There Are Some Things You Just Don’t Do On A Plane. Judge And Prepare To Be Judged!

This is just rude. I understand that some people aren’t familiar with Western customs, and should perhaps be forgiven for that, like the gentleman I once saw at the breakfast buffet at a Westin in his bathrobe (and nothing else).

However there’s a place where I think we have to draw a line and reject cultural relativism. Here it is.

You don’t actually believe that stuff the airline tells you about their planes being thoroughly sanitized between flights – in the 240 seconds between when the last flight deplanes and yours started to board – do you?

And what happens when this passenger gets up to use the lavatory? Sure, American Airlines Boeing 737s have sinks that aren’t deep enough and have had a backsplash problem (they adjusted the water pressure down to compensate). But it’s not sink backsplash that’s on the floor.

Then again, we all make errors in judgment on planes from time to time. This actually happened. In real life:

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, 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 »

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  1. A peeve of mine is when someone goes into the lavatory in their SOCKS or BAREFOOT!!! Gross!!!

  2. I’ve never understood how some people act on flights. I spent twenty-five years in the airline industry in ground operations and customer service. The stories I could tell…

    One of my duties was to clean RON and turn flights. There is NO WAY that I would take off my shoes (or SOCKS!!) on an aircraft. Those carpets are cleaned only a few times a year. Sometimes, they are so dirty that they have to be stripped out and replaced. And the floor of a lav?? NO WAY.

    Turn cleaning was usually limited to grabbing visible trash and maybe straightening seat belts. We just weren’t given the time to do anything else, especially at line stations.

    Advice: Never stick your hand in a seat pocket without looking first. The things we found in them…nightmarish.

  3. Hey Gary just a quick question. Have you heard of the three kings chapel from Goa? It’s more interesting than these stories. Please delete yourself. Thanks. NHK (Tatto ka saudaghar)

  4. Hey, on long hauls, I take my shoes off. I also put airline socks over my socks, and don’t step in lavatory puddles. Double wrapping keeps things kosher.

  5. I am barefoot all season at home or in a hotel. I usually take my shoes off on an airplane. But I put my shoes ON to use the lav. I change my socks before we land, and put my shoes back on. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort on a 10-hour flight, but you have to use your head when it comes to what’s on the floor of the lav. And feet up on the bulkhead? I don’t see the problem. I think people who complain about it are just jealous because they can’t put their feet anywhere.

  6. Yes, I agree; planes are filthy, and anyone that tells you otherwise is just lying. Having been married for over 20 years to an FA, I have heard and seen (in pics) almost everything. I always laugh when I hear how they thoroughly clean the plan after each leg. As you said, they don’t have enough time on the ground.

  7. A comment on the new “sanitizing” procedures: they are a farce. I am disabled and am last off the plane. By the time the aisle chair shows up, the cleaning crew is well into their duties (and sometimes finished). They do nothing more than they did pre-pandemic (which wasn’t much).

    Oh, and be thankful if you are not disabled: we often have to touch places you would prefer not to in planes in order to stabilize ourselves or transfer to the lav.

  8. I’ve always thought that handing out those little antibacterial wipes on planes was a genius way to get your passengers to clean parts of the plane for you.

  9. Gary, why begin this article talking about Western customs, when all incidents depicted are on US airlines? And I can’t tell that anyone depicted is “non-Western”, whatever that means.

  10. @Steve — “I’ve always thought that handing out those little antibacterial wipes on planes was a genius way to get your passengers to clean parts of the plane for you.”

    LOL! That’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for everyone to participate! 😛

  11. OMG, did I see her sniffed it before putting it in front of the vent?! and I fly Air France!!!

  12. While I would never go barefoot (or wear sandals, for safety) the barefoot dude has an impressive sunburn on his lower legs and feet. I can speak from experience that wearing anything on those feet woulda really not felt okay. So yeah, an unsafe (sharp corners/edges) and public floor so therefore unsanitary by definition, but if he keeps them under the seat, I can’t really care.

  13. One of the filthiest things on planes is people putting their shoes on seats… I don’t want to see bare feet either (or smell them), but they’re a whole lot cleaner than shoes. How about everyone just keep their feet to themselves and on the floor. There!

  14. I don’t understand why someone would complain about bare feet. The bottoms of his feet should be a lot cleaner than most people’s shoes. People touch all kinds of stuff with their bare hands, so if he is comfortable bare feet, no problem by me.

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