "causing offence" and her outfit was "inappropriate."
  • A male passenger on board shouted, "Shut up you pathetic woman. Put a f---ing jacket on," and the flight attendants reportedly said nothing to him.
  • O'Connor says she felt "sexualized and ridiculed," and she has branded the incident "the worst experience of my life."
  • Thomas Cook has now apologized for how its staff handled the situation.

A trainee accountant has shared the "upsetting" experience of being threatened with being thrown off a plane for wearing a crop top.

Emily O'Connor, 21, was on board a plane flying from Birmingham, UK, to Tenerife, Spain, when the incident took place.

After posting about what happened on Twitter, her story quickly went viral, and the airline, Thomas Cook, has now apologized.

The young woman was wearing a black crop top with high-waisted trousers as she set off on a trip abroad.

She wore the outfit all the way through security and passport control at the airport, but it was only when she boarded the plane any issue became apparent.

O'Connor explained that as she entered the plane, she was told 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 claims the staff standing around her were 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 to what was going on, O'Connor stood up and asked her fellow passengers whether she was offending anyone, but no one said a word. 

It was at that moment that the manager went to get her bags, but at the same time, a man on board shouted: "Shut up you pathetic woman. Put a f---ing jacket on," according to O'Connor.

She claims the airline staff said nothing to him: "They allowed a man [to] hurl abuse at me whilst the flight manager and four air staff stood and said nothing."

O'Connor ultimately borrowed a jacket from her cousin who was sitting at the front of the plane, and she says the staff didn't leave until she had 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 on Twitter, with most people taking her side and expressing their outrage at how she was treated by Thomas Cook, but some others thought she was indeed 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 also said its Cabin Services Director had spoken to O'Connor twice since the incident to apologize further.

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