SAN FRANCISCO — Days before a college football player was arrested on a US Airways flight at San Francisco airport following a dispute over his saggy pants, the airline allowed another man wearing skimpy women’s panties and mid-thigh stockings to fly, according to a passenger and airline spokeswoman.
Jill Tarlow, a passenger on a June 9 flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Phoenix, took a photo of the scantily clad man, which she provided to the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper published the photo in its Wednesday edition.
The man flew six days before University of New Mexico football player DeShon Marman was arrested on a US Airways flight at San Francisco airport following allegations he refused to pull up his pants.
Tarlow told the Chronicle she and other passengers complained before boarding the plane, but US Airways employees did not prevent the unidentified man from flying.
“No one would believe me if I didn’t take his picture,” Tarlow, 40, of Phoenix said. “It was unbelievable.”
US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder defended the airline’s decision to let the man fly, saying employees acted correctly.
“We don’t have a dress code policy,” 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. He accused the airline of racial discrimination. Marman is African American.
“It just shows the hypocrisy involved,” O’Sullivan told the Chronicle. “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.”
Wunder said Marman was asked to leave the flight not because of his clothing, but because he refused an employee’s request.
Marman was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, battery of a police officer and obstruction after refusing to leave the plane on the captain’s orders, according to police. Police have also said he injured an officer while being taken into custody.
Prosecutors have until July 18 to file any charges against him.