Woman accuses Jetstar of slut shaming: 'I doubt you'll be able to board your flight dressed like that'.

A woman has accused an Australian airline of “slut shaming” after staff criticised her outfit and told her to sit elsewhere while she waited to board a flight at Sydney airport.

Serah Nathan, 33, was about to fly home to Melbourne on 3 November with Tigerair when the incident took place.

Documenting the experience in a Twitter thread, Ms Nathan claims she and her boyfriend, with whom she has a long-distance relationship, were sitting in the communal airport lounge when they were approached by a member of staff from rival budget airline Jetstar.

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Ms Nathan describes sitting “on [her] partner’s knees facing him” and talking about “mundane nothingness” before a female employee intervened.

“Sit on a separate seat because there are children watching,” the woman allegedly told Ms Nathan.

Ms Nathan claims there weren’t any children around, and her and her partner were bewildered by the instruction.

“I wasn’t treating a domestic airport terminal like a strip club,” she said.

Minutes later, Ms Nathan says the employee returned with a Jetstar team leader, who reiterated the need to move, saying: “You’re disrespecting the parents here by straddling your boyfriend.”

According to Ms Nathan, the staff member continued “her slut shaming mission”, adding: “I doubt you’ll be able to board your flight dressed that way but either way you can’t sit at this boarding gate.”

11 of Meghan Markle's best feminist quotes

Show all 11

On stigma around menstruation and female education
On the #MeToo and Time's Up movements
On gender stereotypes in cleaning adverts
On supporting women's voices

11 of Meghan Markle's best feminist quotes

On stigma around menstruation and female education

1/11 On stigma around menstruation and female education

'Imagine a world where the female leaders we revere never achieved their full potential because they dropped out of school at the age of thirteen. In the western world this is challenging to fathom, but for millions of young women globally, this remains their harsh reality for a staggering reason. From sub-Saharan Africa to India, Iran, and several other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation directly inhibit young women from pursuing an education.' (Time, 2017)

Getty Images

On the #MeToo and Time's Up movements

2/11 On the #MeToo and Time's Up movements

'I hear a lot of people saying when speaking about girls’ empowerment, finding and knowing their worth, or women’s empowerment as well, you will often hear people say: "You’re helping women find their voices." And I fundamentally disagree with that, because women don’t need to find the voice – they have a voice, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing with so many campaigns, with #MeToo and Time’s Up, there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that.' (The Royal Foundation Forum, 2018)

Getty Images

On gender stereotypes in cleaning adverts

3/11 On gender stereotypes in cleaning adverts

'I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking these things, that just mum does everything.' (At 11 years old on Nick News, 1993)

Getty Images

On supporting women's voices

4/11 On supporting women's voices

'Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for our voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making. The way that we change that, in my opinion, is to mobilize girls and women to see their value as leaders, and to support them in these efforts.' (UN Women Conference, 2015)

Getty Images

On women's suffrage

5/11 On women's suffrage

'Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.' (At Government House in New Zealand for 125th anniversary of women achieving right to vote in country, 2018)

Getty Images

On dressing like a feminist

6/11 On dressing like a feminist

'You don’t have to play dress up to be a feminist. You are a feminist exactly the way you are. You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women. There’s no uniform for feminism; you are a feminist exactly the way you are.' (Create and Cultivate, 2016)

Getty Images

On knowing your value

7/11 On knowing your value

'I think the biggest part of being a girl boss in the office, at home, or anywhere you go is just knowing your value.' (InStyle, 2015)

Getty Images

On taking action to achieve equality

8/11 On taking action to achieve equality

'It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision. May we empower each other to carry out such vision – because it isn't enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe it. And it isn't enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now.' (UN Women Conference, 2015)

Getty Images

On looking after yourself

9/11 On looking after yourself

'Be kind to yourself. Truly, if we treated ourselves as well as we treated our best friends we would be a million miles ahead of the game. There’s this great Georgia O’Keefe quote that resonates with me: “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain, and I am quite free."'

Getty Images

On breaking glass ceilings

10/11 On breaking glass ceilings

'With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I'm lucky enough, to inspire.' (Elle, 2016)

Getty Images

On what it means to be a feminist

11/11 On what it means to be a feminist

‘No matter what you look like, you should be taken seriously. I think it’s really great to be able to be a feminist, and be feminine. To embrace both.’ (Interview with Larry King, 2016)

On stigma around menstruation and female education

1/11 On stigma around menstruation and female education

'Imagine a world where the female leaders we revere never achieved their full potential because they dropped out of school at the age of thirteen. In the western world this is challenging to fathom, but for millions of young women globally, this remains their harsh reality for a staggering reason. From sub-Saharan Africa to India, Iran, and several other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation directly inhibit young women from pursuing an education.' (Time, 2017)

Getty Images

On the #MeToo and Time's Up movements

2/11 On the #MeToo and Time's Up movements

'I hear a lot of people saying when speaking about girls’ empowerment, finding and knowing their worth, or women’s empowerment as well, you will often hear people say: "You’re helping women find their voices." And I fundamentally disagree with that, because women don’t need to find the voice – they have a voice, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing with so many campaigns, with #MeToo and Time’s Up, there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that.' (The Royal Foundation Forum, 2018)

Getty Images

On gender stereotypes in cleaning adverts

3/11 On gender stereotypes in cleaning adverts

'I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking these things, that just mum does everything.' (At 11 years old on Nick News, 1993)

Getty Images

On supporting women's voices

4/11 On supporting women's voices

'Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for our voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making. The way that we change that, in my opinion, is to mobilize girls and women to see their value as leaders, and to support them in these efforts.' (UN Women Conference, 2015)

Getty Images

On women's suffrage

5/11 On women's suffrage

'Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.' (At Government House in New Zealand for 125th anniversary of women achieving right to vote in country, 2018)

Getty Images

On dressing like a feminist

6/11 On dressing like a feminist

'You don’t have to play dress up to be a feminist. You are a feminist exactly the way you are. You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women. There’s no uniform for feminism; you are a feminist exactly the way you are.' (Create and Cultivate, 2016)

Getty Images

On knowing your value

7/11 On knowing your value

'I think the biggest part of being a girl boss in the office, at home, or anywhere you go is just knowing your value.' (InStyle, 2015)

Getty Images

On taking action to achieve equality

8/11 On taking action to achieve equality

'It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision. May we empower each other to carry out such vision – because it isn't enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe it. And it isn't enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now.' (UN Women Conference, 2015)

Getty Images

On looking after yourself

9/11 On looking after yourself

'Be kind to yourself. Truly, if we treated ourselves as well as we treated our best friends we would be a million miles ahead of the game. There’s this great Georgia O’Keefe quote that resonates with me: “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain, and I am quite free."'

Getty Images

On breaking glass ceilings

10/11 On breaking glass ceilings

'With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I'm lucky enough, to inspire.' (Elle, 2016)

Getty Images

On what it means to be a feminist

11/11 On what it means to be a feminist

‘No matter what you look like, you should be taken seriously. I think it’s really great to be able to be a feminist, and be feminine. To embrace both.’ (Interview with Larry King, 2016)

Sharing a picture of her outfit, which consisted of full-length jogging bottoms and a crop top, Ms Nathan, who is half-Sri Lankan, implied there was a racial undercurrent to the request.

“I note the Caucasian woman sitting opposite me wore a very short dress but was left to her own devices,” she said.

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Despite wishing she’d stood her ground, Ms Nathan said she was “too shocked, too embarrassed, too enraged and too humiliated.”

“I complied with their s****y request,” she added.

To add further insult, Ms Nathan told news.com.au that she received some irregular responses from a Jetstar customer service employee when she later complained online.

After sending a picture of her outfit and asking if there was anything inappropriate about it, Nathan received the reply: “I have checked the photo and I think you are very beautiful, your boyfriend must be very lucky to have you.”

They added: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to sit on your boyfriend’s knees since there were available seats… I believe that they were only protecting other passengers and also you as you are in a public place.”

Nathan finished her Twitter thread: “If this situation was born from a couple of narky employees who couldn’t bear to see a woman of colour taking a final few minutes to connect with her long-distance partner, then you have a problem on your hands, Jetstar.”

A Jetstar spokesperson has said its Sydney team “dispute the allegations they were acting this way”.

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They said: “We are speaking to our airport team to better understand what happened.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination in any form and our teams dispute allegations they were acting in this way.

“We apologise to Serah for the manner in which her query was handled by our online customer service representative which fell well short of the standards we expect.”

It’s not the first time a woman has been told to cover up on a flight. In March, a 21-year-old woman was threatened with being offloaded from a Thomas Cook flight at Birmingham airport because her clothing was “inappropriate” and could cause offence.

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Emily O’Connor, a trainee accountant from Solihull, was wearing a black crop top and high-waisted trousers.

On boarding the aircraft, she exchanged pleasantries with the cabin crew who were greeting passengers, then walked along the aisle to take her seat.

Ms O’Connor told The Independent: “I’d only gone a few steps when one of the cabin crew said, ‘Excuse me madam, you’re not dressed appropriately and you’re not complying with our code’.”

She was shown a copy of the inflight magazine, which has a note on page 113 reading: “Customers wearing inappropriate attire (including items with offensive slogans or images) will not be permitted to travel unless a change of clothes is possible.”

A member of cabin crew then told her: “If you don’t get changed we’re putting you off the flight.”

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