A Guide To What You Shouldn’t Wear On A Plane

There’s something about traveling at jet speed through the so that’s just… uncomfortable? Why is it that you can never really get comfortable on an airplane? Whether it’s the stale air or the lack of legroom or the temperature that isn’t quite right, there’s always something keeping you from just sitting back and enjoying your trip through the sky.

That’s why it’s so important that you dress appropriately when taking a long flight (or a flight of any duration, really). Keep reading to learn what you should and what you shouldn’t wear to the airport.

Stay Away From Overly Baggy Clothes

baggy baggy clothes
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

While in theory baggy clothes are comfortable, they can also arouse suspicion amongst airport staff and other passengers. You can wear a loose fitting top on a plane, but try to pile a baggy jacket on top of it. If your whole outfit looks like a clown suit, you might get selected for a “random” search.

You don’t want TSA to have another reason to pull you aside for a check, potentially putting you at risk of missing your flight!

Don’t Wear Pajamas

2_lpl
Pinterest
Pinterest

You might think that it’s a great idea to wear your comfiest pajamas on a long flight, but there are other people on the plane too, you know. They’re not wearing pajamas, so why should you?

Your best bet will be athletic attire if you want to retain some comfort while still looking respectable. Plus when you get to your destination, you don’t want to be walking around or getting into a taxi in pajamas.

Think Twice About The Leggings

ashley graham
Pressphotobank/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Pressphotobank/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Leggings have become an airplane staple for women and girls in America. We can see why. They’re stretchy and comfy and easy to sit or stand in. If you’re flying with United Airlines though, we think you might want to reconsider.

Not long ago, the airline kicked two girls off for wearing leggings. Their rules to general customers allow them to refuse traveling “for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed.” Maybe pack a skirt in your carry on just in case this happens to you.

Stay Away From Onesies And Rompers

the romper suit
starzfly/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
starzfly/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Having a difficult time using the restroom isn’t fun when you’re attempting to get to your flight or even if you’re already on the plane. It’s especially rough when you’re in the air, and the bathrooms don’t give you much room to operate.

Take the smart route and wear pants that can easily slide down. Who wants to take off the majority of their outfit when they have to relieve themselves? It’s even more inconvenient in a public bathroom.

Don’t Go In Bare Feet

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Instagram/lalawins
Instagram/lalawins

You need shoes on a plane. It’s as simple as that. I know it’s uncomfortable, but at least keep your socks on if you’re going to take off your shoes. Don’t walk around the cabin in bare feet.

Flight attendants know just how filthy the floor of the plane really is. People throw up on airplane floors and kids have accidents and things get spilled and all of those messes can’t really get properly cleaned until the plane lands. Don’t walk around in bare feet!

Don’t Wear Offensive Clothes

not a good shirt
western T shirt/Pinterest
western T shirt/Pinterest

This should just be a general rule, whether you’re at an airport or not. Don’t wear your opinions on your sleeve (or the front of your shirt). Use your voice to articulate your point of view when appropriate.

An airport is hardly the place to be spouting controversial rhetoric. People are just trying to get from point A to point B. Fights break out on airplanes all the time. You don’t want your clothes to get you into a fight.

Put Away Your Nice Jewels

woman in jewels
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

You will have a much easier time getting through airport security if you’re not wearing all of your finest jewels. If you can live without your jewelry on vacation, don’t even bring it with you.

If you must have a few sparkly items, keep them locked away in a bag with a good zipper. Things get lost in airports and on planes all the time. If you are wearing jewelry, don’t take it off on the plane. Leave it on your body at all times.

Don’t Wear Heels

no heels
freshhconnection/Unsplash
freshhconnection/Unsplash

This should be a no-brainer, but we’ll include it. You don’t want to run late for your flight with a pair of high heels on, or you might end up rolling an ankle sprinting to your boarding gate.

Wear your favorite comfortable sneakers, and if you must look sharp stepping off the plane at your destination, keep the heels in your carry-on bag. That way, you’ll be able to take off your shoes and slip into the fancy option.

Don’t Wear Flip Flops

don't wear
ruisilvestrecreative/unsplash
ruisilvestrecreative/unsplash

We understand that flips flops provide an extra level of comfort for your feet, which would make them a great option while flying, but being aware of others would be more considerate. Do you think everyone likes the sight of feet?

Also, who knows if your feet won’t start to smell unexpectedly. Wearing flip flops sounds good on paper, but once you do it, you’re bound to receive some type of flagging energy from others around you. Not to mention all of the germs around the airport and plane.

Be Careful With Metal Sweaters

holiday sweater
heftiba/unsplash
heftiba/unsplash

A lot of fancy Christmas sweaters come with a lot of bells and whistles— literally. These decorative appliques can interfere with metal detectors and keep you in airport security for longer than you would like.

Do you want to take off your whole top before going through the machine? Probably not. Just wear a normal top that doesn’t have any metal on it. Also, if you’re going to wear a hoodie with a metal zipper, make sure you’re wearing a t-shirt underneath. Remember what we said about layers?

Watch Out For Uncomfortable Sweaters

kate upton
SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images
SMXRF/Star Max/GC Images

There’s another kind of sweater that you shouldn’t wear on an airplane. Watch out for sweaters that are made out of itchy and uncomfortable fabrics. While wool tops might be stylish, but they have no place on an airplane.

You don’t have much room in your seat (unless you went for first-class), so why would you want to make it less enjoyable? A regular cotton sweater will get the job done. Cotton is light, breathable, and super comfortable. We can’t say the same thing for wool.

Don’t Wear A New Outfit

new outfit
avirichards/unsplash
avirichards/unsplash

As tempting as it might be, the last thing you want to do is sport a brand new outfit you plan to wear out on the plane. If you purchased the new clothing specifically for the flight, that’s a different story.

What you don’t want to wear on the flight is an outfit that you bought to look your best while on your trip. Keep the fresh threads packed and save them for after you arrive.

Watch Out For Shorts

airport shorts
see2believe/unsplash
see2believe/unsplash

If you’re on your way to a hotter climate, it might sound like a bright idea to put on some shorts for your journey. Sure, they’re comfortable, but you have to remember the climate in the airport and mid-flight.

Planes become cold, and the person next to you might turn their air vent on full blast, making you colder. Your best bet would be to throw on some warmer clothes while you fly the friendly skies.

No More Overly Tight Clothes

don't on plane
byadonia/unsplash
byadonia/unsplash

Even if your flight is only one hour, it’d be best not to put on tight clothes. Much like with uncomfortable fabric, tight clothes in close-knit spaces isn’t the best idea.

Did you know that your feet naturally swell while flying? That’s one reason to ditch the tight boots you thought you’d wear. Also, the longer the flight, the more irritable you could become, and you don’t want that crying baby or loud passenger to ruin your mood.

Always Wear Layers

man looking off
andrewtneel/unsplash
andrewtneel/unsplash

Wearing layers is key when you’re traveling by plane. If it gets too hot, you can take off a layer and if it gets too cold, you can put a layer back on. Sometimes it’s hot in the airport but cold on the plane or vice versa.

Also, layering means you don’t have to pack that extra sweater or jacket in your carry-on which means you have more room in your bag for snacks and other essentials.

Choose Glasses Instead Of Contacts

woman wearing contacts
hubblecontacts/unsplash
hubblecontacts/unsplash

If you’re the kind of person who needs some sort of corrective device to see clearly, opt for glasses instead of contacts. If you must have contacts on your trip, pack your kit away in your luggage. Airplanes can get super dry and any contact wearer knows that dryness is the enemy on contact lenses.

Also, if you’re on a long flight and you want to sleep, it might be hard to fumble with your contacts in the airplane bathroom.

Stay Away From Provocative Clothing

watch what you wear
profepix/unsplash
profepix/unsplash

Out of all the clothes you have in the closet, the last thing you should want to wear on a flight is something provocative. If you’re on the way to the club or something of that sort, then feel free, but when you have kids and spouses walking around, play it safe.

A parent doesn’t want their son or daughter forced to see extra skin while flying. If you’re one of those people who do it because you’re confident, your confidence can wait some travel time before showing it off again.

Don’t Wear Heavy Perfume

a great cologne
yasin/unsplash
yasin/unsplash

If you’re sitting on a long flight, one of the last things you want is a strong alcohol fragrance entering your nostrils the whole way. That’s what happens when someone decides to spray too much cologne or perfume on their body.

One or two sprays is all you should apply when you’re about to fly on a plane. Carrying around a strong scent isn’t appealing to those around you, even if it’s their favorite smell!

Put The Large Handbags Away

woman with christian dior bag
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

If it completes your outfit, then you might have a hard time denying this one, but hear us out, please. A larger than average handbag that isn’t a duffel doesn’t need to be on your person while flying.

For one, you’re taking up space. You need all the room you can get in the tight seating. Secondly, you won’t be susceptible to folks trying to steal. The bigger your bag, the easier it is for theft.

Don’t Wear Religious Clothes

man wearing religious shirt
Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images
Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images

This one is more about being sensitive to others and less about your personal and religious views. You can feel free to praise whoever you wish, but try to keep it on your terms, like when you’re at church.

Walking through the airport then boarding the plane with attire focused on religion can be offensive to some. You never know who might disagree with what you believe in and how it could affect them. Also, if you’re traveling to some Asian countries, they won’t let you in if you have a shirt or tattoo of a Buddha.

Don’t Wear An Oversized Coat

really big jacket
lawlesscapture/unsplash
lawlesscapture/unsplash

Okay, unless you’re headed to Alaska in the winter or any other place that’s unbelievably cold, you don’t need to wear an oversized coat on the plane. It lessens your mobility and the space you have.

You don’t want to impair your movement or give yourself any less room to move around. If it means packing an extra bag to fit your large jacket, you might have to do it or sacrifice the freedom we mentioned.

The Reason They Keep Their Hands Behind Their Back

flight attendant with hands clasped
Twitter/JCPinHeathrow
Twitter/JCPinHeathrow

Flight attendants might seem to have a glamorous job but there is more to the job than you might think. Yes, they get to travel for free and see every corner of the world but they also have to undergo difficult training and deal with some seriously horrible passengers. Here are their secrets.

Have you ever noticed that flight attendants always seem to greet passengers with their hands clasped behind their backs? Turns out that there’s a good reason airline employees do this. Hiding their hands makes it easier to conduct a head count as people enter the plane – they’re keeping count on their fingers! If you saw them counting on their fingers in front of you, you probably wouldn’t think too highly of them. The trust between the attendant and passenger must never be broken.

A Secret Nap Compartment

sleeping accommodations
Chris McGrath-Getty Images
Chris McGrath-Getty Images

When it comes to long-haul flights, you might get to take several snoozes but what about the flight crew? They constantly have to be around to tend to passenger needs and are always on their feet, but that seems like a lot for a flight that’s over ten hours.

Don’t worry, flight attendants get to take their breaks too. Big planes like Boeing 777 or 787 jets have secret sleeping cabins built in for staff. These windowless sleeping quarters are built above or below the galley, so that’s probably where your favorite flight attendant is if you’ve noticed you haven’t seen them for a while.

Relations Between Flight Crew Members

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Instagram/@rodrigoabordo
Instagram/@rodrigoabordo

You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that flight crews get involved with each other in more ways than one. Relationships between crew members are apparently quite common, which makes sense since they spend so much time with each other in such an enclosed space.

While flight attendants can fraternize with one another, their main priority is, of course, to remain professional at all times. Just like any job, you wouldn’t want to air your dirty laundry in front of customers.

Always On Their Phones

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Dustin Downing/Getty Images for Delta Air Lines
Dustin Downing/Getty Images for Delta Air Lines

Flight attendants get a perk all flyers wish they had. Besides getting paid to travel places, they get the Holy Grail of flying: free Wi-Fi and usage of their cellphones. They are often using their phones during the entire flight unbeknownst to the casual flyer.

They may not make the most money in the world, but they do get to travel the globe and get paid for it. Depending on how you look at it, that might not be the worst payoff in the world.

They Are Trained To Restrain You

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

You better behave yourself the next time you fly. If you get too unruly, then your flight attendant has the authority to arrest you (or at the very least, restrain you). You may have seen people removed from a flight before take off, but what happens when things come to light mid-flight?

If a flight attendant really needs to, they have the power to restrain overly aggressive or trouble causing passengers. They usually have zip ties available or they could use the seatbelt extensions as restraints. The passenger would then be placed in an area where they can’t be disruptive and would be escorted off at the first stop.

They Have A Secret Code

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Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images
Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images

The flight crew uses subtle codes to communicate with each other about the goings on in the plane without letting the passengers know. There might be things they need to tell each other to look out for, but they don’t want to freak out the passengers.

Those bells and chimes you often hear during a flight aren’t for no reason. For example, those “dings” you hear at the beginning and end of a flight? That’s to signal to the crew that the most dangerous stages of the flight are over since takeoff and landing are the most precarious parts of flying.

They’re Sizing You Up

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TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images
TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

t’s always reassuring to see your flight attendants greeting you as you enter the aircraft. Sure it’s excellent customer service but they actually have an ulterior motive for doing so.

As the passengers enter the plane, the flight attendants quickly make important assessments. They look over each and every passenger and make mental notes of who might be problematic or intoxicated, who is traveling alone, or for those passengers who might be in need of extra assistance such as when they’re handicapped or traveling with children. They are also seeing who’s strong and who might be useful in an emergency.

They Pay Isn’t That Great

It Doesn't Actually Pay Very Well
Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Flight attendants have to go to work the minute they arrive on the plane. That means doing safety checks before a flight and then greeting and assisting passengers during the boarding process. But for all they do before the plane takes off, they’re not even getting paid.

Flight attendants only get paid for the hours that the engine starts and the plane pulls away from the gate. Anytime before that, they aren’t getting paid — or they’re at least not getting paid their full rate. Hours spent away from home but not in the air are compensated with a rate as low as $1.50 an hour.

The Problem With Diet Coke

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George Frey/Getty Images
George Frey/Getty Images

If you don’t want to annoy your flight attendant during beverage service, then don’t order a Diet Coke. Flight attendants hate when a passenger requests Diet Coke and for very good reason.

Diet Coke is noticeably fizzier than other carbonated drinks. And at over 30,000 feet in the air, those bubbles take forever to settle. Flight attendants have to pay extra attention not to let it overflow, but that just means that it takes about three times longer to pour than the other available beverages. Flights are so dehydrating anyway so it’s probably best if you just ask for water.

Why They Turn Off The Lights

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Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As the plane prepares for takeoff or for its descent, the lights in the cabin will get shut off. This is never really explained and there’s not much to think of it since the lights get turned back on just a few minutes later.

But there’s actually a good reason for this. Takeoff and landing are the most problematic stages of a flight. The lights get turned off so that everyone’s eyes can adjust to the light in the event of an emergency. This can help people orient themselves with the space easily if they needed to take action.

Do Not Accept A Coffee

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Many flight attendants wouldn’t suggest drinking the coffee or tea served on flights. While the potable water is filtered and not necessarily the same water that flows through the lavatories, you still might want to pass on these hot beverages that are made in flight.

The tanks that the potable water is kept in apparently don’t get cleaned as often as you’d think. And sometimes, the valve for the lavatory water is located precariously close to the valve for the clean water. So next time, you might just want to stick to the bottled and canned drinks.

The Food Is Questionable

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Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Speaking of things you should steer away from, you might also want to think twice about airline food. Meals served on longer flights usually look pretty balanced, but the nutritional content of those meals is shocking.

In-flight meals are loaded up with salt, sugar, fat, and simple carbs that make you feel full but actually have no nutritional value. If you’re stuck on a long-haul flight with nothing else to eat, those meals are your saving grace. But you might want to remember to bring your own food on board next time.

A Tough Job

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Photo by Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images

Flight attendants may have a jet-setting life with the ability to visit new places, but it’s not all fun and games. On the ground, many people see flight attendants as having a glamorous job, but in the air that changes as their jobs are minimized to that of a waitress.

A flight attendant job is a demanding one. You’re constantly jet-lagged, sometimes having to work on flights back to back. You’ll often get 4 A.M. wakeup calls and be scheduled to work on holidays, not to mention being kept apart from your family for long periods of time.

The Truth About First Class

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MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

It’s probably not all that worth it to sit in first class. Studies have shown that in the event of a plane crash, those who are sitting towards the front of the plane are more likely to die.

The safest seats are those within a few rows of the emergency exit and the aisle seats. Studies have shown that passengers in the rear of the plane have the highest survival rates compared to those in first class. In any case, no matter where you sit, it’s always smart to fasten your seat belt.

The Oxygen Masks

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Aviation-images.com/UIG via Getty Images
Aviation-images.com/UIG via Getty Images

The oxygen masks on a plane will deploy when the cabin pressure falls below a certain point, but more often than not, that point never comes. In the event that it does, however, how long would it allow you to breathe?

There are around 12 to 15 minutes of oxygen in those masks. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it is. If you ever find yourself in a situation that warrants the use of these masks, just try to relax and breathe. The pilot is working to get the plane to a safe altitude where you will be able to breathe without them.

Looking The Part

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Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

You might think that flight attendants have to uphold certain visual standards to hold on to their jobs. Although the requirements of looking a certain way and being a certain age are antiquated and long gone, there are still some things flight attendants have to keep in mind.

Flight attendants do have to have a natural hair color and it has to be pulled back if it is long. The biggest thing the airlines look for these days is height. You can’t be too tall that your head will constantly be bumping into the overhead bins, but you can’t be so short that you can’t perform your duties comfortably.

It’s Not Easy To Land This Job

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Mikhail PochuyevTASS via Getty Images
Mikhail PochuyevTASS via Getty Images

Harvard had a higher acceptance rate than Delta airlines did for their job openings in 2010. If you’re trying to become a flight attendant, the competition can get pretty intense.

In 2010, Delta announced 1,000 openings and received over 100,000 applications. Only four percent of those applications got a callback interview. Flight attendants have quite a demanding job, for very little starting pay (at least $18,000 per year). But if you have excellent customer service skills and think you can handle it, by all means, go for it! It definitely helps if you are bilingual.

Your Extra Bags Aren’t A Huge Deal

baggage
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images

Every passenger is entitled to at least one stowed bag during their flight. But this means they’ll have to pay some hefty fees for any additional baggage. While planes are designed to only accommodate one bag per passenger, the truth is your extra bags will hardly affect anything.

Planes do have to have the right center of gravity for takeoff. Depending on how many checked bags do get stowed on the plane, most airlines have practiced using sandbags to even out the weight. Still, that doesn’t necessarily explain why airlines charge you for extra bags, but we don’t make the rules.

How To Score An Upgrade

flight-attendants
Photo by Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images

While you should treat any human with the respect that they deserve in any situation, it pays to be exceptionally nice to your flight attendant. Many flight attendants say that they love customers who respond with a smile and a “thank you,” and you’d be surprised to know how often that doesn’t happen.

If you are pretty nice to your flight attendant, you may even be able to score an upgraded seat if there were any available. It will also help if you have a legitimate reason to be upgraded, such as being too tall, pregnant, or are a frequent flyer.