By Crikey reporter Lucy Morieson

What’s in a T-shirt? A lot, it would seem. Enough, at least, for a 32-year-old US woman, Lorrie Heasley, to be thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight last week.

Heasley boarded the flight in Los Angeles wearing a T-shirt with a design based on the Meet the Fockers
movie logo. Except that in the place of the movie characters were
pictures of George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice – and the
word “Fockers” was changed to the obvious. When the plane made a
scheduled stop in Reno, Nevada, passengers joining the flight
complained about the shirt to cabin crew, who told Heasley to wear her
top inside out. She refused, and was ejected.

Now, Heasley says she plans to file a civil rights complaint against the airline. But according to The New York Times,
Southwest Airlines was acting well within its rights as a private
company. And most US airlines try to find the balance between
protecting passengers rights, while making sure the comfort of other
passengers isn’t compromised.

In one case, an American
Airlines crew removed a passenger after complaints about his strong
body odour, reports the paper. He was given a voucher for a nearby
hotel, and returned for a later flight once he’d bathed.

Australia it seems the local situation is considerably more relaxed.
Virgin Blue told us that while the airline has no written policy on
customer clothing, they would certainly consider banning a passenger
wearing an offensive T-shirt. But they say it hasn’t happened yet.

the trend for T-shirts with a message is growing. In the US,
celebrities are wearing their allegiances on their chests over the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston
split, sporting either “Team Pitt” or “Team Aniston” shirts. And
British designer Alexander McQueen was quick to declare his support for
troubled supermodel Kate Moss,
wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the logo, “We love you Kate.” With an
Australian team quick to jump on the bandwagon with their “Kate Addict” top, it looks like the trend for message Ts isn’t going to be grounded any time soon.