Qantas Stops WWE Star Wearing Active Wear From Entering Business Lounge

A WWE star has been refused entry into the Qantas Business Lounge in Melbourne in what the passenger identifies as gender discrimination. Qantas forbade the professional athlete and fashion entrepreneur from entering the lounge because of her choice of clothing. The incident has divided opinions, with many saying that the passenger breached the airline’s dress code policy.

Qantas Business Lounge
Qantas has been called out for gender discrimination amid passenger refusal. Photo: Qantas

Denied entry

A former professional wrestler for WWE took to Twitter this week outraged over Qantas dress code policy. Eva Marie was with her husband in Melbourne and hoping to access the Business Lounge when staff refused her entry. Marie then took to the internet to deliver a tirade of frustration against Qantas, calling them out for gender discrimination.

In her tweet, Eva Marie argues the semantics of the Business Lounge. She says that her business is promoting fitness and therefore suggests that Qantas’ rule prohibits her from exhibiting her entrepreneurial nature.

However, Qantas’ policy says something different.

Qantas Busines Lounge Sydney
To maintain standards, Qantas asks passengers to follow a dress code policy. Photo: Jimmy Harris via Flickr

Was it gender discrimination?

In the tweet, Marie posted a picture of herself outside the lounge in which she is seen wearing a red activewear set and matching sneakers. She laments that Qantas has rigid gender policies and would prefer women to wear dresses.

In a follow-up tweet, she continues the harangue against the Australian flag carrier stating that her similarly attired husband was allowed to enter the lounge. It appears this was the basis for her gender claims.

On the face of it, it might seem as though Ms. Marie was the victim of gender inequality – after all her husband was allowed to enter the lounge. However, there is a key piece of information that Eva Marie, perhaps tactfully, missed in her irksome tweet.

Was Qantas right?

Qantas has a fully enforced lounge attire policy which does not include what it calls “head-to-toe gym wear”. The policy, introduced some five years ago, clearly prohibits activewear which it says falls out of the realm of its smart-casual dress code. There’s no mistaking the fact that Eva Marie was clearly in breach of these conditions.

Qantas lounge Sydney
Full gym wear goes against Qantas’ policy. Photo: MDRX via Wikimedia Commons

But what about her husband? Well, therein lies another mystery. Her husband is seen wearing gym gear and shorts. Shorts are also prohibited on Qantas’ dress code so he should not have been allowed to enter into the lounge. This seems to be something of a grey area in this case.

]However, in the case of enforcing a dress code policy, there is no doubt about whether Qantas was right in this scenario. Dress codes exist for the benefit of all passengers and the airline has the full right to exclude passengers who disregard its policy. But touting a fitness-orientated brand, it’s understandable why Eva Marie’s feelings were hurt in this case. More so by the fact that her husband was allegedly allowed in.

Qantas has not made a public reply to Eva Marie. The airline’s silence suggests that it stands behind its decision, but in a media-orientated world, opinion always counts for something.

What do you make of this story? Is this a case of gender discrimination or a dress code policy breach? Let us know in the comments below.