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Woman in romper ordered to cover herself before flight

Latisha Rowe tweeted a photograph of what she was wearing when an American Airlines employee told her she had to cover up before her June 30 flight. 

A woman wearing a strapless romper to fly home from her trip to Jamaica was ordered to cover up if she wanted to board her American Airlines flight.

The airline has apologized to Latisha "Tisha" Rowe for its actions before her June 30 flight from Kingston, Jamaica, to Miami, said Rowe's lawyer, Geoffrey Berg.

Rowe was about to board her plane when an airline employee asked her and her son to step off the plane to talk, Berg told CNN. She was told she would not be allowed to fly unless she covered herself. The romper exposed her thighs and arms.

Rowe took to Twitter to share a photo of the outfit she was wearing. Her lawyer said the employee gave Rowe a blanket to wrap around herself.

She added in a separate tweet that her shorts covered everything "but apparently was too distracting to enter the plane." She also said that black women's bodies are over sexualized.

American Airlines spokesperson Shannon Gilson said the company is investigating.

"We were concerned about Dr. Rowe's comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred. We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel. We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us," Gilson said in a statement.

Rowe, a Houston family medicine doctor, said her 8-year-old son "was devastated" by the incident and took the blanket once they were seated and covered his face,Berg said. He was in tears when she checked on him, Berg said.

Berg said American Airlines "has been provided the opportunity to do the right thing," and that includes taking steps to "make sure that people aren't treated this way, in particular women of color." He said Rowe is contemplating a lawsuit against the airline.

American Airlines ordered all of its employees to take anti-racism training after the NAACP issued a travel advisory in October 2017, warning African-American travelers the airline "could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions." That advisory has since been lifted. 

Amanda St. Amand • 314-340-8201

@mandystlpd on Twitter

astamand@post-dispatch.com