LifestyleIs it really okay to take off your shoes during a flight?

Is it really okay to take off your shoes during a flight?

What is better not to do on an airplane?
What is better not to do on an airplane?
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1:31 PM EDT, June 11, 2024

Vacation time is approaching, marking the beginning of long journeys. More people are opting to purchase airline tickets. If you're among those travelers, it’s important to know what not to do on a plane.

Arguments, drunkenness, a crying child, shouting—these are just a few inconveniences that can occur during a flight. Many passengers remain unaware of what behaviors are prohibited on an airplane. One particular action sparks controversy and is common among frequent flyers.

Is it okay to take off your shoes during a flight?

As you board the plane, take your seat, buckle up, and patiently wait for the journey to begin. Once airborne, you might experience the characteristic ringing in your ears, which can turn into a headache. Don't be surprised if you feel pressure on your feet. This happens due to the change in cabin pressure. These symptoms usually dissipate as the plane levels out.

At this moment, many people decide to take off their shoes. Some even go as far as removing their socks and placing their feet on the armrests or other passengers' seats. This behavior is far from pleasant. In fact, Australian airlines once implored passengers not to take off their shoes during flights.

- During domestic flights, feet should remain on the floor. There's no need to turn your seat into a bedroom or a recliner - explained Zarife Hardy, director of the Australian School of Etiquette, as quoted by Business Insider.

So, is taking your shoes off during a flight acceptable? It all depends on the length of the journey. For international flights that last several hours, removing shoes is highly recommended.

- During international flights, wait until the plane is in the air and bring socks or light slippers to wear - added Zarife Hardy.

What do the regulations say?

OWP stands for "general terms and conditions of carriage for passengers and baggage." Purchasing a ticket means you must comply with these regulations. There may not be a specific rule about removing shoes, but the crew might refer to other guidelines:

- These situations qualify as "behaviors prompting justified objections from passengers," mentioned in Article 12 of the OWP. They also fall under the guideline that a passenger(...) hinders the crew from performing its duties or does not comply with the crew's instructions also from the article above - explains the press office of LOT Polish Airlines in response to questions from Business Insider.

Disturbing fellow passengers can result in a fine, and in extreme cases, intervention by the Border Guard after the flight.

Extremely unhygienic

Removing your shoes during a flight is not only rude but also unhygienic. Many people move around the plane without shoes, including visits to the restroom, which is not cleaned during the flight.

- Those who decide to walk barefoot can pick up bacteria and viruses that could negatively impact their health. There is always the risk of catching a fungal infection - explains David Krause, owner of SyQuest USA, a company that produces cleaning agents for airplanes, as quoted by

Although most cabins are kept clean, thorough cleaning is done only a few times a year. This means billions of pathogenic bacteria and fungi on the floor can cause serious skin diseases.

How can you handle such a situation? If you're on a long flight, invest in compression socks, and if necessary, bring slippers. This way, you can avoid painful swelling, skin fungus, and... suggestive looks from fellow passengers.

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