Woman's tattoo threatens airline safety

Crew protects passengers from tattoo by covering it with a jacket.

Published February 8, 2006 8:41PM (EST)

Thanks to Nerve's Scanner for alerting us to the airlines' latest attempt to purge the friendly skies of unseemly dress-code violations. Back in October, Southwest kicked a woman off a flight for wearing a T-shirt depicting key members of the Bush administration under the slogan "Meet the Fuckers." (And in November, Salon's Andrew Leonard flew with some folks who thought controversial T-shirt slogans should be grounds for deportation, which he wrote about here.) This week, flight attendants on Australia's Jetstar airline asked to inspect a passenger's shoulder tattoo and, noting that it depicted some kind of sex scene, threatened to remove her from the flight unless she wore a crew member's jacket over her tank top.

The passenger, Peta Bull, didn't think her tattoo was in danger of frightening the other passengers: "Unless you get right up close and examine it, you can't work out what the tattoo is anyway," she told the Daily Mercury. But she agreed to wear the jacket, and even sat on the plane until all the other passengers had disembarked. Then she got up and tried to return the borrowed jacket to a flight attendant -- who told her she had to keep it on until she was in the terminal.

What, 'cause the jacket would prevent her tattoo from detonating while on board the aircraft? Is there some way we can redirect crew members' attention from women's accessories to actual safety concerns?

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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