This week United Airlines refused to allow two teenage "girls in leggings" to board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis. Their reason: because spandex is not allowed. It turns out the young women were flying via United employee passes, and according to CNN, "the longstanding policy requires those who enjoy the perks of airline employment, which include free travel passes for family and guests, to present themselves in a way that represents the airline well."

This is dumb, and not just because leggings can be fancy and not just for yoga. Here's why. First of all: fellow passengers would not even know these young women were in any way attached to the airline. To my knowledge, they aren't being formally presented to each passenger upon departure. Secondly, why can some people be in spandex and others not? I don't care what kind of ticket got you on the plane, you are all now on the same plane, so for this to make any sense you need to make it an across-the-board dress code rule. And lastly, this rule is archaic. I will wear nice clothes when airplanes look nice again, dammit. Why should anyone have to dress in their finest threads when crammed into a little chair in a tin can for six hours, probably next to someone who's sneezing and has commandeered your precious middle armrest? Planes are filled with germs, crying babies, sometimes snakes, people eating Doritos... the idea that an airplane is some classy club is from a bygone era. Bring back caviar service and cocktail lounges and I'll throw on my designer jumpsuit, a statement necklace, and some heels, okay?

But for now, if I get on a plane and everyone is wearing clothing, I consider that a win. Others are more opinionated on this topic, however. A male friend posted the following message on Facebook after the United incident: "Years ago, people dressed up to take a flight. Now we are subjected to a sea of Seaside Heights summer boardwalk fashions. Spandex isn't appropriate clothing for any person outside a gym, regardless of body type. You look good in spandex? That's nice. Don't wear it on a plane. Put on jeans. This isn't SoulCycle. And men, you're not excused, either. Don't walk around like you're in a game scene from 'The White Shadow.' And I don't care if you've given up on life. Don't wear sweatpants when I'm trapped on a flight with you for seven hours. If my one year old can wear slacks and a sweater for an entire flight and not complain, so can you." I've never disagreed more with this person in my life.

There are plenty of people flying with chronic pain and other medical issues, and those people may find it's significantly more comfortable to travel in elastic waist clothing like leggings or sweatpants. But even perfectly healthy people should be able to wear what they want, because it's not your job to look nice for, say, Bob from Indiana. It's not your job to make the flight more aesthetically pleasing for the guy next to you, or to live up to the clothing standards they've deemed acceptable. How often is anyone actually looking at their fellow passengers for during any given flight, anyway? 45 seconds? Everyone on the plane is staring at their iPhone, in-flight television, laptop, or inside of their sleep mask.

So, what is appropriate airplane clothing? It is whatever the fuck you feel like wearing that day. Personally, I wear dresses when I fly. I find them to be comfortable and it means that after a hot towel on the face and a brush through my hair I can pretty much go from runway to dinner without having to change in a gross bathroom. But if I could rationalize spending money on a pair of those fancy sweatpants, I'd probably wear those.

In fact, United, one time I flew on a Virgin Atlantic employee pass and they gave me sweatpants to wear on the flight—just some standard, gym class, grey sweatpants with their logo. I put them on immediately and it made the entire experience much more comfortable and I'm pretty sure it did not ruin the flying experience for other passengers.

For more airplane fashion inspiration, click through the gallery above.

N.B. Please cover all parts of your feet on a plane.