Cape Town - A strict dress code advisory has been issued on Saudi Arabia's national carrier website.
Saudi Arabian Airlines warns passengers about the way they dress, stating that those who are “clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offence to other passengers” could be denied boarding.
According to the website, these restrictions apply to “women exposing legs or arms, or wearing too thin or too tight clothes and men wearing shorts exposing legs” as well as passengers who are barefoot.
The airline says they may remove passengers from the flight if they fail to comply with the dress code.General passengers’ code of conduct section of the website
Known as one of the wealthiest nations in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has a reputation of restricting women's rights, in line with its interpretation of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism.
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According to Telegraph, Saudi Arabia’s former head of tourism and health, Ali Al Ghamdi, claims that Saudia’s dress requirements were not exclusive to the carrier but were issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and enforced in varying degrees by different airlines but IATA has denied those claims.
Social media frenzy
The dress code on the passenger's code of conduct caused a social media frenzy as people used the hashtag #SaudiaAirlines to express mixed responses, including strong criticism and some users accusing the company of "policing" women's clothing.
One twitter user posted saying, "Passengers to be subjected to Islamic air control? We want to travel, not be subjugated by religion".
However, one user, @ShabzyDon disagreed hailing the dress code as a "good step indeed".
"#SaudiaAirlines enforcing a dress code?!? Wow you'd never get that in somewhere like #France #Women can wear whatever they want..."
Another user, @TaiHoll says "nudity does not cause any offence".
"Nudity does not cause me any offence and/or discomfort so is that acceptable?".