Which is Worse?

Last month I harkened back to my childhood and asked – about airplane blankets – what’s grosser than gross?

Now I ask, which of these is worse?

Feet on an American Airlines Domestic First Class Bulkhead

Or Feet on the Wall of an Etihad First Class Suite?

How Do You Feel About Bare Feet on a Plane?

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 »

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  1. Unless they’re extraordinarily filthy feet, I couldn’t care less. I live in Phoenix. Flip flops and sandals are worn year round here, so if you have a bare foot issue, you get over it pretty quickly.

  2. I’m not a fan of feet (bare or not) on the bulkhead/wall. I think it’s disrespectful (and gross). It’s the equivalent of putting your feet on the wall in someone’s house. The aircraft interior is the FAs house, so no feet on the bulkhead or wall IMHO.

  3. Top one is worse. I feel like that suite probably offered more than enough comfortable positions that they don’t really need to have their feet all over, but the one on the bulkhead is annoying. I have a problem where people put their feet where they shouldn’t be–with or without shoes. Put your feet on the floor when you’re at a restaurant…even a McDonalds. Don’t sit on them, don’t bring your knee to your chest and put your foot on the chair, and DEFINITELY don’t take your shoes off.

    If you’re at the pool, the park, the beach, HOME, etc… do whatever the hell you want, but I’m tired of seeing people behaving in public like someone raised them in a barn. Shoes off in business while sleeping is okay with me though.


  4. I think the first two missed it. I live in Phoenix too, but bare feet up at stomach level are still disgusting. At least put socks on it.

  5. It could be worse. Someone at the sky view lounge at Changi has his bare foot on the coffee table shared by six chairs. In his defense, he is snoring pretty loud so maybe he doesn’t know.

  6. It’s unacceptable and bad mannered to put your bare feet up. Please don’t!

  7. Normally wouldn’t care… but those are some nasty feet up against the American bulkhead.

  8. Only slightly less classy than clipping nails in public. That really makes me ill…

  9. @Jason I would tempted to see if my wife had some nail polish and paint his nails while he snored………….and sandals and flip flops are different as well…
    Seriously both photos show a lack of class but we all know we are going to see it and survival technique is to put on sunglasses and look the other way……remember you can’t unlock a gross site so minimize the damage and enjoy life………….if your child is with you it is a teaching point “this is not how I expect you to act”

  10. For me the worst is when a person in coach takes their shoes off and sits there with their socks on and empty shoes under the seat. Why do people think that they can act like they are home. That is definitely infringing on other’s air space.

  11. Suggest you have kids Gary. Then you won’t be bothered by any of this.

  12. Both are bad, although you could possibly argue that the bottom one is a lesser violation because the surrounding passengers are in their own little suites so it is a semi-private situation (the FA should have closed the person’s door IMHO). I think it is a basic hygiene issue. You walk into any McD’s and they have a sign “No shirt, no shoes, no service”. So why do people think it is acceptable on a plane? Would the same people think it is OK for a man to sit in the seat shirtless or a woman to wear only a bra?

  13. My choice is the ugly feet in the economy class bulkhead because they can never get into First Class to begin with to put their feet on the wall of an Etihad suite.


  14. I’m not that picky, who cares. I cant believe people in the US get so freaked out about stuff like this.

  15. I find it very impolite and uncouth. Disrespectful and uncivilized. Please USE the socks given to first class passengers.

  16. Both are totally acceptable.

    If I had the option of being comfortable vs. making Gary Leff feel awkward, I tell you what I’d do every fucking day of the week.

  17. There’s a lot of very pretentious comments here! Personally, if it’s a suite: You purchased the space for that period of the duration of the flight – you do what you want with it. I wouldn’t put my feet up myself, but it’s nothing to whinge over IMHO.

  18. This is not even close — the second is worse, since Etihad is the flag carrier of a Muslim country.

  19. Feet anywhere is gross. Its disgusting seeing it in someone’s one car when driving while driving on the freeway.

  20. AA domestic – if you’re flying EY F (whether via miles or $$$) you’re entitled to do whatever you want

  21. both of them are gross.i don’t think it’s only a feet issue it’s more about basic manners.don’t do it even if you have shoes on,period!
    And no flying first doesn’t mean you can do anything,it should mean that you have a little class.

  22. Second is the worst by far. Shows a lack of culture understanding since the airline is a carrier for a Muslim country.

  23. So normally I would say neither were acceptable but recently we were flying first class in an Emirates A380. I am pregnant and somewhat nervous about the long flight anyway.

    I ate dinner in the first class lounge and it must have had too much salt or something because my legs and ankles immediately swelled up. I spent the next couple of hours walking around the lounge but nothing made it better.

    Once on the plane, I realized I needed to elevate my feet further than my head so I propped them up in my suite. It was on the side opposite the entrance and I doubt anyone even noticed.

    Anyway, all of that was to say, sometimes people do have their reasons.

  24. Hawaiian Airlines actually has a “no feet” logo that looks like a “no-smoking” logo on the bulkhead walls. Not kidding.

  25. Its not about being gross or not, its about pure respect. Anyone with the slightest bit of respect knows you don’t put your feet anywhere they do not belong. Walls and bulkheads are not intended as footrests. By putting your feet up there you risk damaging them as they were not designed for the purpose you are using them.

  26. A few months back flying on AC in domestic J, row 2 window seat. After the meal, the fellow behind me decides it’s time to lay back and indeed removes shoes and socks and stretches out…through the slot between my window and aisle seat and onto to my arm rest!

    That said, I’ve seen many a flight in F or J/C where bare-footed passengers actually head for the toilet that way…!!! Sometimes I think bad hygiene is more prevalent in front cabins than the back ones.

  27. It’s disrespectful in Arabic culture to show the soles of one’s feet or shoes, so I’d have to say the second one.

  28. I had one of these pathetic and disgusting people on a United puddle jumper airplane from St Louis to Denver on Thursday evening. Gold toe socks with his feet up on the galley bulkhead (Seat 1C on Bombardier 700 UA3635). After overhearing his rather loud conversation in First, it was clear he was a salesman. Just because you put on a suit and tie does give you the right to be a pig. If you wouldn’t do it at your mother’s house…

  29. Another POV: I’m short and it’s difficult for my feet to be on the floor comfortably without having to slide forward in the chair and end up with a backache. I can’t sit back in the chair and have my feet dangle an inch from the floor cause that kills my knees. So I usually put bare feet up on the back of the armrest in front of me just to take pressure of my knees. Wearing socks cause them to slide off so bare feet is the only way to go. If you end up next to me on a plane and feel offended, I apologize in advance.

  30. To all you people in ANY seat who take your shoes off and think your feet don’t stink just because you have sweaty socks on: yes they do, and it reeks bad. Please stop it. Or do you just not care????

  31. What’s with the bare foot obsession, Gary?!

    I really don’t have a particular issue with this, although arguably it’s less problematic if they didn’t have socks/shoes on to begin with as they won’t have been sweating.

    You better not visit NZ or you’ll collapse in shock from all the folk in bare feet 😉

  32. There is an increase in DVT in many people due to the amount of flying these days. It maybe a medical necessity to elevate one’s feet. Depending on the sock, the socks might be closing off circulation in a person’s food, or the person is allergic to the material. I would hope that personnel cleans the bulkhead as well as the first class seat in the change over of the planes. Perhaps the designers of socks for first class passengers could list fabric type, and also not create tight socks. Just a thought.

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