Quirky or Cautious? The Mystery of the Plastic Bag-Wearing Passenger on Southwest Airlines

A passenger was spotted wearing a plastic bag over their head on a Southwest Airlines flight. The reasons behind this choice were not immediately clear. Was it a personal health precaution, a statement, or simply a quirky travel habit?

Coming out of the pandemic, some passengers are creative in their methods to feel safe while traveling. However, it’s crucial to consider the effectiveness and safety of such methods! A plastic bag poses significant risks!

Southwest Airlines asked people on twitter to “drop a picture from your favorite trip this year” so this photo wasn’t taken this week, just some time in 2023. And when the photo was posted, Southwest replied, “to each their own.”

I’m honestly not sure whether they were trying to protect themselves from Covid or trying to escape an insufferrable seat opponent.

It seems to me that wearing a bag on ones’ head may run afoul of airline rules. It would hinder placing an oxygen mask on one’s head in the event of an emergency. American Airlines, for instance, bans body tents and pods, personal air purifiers and ozone generators.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Was he wearing brand new Nikes? If so, he’s waiting to get beamed up by the spaceship trailing that recent comet…

  2. Gary, whole 14% of US population got a Covid booster shot this fall (sending the Pfitzer stock below the pre-pandemic level). While the picture you published was likely taken in China, I am sure there is a sizable population of germaphobes in the USA by now – certainly larger than back in 2019mb
    I remember days when this blog was actively discussing the good deals of buying masks on Amazon…

  3. This picture was not from China.. the lady next to him has a cup with a Community coffee logo. The hand in the foreground is likely some young white chick.

  4. The plastic bag has simplified Chinese 师大 专升本 which is an exam to get into a “normal university” (teacher’s college). Definitely of mainland China origin.

  5. Considering all the nonsense that occurred during the Covid scam, this seems almost par for the course.

  6. Well Gary you wrote about ways to avoid conversation with a seat mate a few days ago. I’d say this person has perfected that. The only thing that could make the person less likely to be approached for conversation would be the addition of a foil hat.

  7. Re: “14% of US population got a Covid booster shot this fall.”

    Professional comment: If correct, that’s a very sad reflection on our country. Immunizations have eradicated many horrible diseases and lessened the incidence of many horrible diseases and decreased the severity of symptoms and mortality rate of many horrible diseases. That COVID became so politicized is truly regrettable.

    Personal comment: Anyone stupid enough to believe politicians, especially the gigantic moron Trump, offer better healthcare advice than doctors deserves to die from COVID and thankfully have their genes permanently removed from the gene-pool.

  8. Gary N., your comment about the Covid scam is both ignorant and insulting to all of the essential workers and Healthcare workers who worked tirelessly and put themselves at risk to care for others. We worked 4-5 twelve to sixteen hour shifts a week, stayed in hotels in the beginning when we didn’t know what we were dealing with so we could avoid affecting our families. We dealt with the death and dying to an extent that we haven’t seen in years. Keep your snotty scam comments to yourself and talk to some people who lived it for the 2 years when death rates were the highest before the disease morphed to be less virulent.

  9. @ Retired ER.
    “Immunizations have eradicated many horrible diseases and lessened the incidence of many horrible diseases . . . ”
    Just not the Covid shots It’s still around and I suspect it will be, just like all strains of the flu.

  10. Well, Vic Van Mac, we can surmise that you clearly fell for the scam and still haven’t awakened from your slumber.

  11. All I will say to the “covid scam” theory lovers is I hope no one you loved died from covid, because if they did and you are still denying, you are not only in “fantasy land” but insulting the value of their life and its relevancy and importance to yours. How insulting. Shame on you.

  12. And I take it that James N is still encapsulated in his own version of a reality bubble and is not going to exit anytime soon. Good luck and don’t worry about anyone other than yourself, as usual, James N.

  13. One Tripp: Suggest you refrain from commenting when your reading comprehension is so abysmal. I wrote “Immunizations have … lessened the incidence of many horrible diseases and decreased the severity of symptoms and mortality rate of many horrible diseases.” That is absolutely undeniably true for COVID immunizations according to every valid study. Those who have been immunized have a much lower incidence (rate) of disease, their symptoms are much less severe, their mortality is much lower. Not all immunizations eradicate all disease, some (like COVID) lower incidence and severity. Sorry, I can’t “dumb it down” any more than that.

Comments are closed.