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traveler (1) by Duane Hanson

I recently spent time in the Orlando International Airport and discovered the rules of in-flight fashion are vastly different from those on the ground.
Clearly comfort trumps style when you’re sitting for hours in the air, with your knees pressed firmly into the seat ahead of you. And I’m not suggesting that travelers should struggle with their wheeled suitcase in four-inch stilettos.
Yet I’m appalled to see adults wearing pajama pants (flying can hardly be considered a slumber party.), work-out wear (FYI, there’s no gym on the plane) or ragged T-shirts and shorts best worn during yard work. I understand that time is of the essence and your children are crabby or crying from their Disney vacation. (Everyone else on your flight will be, too, shortly after take-off.)
So I’ve compiled a few tips to help you look and feel your best while avoiding an in-flight fashion faux pas.
– Complicated Shoes
This seems obvious to everyone rushing to catch a plane who stood behind a traveler as they undid boot straps and shoe laces. Wear slip-on shoes or sneakers when flying, as you’ll have to take them off in the airport security line.
– Stifling Fabrics
Skip fabrics that hold sweat on the skin when it’s hot as well as prevent air circulation. You won’t feel very fashionable sweating in too-tight, nylon clothes as your plane rests on the tarmac under the hot sun. A foolproof way to find breathable clothes for the plane: Stick with moisture-wicking active wear or clothes sold from travel suppliers, which are designed specifically for travel.
– Fragrances
Avoid this one for the good of your fellow passengers. Strong-smelling perfumes, colognes and body sprays shouldn’t be worn in flight. While some seat mates may simply find it offensive, others might suffer allergic reactions. Better to pack a sample size and apply it once you land.
– Layered Clothing
It’s fine to wear lightweight fabrics on a plane if you’re flying to or from a sweltering climate. But planes are often very cold and your “Mickey Muscle Shirt” won’t do. The best way to fight the air-conditioning is by layering. If you get warm, just remove a few layers, bundle them, and then use them as a pillow. (Preferably under your child’s face, rather than over it.)
– Offensive Clothing
How do you know if your outfit is appropriate? In the past, passengers have been removed from planes for wearing everything from low-cut dresses (Southwest Airlines) to saggy pants (Spirit) to T-shirts splashed with expletives (American.) A good rule of thumb: If you can’t wear it to church or dinner with your mother-in-law, you probably shouldn’t wear it on a flight.

Photo of “The Traveler” sculpture by Duane Hanson at Orlando International Airport.