21st century breakdown? Green Day singer kicked off aircraft as part of fashion vs. flight debate

Billie Joe (Chris Dugan)

Billie Joe Armstrong (Photo credit: Chris Dugan)

For many frequent flyers, the changes made to airport security since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 are no secret.

From taking off your shoes during check-in, to packing your liquids in sandwich bags, and even all the way to the current implementation of x-ray machines that reveal partial nudity, certain sacrifices have been made to ensure that everyone who boards a plane can do so safely and securely.

However, when do such measures go one step too far?

Apparently, according to Billie Joe Armstrong (see photo) lead singer of pop-punk favorites Green Day, that line begins with his trousers.

In a recent report released via ABC news, it was revealed that Armstrong was removed from a flight on Southwest Airlines Thursday for allegedly wearing his pants inappropriately.

“Just got kicked off a southwest flight because my pants sagged too low! What the fuck? No joke!” Armstrong wrote on Twitter moments after his ejection.

Though details surrounding the situation remain speculative, Cindy Qiu a producer for ABC who was on the same flight as Armstrong said the exchange between the singer and airplane staff took place shortly before takeoff.

She said, “A flight attendant approaches him and says, ‘Pull your pants up.’ He says, ‘Don’t you have better things to do than worry about that?’ And then the flight attendant says again, ‘Pull your pants up or you’re getting off the plane.’”

Surprisingly, such an incident does not even appear that out of the ordinary as more and more cases continue to come to light about airport staff members and their sometimes seemingly personal interpretations of Transportation Security Administration policies.

Just ask Kyla Ebbert.

The former college student and Hooters waitress is now more popularly known as the woman deemed “too sexy to fly” after wearing a “provocative” outfit on the “family friendly” Southwest Airlines.

Watch video of Kyla Ebbert’s appearance on the “Today” show with Matt Lauer to judge her outfit for yourself here:

And the stories don’t end there.

University of New Mexico college student and football player Deshon Marman was not only removed from a US Airways flight in June, but was also arrested shortly before the craft took off from San Francisco, Calif.

What was the reason behind Marman’s initial removal? You guessed it…baggy pants.

But choice in fashion is not the only concern citizens and celebrities have to worry about when boarding a plane. Size has also become an issue.

Kevin Smith - Silent Bob SpeaksFor example, film director and actor Kevin Smith (see photo, left), who is most famously known for his portrayal of the character Silent Bob in such films as Clerks and Dogma, earned the moniker of “too fat to fly” after being asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight in 2010.

After flooding Twitter with a series of messages that bashed the airline, Smith was eventually offered an apology from Southwest along with a $100 voucher, which he declined to accept.

While officially the TSA has no actual rules regarding a strict dress code (“There’s no particular style or type of clothing that you should wear from a security point of view,” reads their website), they do maintain regulations for “passengers of size.” However, most of those policies are enforced on a case-by-case basis, which sometimes leads to confusion amongst customers or in Smith’s case bouts of venting through social media.

Strangely, the only mentions of clothing stressed on the TSA’s walkthrough of the security screening process are religious garb (allowed), metal jewelry and accessories (discouraged), and gel-filled bras (also allowed).

Still the questions remain, not only what next but also who, when, and why?

As a nation are our airports more secure than they were before 9/11? The answer is undoubtedly yes, as anyone who has had to experience additional screening before boarding can attest. Yet, if you had asked someone even a dozen years ago if they could ever foresee a day when plane passengers would be forced to parade shoeless through x-ray machines, while simultaneously attempting to hold up their beltless plants and cover their private parts to avoid embarrassment during scanning, the answer would probably be a quizzical stare or harmless chortle at your lunacy.

We’ve come a long way. That much is true. One just wonders how much further we have to go.


As for the coincidental placement of an ABC television producer on the same flight as a case of wardrobe inappropriateness, maybe she was just doing some research. The network is planning to debut a series devoted to the ‘60s heyday of Pan Am Airlines this fall.

And if there is one thing everyone remembers about stewardesses from back in the day, it’s that they were never dressed inappropriately for flights.

Talk about flying your friendly skies.

For more information on Green Day please visit www.grenday.com. And for more information on Southwest Airlines please visit www.southwest.com.

Or, if you just need a distraction, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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