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Kayla Eubanks took to Twitter to complain about the behaviour of the employee, and to reveal the captain of the plane eventually lent her a t-shirt so that she could board the flight to Chicago from LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Basically, she was wearing a halter top because she was expecting the weather to be extremely hot upon her arrival, but was told that her attire was - in her words - 'lewd, obscene and offensive'.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines has since apologised to Eubanks and said that they've offered her a refund as a 'gesture of goodwill'.
The 22-year-old told Buzzfeed News that she'd usually dress differently for the airport, but on this occasion decided to dress for the weather upon her arrival rather than wearing anything different.
She explained: "Generally I wear, like, T-shirts, sweats, or whatever to the airport, but it was supposed to be like 77 degrees in Chicago when I landed. It's only an hour-and-a-half, two-hour flight."
Once she dropped off her luggage, she went to the boarding gate where one particular member of Southwest staff refused to let her board the plane.
During the ensuing discussion, Eubanks asked staff to produce evidence of the policy by which they were refusing her entry to the aircraft.
She continued: "I was initially shocked, then I was very annoyed because this is discriminatory. I literally cannot remove these from me, I'm a woman, and they're mine, I can't leave them at home, I can't detach them so for you to tell me that my body part is offensive, I don't know what you want.
"I've seen men on planes shirtless. I've seen them with tank tops where I can see their nipples on the side - not to make it about other people, but I've seen a lot of other things on planes."
The dress code reads: "Dress to impress. While Southwest's dress code is relaxed and casual, you will be expected to present a clean, well groomed, and tasteful appearance."
The airline also adds that it tries to 'promote a family-centric environment'.
Eventually, one of the other members of staff gave her a t-shirt, and she was allowed to board the plane.
Eubanks added: "It seemed like everything that was going on was based on personal biases, and I just don't feel like that's appropriate.
"If there is a policy, then let that be the policy for everyone, every day. Don't let it be, 'Oh, this person is working, so you can wear this on this day, but the next day you can't wear it because somebody else is working.' The employees were on completely different pages.
"I think they need to update the policy. I think it needs to be non-discriminatory. I think that as a woman, specifically a Black woman, my body is constantly policed and over-sexualised, and that's not fair to me.
"I think they need to take the initiative and figure out what they deem is or isn't acceptable and let that be the standard across the board, period."
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