Monday, September 6th 2021 SEATTLE (KOMO) —
An ordeal by an Alaska Airlines passenger who was escorted off a flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Alaska last week apparently because of what she was — and wasn’t — wearing has gone viral after she shared her experience about what happened on social media.
Ray Lin Howard, who posts content to her TikTok account under the handle of fattrophywife, has garnered nearly two million views and thousands of likes for a series of videos about her airline flight home to Fairbanks after a two-hour layover in Seattle last Friday.
The incident that Howard, 33, who lives in Fairbanks, experienced has also generated headlines in national and international newspapers and websites, including TMZ.com.
During an interview with KOMO News Monday, Howard said she didn’t have a problem until she decided to remove a midriff-baring, purple leopard spot crop top while in the air and en route to her final destination.
“I had worn the same outfit on other flights during this trip,” she said to KOMO News, adding that it had been a pretty uneventful plane ride up until that point. “Most people were sleeping (and) it was pretty quiet and dark the entire time.”
The airline said in a written statement to KOMO News that it is looking into the incident, which Howard alleges occurred because of her weight and her wardrobe.
“I was harassed about my outfit,” she said to two Fairbanks Police Department officers who were called in to investigate after the plane had landed.
According to a video posted by Howard from the airplane, she was wearing the belly baring top and black shorts before taking the top off because it was hot on board, leaving a black sports bra on that had been underneath. Because the flight was not a full one, passengers were told they could spread out and she moved to an aisle seat, which is when she said the situation began.
“I was approached, maybe within five minutes of that happening and told that I needed to cover up,” she said. “So, I put my shirt back on and I would say maybe five minutes after that I was approached again by a different flight attendant, saying my outfit was still unacceptable. That it was in the handbook that midriffs could not be showing.”
The dust-up above 10,000 feet prompted the flight crew to ask Fairbanks police to meet them at the gate when the plane landed. Howard said when the plane landed, other passengers were asked to remain seated while she was led off the plane.
“People are automatically assuming that, ‘Oh, of course she did something. Look at her. Of course she was being belligerent or not cooperating,'” she said. “But that just didn’t happen.”
“You’re not in any criminal trouble,” the officer said, adding that he was trying to determine if any laws had been broken. “There’s nothing like that. We’re just trying to get your side of the story.”
Said Howard: “The flight attendants had called police and told them I wouldn’t keep my clothes on.”
After the plane had landed, the officers told Howard that she was not under arrest but that they were looking into the matter.
Howard told the officers that she was approached by the flight attendants three different times about her attire, which she insists complied with the airline’s dress code.
According to the Alaska Airlines website, the dress code for the airline is “casual, and the requirement is simply a neat and well-groomed appearance. Clothing that is soiled or tattered and bare feet are never acceptable. You are expected to use good judgment, but customer service agents will have the final authority to refuse travel for inappropriate attire or appearance.”
No criminal charges were filed and the airline said it is trying to determine what happened.
“We’re in contact with the guest who was on Alaska Airlines Flight 223 Friday evening,” the airline said in a statement. “We’re committed to finding out what happened and taking the appropriate actions. It’s our goal to provide caring service to all of our guests. When we don’t live up to that goal, we do everything we can to make it right.”
In a later video, Howard said the airline refunded the money she paid for her original travel and “tried to compensate me for the situation by offering me a discount code to use on a future purchase,” she said.