No Shoes, No Socks … No Underwear?

On the Business Traveller forums members are discussing a letter published in the Financial Times lamenting the poor state of in-flight etiquette. As I have written before, etiquette is an oft rehashed topics on travel forums, but in this instance the letter writer – one Mr. Peter Goodall – makes a suggestion intended to put a stop to the madness:

A simple announcement would suffice, along the lines of “for the comfort and safety of all, guests [sic] are requested to keep their socks on at all times including when the seatbelt sign is extinguished”.

I don’t know about you, but were an announcement like that broadcast on my next flight it would certainly get my attention.

But would it lead to improved etiquette? I’m not sure.

On the one hand, I expect someone who feels comfortable flying sans socks might very well ignore the announcement and strip down anyway. But it might just give that person’s seat mate the opening they need to request a change in behavior (“Excuse me, but a bit ago there was an announcement that said we are supposed to keep our socks on throughout the flight. Not sure if it’s a safety thing or what, but just wanted to let you know before the Air Marshall smells your stank @ss feet and takes you down.”).

While at first blush it seems stockinged feet might be an acceptable place to draw the line, SimonS1 brings up a good point:

…how do you discriminate females from males. Females have a much higher propensity to wear open shoes etc especially in the current climate.

But CXDiamond is having none of it:

As for feet, they ought to be covered at all times except when changing. Decent airlines provide socks in economy I believe and IME something better in First and Business and surely that is enough of a hint to even the thickest person that bare feet are not acceptable.

And the thread meanders on, touching on various etiquette and hygiene-related tales from on high, as one might expect for a discussion of this sort.


JohnHarper regales us all with this terrifying account of Lufthansa First Class that has to make all BoardingArea readers really wonder about Lucky’s affection for the product:

The place that I have seen more bare flesh than anywhere else is the LH F cabin. Given the German attitude to nudity and their relative comfort with it I guess it’s not surprising though I was a little phased the first time I witnessed a man strip to his underpants, visit the lavatory and then take off his underpants before settling down to sleep – covered fortunately.

I challenge you not to conjure up this image the next time you book Lufthansa first class tickets – and not to associate it with Lucky.

Read the thread in its entirety (it’s a really fun thread): Make flying etiquette a high priority

Image: Agony of de feet” by Bob B. Brown. CC BY-ND 2.0.


  1. No shirt, no shoes not an issue for me. Nudity hey to each their own. It if bothers me I don’t look their way. Most of the time I am so consumed with my own business I do not even notice others around me. What needs to be addressed is body odor! I have had many seat mates that just were down right funky! Now that you cannot escape! Closing your eyes and ignoring them does not stop the BO from coming your way! So please shower up before your flight and add the extra dose of deodorant. And please don’t bath in your cologne or perfume that makes it even worse. So dress or undress as you want but please hit the showers before your flight.

  2. somehow ridiculous. smelly feet? really? whats about those sweaty dress wearing wannabes? and whats about the farts wich everybody does due to air compression? come on guys. start rather complaining about all those americans loudly talking rather than just shutting up… allowing people to have a nap

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