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Airline Dress Codes – What’s Appropriate?

Recently, a college football player was kicked off a plane when he refused a flight attendant’s request to pull up his baggy pants. In another incident, a man in snug-fitting underwear  that was part of a very revealing drag outfit (you’ve got to click here and see the photo to believe it) was allowed to fly without any interference. While a debate is raging across the internet as to whether this is a double standard, what’s become clear is that airline policies regarding dress codes are ambiguous at best, as is what is a flight attendant’s role in enforcing any dress codes that are on the books.

Just this weekend, someone was telling me about a recent experience with airport security in which the underwire in her bra set off the security sensors. In the process of being wanded and patted down extensively, her beltless pants (beltless, because security makes you take it off) fell a bit in a way that made her unintentionally moon everyone in the security line, which she found mortifying, but had to endure without complaint, or risk being held up for her plane.

On planes across the country, I’ve seen people wear everything from blatant pajama bottoms to offensive t-shirts. I’ve seen haggard travelers who have clearly been wearing the same clothes for several days in a row and decked out women wearing mini-skirts that just barely make it past the butt line. I’ve seen jeans ripped to the point of shredded, obvious bathing suit tops, and shoes that seem to fall much more on the slippers end of the scale.

For me, I think people should have the freedom to wear pretty much whatever they want on an airplane as long as it’s clean (i.e. not smelly), provides adequate coverage, and doesn’t bear any images that are either explicit, violent, hateful, or could scare the daylights out of a little kid who happens to see it.

But that’s just my personal opinion. So, what’s appropriate and what’s not? Since most airlines don’t seem to have much in the way of a formal dress policy for passengers, what do you think should be allowed and where should we draw the line?


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My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.



You know what, if you start enforcing dress codes on airlines, then you might as well do the same for buses, trains and any other public transportation that you have to pay to use! Which would be ridiculous! Yes there are some people that are just plain disgusting but it is their god given right to be that way.
When traveling people need to have common courtesy! If your going out in public, dress appropriately, not like your going to be turning tricks on some street corner. I don’t think anyone offering public transportation should have the right to say who can stay and who can go because of what they are wearing, they are paying customers and it doesn’t say anywhere there is a dress-code! If they want to do this then they need to say it when someone buys the ticket/fare, and guess what…if they do this, sales will go down for sure! Oh and if I were that football player, I would have sued!

Conversion Doctor

Woah. I felt sorry for that old guy. Not because he was kicked of the plane but because of what he is. You know what I mean. IMO though, it doesn’t really matte to me whether airlines should have policies restricting the wearing of some stuff as long as they make it very clear to the passengers before they ever have to buy the tickets.


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