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Christopher Muther

Qantas denies passenger lounge access — over her Uggs

An Ugg boot. Do not attenpt to wear these in a Qantas lounge.
An Ugg boot. Do not attenpt to wear these in a Qantas lounge. File Photo

They are divisive, sartorially offensive, and ugly as sin, but should Ugg boots be banned from airport lounges?

Qantas Airways says yes. The Australian airline deemed the so-homely-they-hurt sheepskin boots as sleepwear, and banished them from its business class lounges. This dress code caused a social media fracas when it was introduced two years ago, and it’s back in the news thanks to singer Joanne Catherall of the 1980s synth pop band the Human League. Catherall was denied entry to the Qantas lounge in Melbourne because of her Ugg boots.

You may now sing “Don’t you want Uggs baby? Don’t you want Uggs ooh?”


On Dec. 13, Catherall tweeted “Denied access @Qantas business class lounge in @Melair Melbourne Airport apparently Ugg (Australia) Boots are deemed sleepwear by the lady working there although no problem in any of the other lounges so far. Helpfully she suggested I go to one of the shops & purchase some shoes.”

Qantas tactfully responded via Twitter “Hi Joanne, we endeavour to remain consistent and uphold our Lounge’s dress guidelines to all our guests.” The airline then kindly provided a link to its lounge dress code.

Catherall retorted, “Why would an @UGG boot I wear outdoors in all weathers be classed as sleepwear in @Qantas lounge but nowhere else that I have ever been on this earth?”

Any institution that takes a stand against Ugg boots, the most basic and unsanitary looking of all boots, deserves applause. But because Qantas allows the Tom Brady-approved boots on its planes, even in the first class cabin, banning them from lounges feels like a double standard.

It seems unlikely that Catherall’s dissatisfaction will push Qantas to change the dress code. When customers rallied against the smart casual dress code in 2015, the airline was unbending in its stance.


Still, several important questions remain. Why would the stylish Catherall, who was seldom seen out of black cocktail dresses and cherry red lipstick in Human League videos of the 1980s, be bothering with Ugg boots? C’mon Joanne, we know you’re only human, but this kind of footwear is beneath you. Also unanswered: Why in the name of Crocodile Dundee has Qantas banned flip-flops and Ugg boots, but not Crocs? The Ugg is ugly, but the Croc is perhaps the most repugnant footwear known to mankind. Qantas, we’re patiently waiting for your response.

Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Mutherand on Instagram @Chris_Muther.