Airline forces teen to strip by check-in counter at the airport


MANCHESTER, England – Getting ready to jet off to Mallorca, Alix Townsend picked what she thought was the perfect outfit for a holiday in the sun.

Unfortunately, her short denim shorts did not pass muster with airport staff.

The 18-year-old says she was horrified to be told by a Monarch Airlines supervisor to take off her high-cut shorts in front of hundreds of passengers before checking in.

Monarch said Miss Townsend’s shorts were ‘cut extremely high and the cheeks of her bottom were visible’.

But she claims she was not allowed to go to the toilets to change and was left in tears after being forced to strip by the check-in desk at Manchester Airport.

The teenager, who has a place to study law at university, was in a group of 18 friends all going to an 18th birthday party.

She said: ‘I feel distraught – it was very embarrassing. I did not feel my outfit was inappropriate – there were other passengers in similar dress. When the supervisor told me to change rather rudely I was taken aback.

‘I agreed as I did not want to risk not getting on the flight. However, when I asked if I could go to the toilet to change and she made me change in front of everyone.’

Miss Townsend, from Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire, says that, in front of queueing travellers, she raided her suitcase and put on a long kaftan that covered her so she could wriggle out of her denim shorts and swap them for a pair of longer white cotton ones.

The teenager, who lives with her parents Lee, 51, and Helen, 49, added: ‘They had plenty of opportunity to approach me while we were queuing. I could have gone away and changed, maintaining some dignity.’

Mr Townsend, managing director of an advertising firm, said: ‘To single out my daughter for her attire is unacceptable. She was dressed appropriately.

‘She was understandably distraught. Other passengers were dressed in a risqué manner but not told to change.’

A Monarch spokesman denied she was told she could not go to the toilets to change, adding: ‘Miss Townsend was politely asked to change to comply with the airline’s dress policy.

We do not believe there are grounds for complaint.’