3:54pm

Wed June 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Double Standard? US Airways Allows Man Wearing Panties To Fly

You remember we wrote about the University of New Mexico football player who was arrested at a San Francisco airport for his sagging pants, right?

Well, a reader of the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the story of Deshon Marman, sent the paper a picture of a scantily clad passenger who was allowed to fly six days earlier. The picture, taken June 9 before a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Phoenix, shows a man wearing blue, women's underwear and thigh-high stockings. The man is wearing a spaghetti-strap top, baring his midriff. The panties are just as revealing.

According to police, the day Marman was arrested, he was wearing pants, "below his butt and his boxer shorts were showing."

So the new revelation brings up lots of questions about the airline's dress code and whether there is a double standard at play. It also brings up questions about race, which we wrote about earlier, too. The man allowed to fly is white and Marman is black. The Chronicle spoke to Marman's attorney:

... Joe O'Sullivan, said that his client had been stereotyped by US Airways as a thug and that the airline was guilty of racial discrimination for asking Marman to adjust his clothes. Marman is African American.

"It just shows the hypocrisy involved," O'Sullivan said after he viewed the photo of the cross-dressing passenger. "They let a drag queen board a flight and welcomed him with open arms. Employees didn't ask him to cover up. He didn't have to talk to the pilot. They didn't try to remove him from the plane - and many people would find his attire repugnant."

O'Sullivan added, "A white man is allowed to fly in underwear without question, but my client was asked to pull up his pajama pants because they hung below his waist."

The woman who sent the picture, Jill Tarlow, told the Chronicle passengers complained about the man. The AP reports that a US Airways spokesperson confirmed the man in the panties was allowed to fly. But the airline is sticking by its decision to kick Marman off the plane and let the cross-dressing passenger fly:

"We don't have a dress code policy," [US Airways spokeswoman Valerie] Wunder said. "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."

The airline has said Marman was exposing a body part on June 15 when he was repeatedly asked to pull up his pants.

His attorney, Joe O'Sullivan, said surveillance video would show his client's skin was not showing.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.