A passenger wearing a Black Panther baseball cap has been told to remove the headgear because it—along with a t-shirt with an upside-down American flag—makes the pilot “uncomfortable.”
Earlier today, freelance e-sports journalist Amanda Stevens shared images on Twitter from on-board a United Airlines flight to Chicago. Stevens was en route to cover the League of Legends quarterfinals but was told by flight staff that her shirt—an ASAP Rocky design pulled from stores a year ago—and baseball cap with the logo of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther made the pilot uncomfortable.
The official United account tweeted Stevens in an apparent attempt to smooth things over.
We’ve reached out to Stevens and will update this story with any further developments.
UPDATE, 3:53 p.m.: Reached by phone, Stevens told io9 that a United representative first raised concerns when she was preparing to board flight 5183 from Albany to Chicago. Stevens told me that she’s flown in this outfit before but turned the shirt inside out. She was then told that the hat was a concern as well. She was allowed to board the plane but had a tense exchange with an attendant who asked her to place her bag under the seat in front of her. “I didn’t know if I was going to be staying on the plane or not and I said that,” she told me. “I was grumbling because I was frustrated.”
Stevens then told me that the exchange with the flight attendant was given as the reason that she was ejected from the flight. Stevens says that she received a direct message from the official United account on Twitter and returned to the service counter at the gate under the assumption that she’d be getting booked on the next flight. However, the United employees that Stevens was dealing with retreated to an employees-only area and Stevens told me that she’s been waiting with no acknowledgment for more than two hours. We’ve reached out to United for comment and will update if they reply.
Update, 4:20 p.m.: United has responded to the situation with a rather puzzling statement.