The company doubled down on its decision in a statement, saying employees and their dependents who benefit from free or heavily discounted air travel, known as "pass riders," had to adhere to the company's dress code. It also said this rule does not apply to regular paying passengers.
"Like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow" the airline wrote. "The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel."
"To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome," United added in the statement.
The decision to bar the girls from boarding the plane sparked outrage online, with many social media users criticizing what they saw as a sexist policy.