Saturday, January 28, 2006

Rerun: Barefoot on the Plane

You can go barefoot in the park, the backyard, on the beach, in the house, even in the steam room. But don’t ever, EVER go barefoot on the airplane!

I know that it’s tempting while you are sitting in your seat to slip off those uncomfortable shoes, and in limited circumstances it’s okay to do so. Here are the rules: No stinky feet (if in doubt, leave your shoes on). No holes in socks (if in doubt, leave your shoes on). Do not allow your bare or stocking clad feet to ever, EVER touch the floor of the airplane under any circumstances whatsoever.

The carpet on the airplane is a terrible, terrible thing. It has gone miles without a thorough cleaning, meaning miles of spilled food, vomit, soiled baby diapers, garbage, disgusting germs and other leave behinds from previous passengers. The airlines say that the carpet gets deep cleaned about once a month. I’ve yet to see evidence of that.

And what’s up with going into the lavatory without your shoes on? Barefoot, stocking foot, I don’t care. It’s disgusting! It’s like you’re saying that you haven’t had enough germs around your seating area, so you want to walk down the aisle collecting more as you go. Then, because you still haven’t had enough, you now step into the lavatory, and walk into the mess left there. Do you wonder why your feet or socks are wet after that? Keep this in mind: That’s not water on the floor in there; it’s someone’s bodily fluids!

Next time you travel, look around. Do you ever see flight attendants with their shoes off? Of course not! We keep our shoes on – and so should you.

18 comments:

JoeyC said...

May I make a suggestion?

A while ago, I bought a lunch at the airport, and it spread on-board the aircraft.

Having an "insiders" experience on the "cleanliness" (or lack thereof) of a cabin, I decided to brainstorm what I could do to take my shoes off. It was a 9 hour flight.

So, I took the plastic bag that my lunch came into, and laid it on the floor, flatly. I was able to put my feet (with SOCKS) on the bag, with limited exposure to the floor.

Mind you, I they were dress shoes, so I had powder in there, and my socks were clean, I smelled good. Afterwards, when they cleaned up before landing, I put my shoes on, and put my trash into the bag. I didnt hand it to the flight attendant out of curiosty, but I threw it into the cart for her.

Harmless, so long as you perform some personal hygeine tactics, and make sure to clean up.

After telling that to my family, they've done just about everything. They've brought some old rags and shirts from home onto the plane, and put their feet on them, then put them away in their carry-ons before descent.

-Joey

Fly Girl said...

Wow -- that's quite an extraordinary procedure to go through to take off your shoes. If you must take them off, this is what's required to be sensitive to the hygiene issues.

I just prefer to leave mine on, wearing comfortable shoes onboard in the first place. It's not uncommon for feet to swell during flight, and for people then to not be able to put their shoes back on.

JoeyC said...

I came off to formal... I just dont like people thinking that I'm being really selfish; I respect seatmates, but I wasnt feeling good, and I had dress shoes on, so that really didnt help. Never doing that again!

Fly Girl said...

Not too formal at all, Joey. Quite the contrary -- it shows how even though you were having a difficult time (feeling poorly), you were still courteous enough to respect others.

If only everyone was that thoughtful!

Flygirl said...

I second that! I had this guy who had his smelly foot (shoe off) sticking out in the aisle (in first class!) and I had to ask him several times to move it so I could pass through the aisle. Seriously...have a little class! LOL! Joey - you are so courteous...thank you!

Chickadee said...

EWWWW, people actually take their shoes off and walk around sock-clad or even worse, barefoot on the airplane? Yuck and WTF??? YOu're not at home people!!!

Chris said...

My God, I had no idea how bad the airplane carpet was. I've always been a sock kind of guy (don't want the feet to swell up during the flight).

I guess I'm going to have to get those footie things real estate agents use at open houses!

Astroprof said...

My Mom taught me that it was not polite to just take your shoes off in public like that.

I am sure that airplane carpet is like the carpet at the college. They clean it once or twice per year.

Fly Girl said...

flygirl: Feet sticking out into the aisle is bad enough, but when they stink, too!!! What are people thinking???

Chickadee: Yes, people really do this. When adults do it, it is just a really bad choice. But when parents let their kids do it I wonder what kind of parent they are. I even say, tactfully of course, that the carpet is filthy and they shouldn't let their child run around barefoot. They usually just smile and say that it's okay.


Chris: Yep, really that bad! I'm seeing more and more people bringing some kind of soled slipper type of thing to wear on long flights. When I'm traveling as a passenger, I usually just try to wear a comfortable shoe that is easy to wear through security. Then I change when I get where I'm going. Swelling can be an uncomfortable problem.

Astroprof: More people should have been raised by people like your mom.

barefooter3000 said...

What up with you men???
Going barefoot is very healthy and good for your feet!!! It is more better thes sitting long hours in shoes with sweaty feet. The filthy floor is not problem at all since you wash your feet every day (I hope...) I have experience of going barefoot in public in different places and different situations (include public WC!!!) and I never had any problems with my feet. In my opinion footwear should be considered an optional part of dress just as hat or gloves. I plan to take barefoot travel this summer but the only doubt I have about taking some footwear in my baggage if the plane attendants will let me board on without shoes. please tell me if there some rules about footwear necessity for passengers.
If you want to see there are many people who thinks like me please visit that link: www.barefooters.org

Fly Girl said...

Barefooter: I'm not sure if you're serious or not!

I love going barefoot, and am certainly not a germ-phobe about that. What I object to is going barefoot in human waste. Sure, it washes off, but it is just not sanitary.

And airplanes are like restaurants in this regard: No shoes, No shirt, No service. If you're traveling by plane, shoes will be required.

Anonymous said...

I truly do not understand the fuss. Feet are not private parts, and they do not in general smell. I fail to understand what is offensive to others about a bare foot.

As for health risks to oneself -- well I don't want my bare feet to step in urine or vomit either. But feet are not orafices, and the vomit is not going to enter your body through your feet any more readily than through any other part. I don't see what's less sanitary about putting one's foot on a dirty carpet than putting one's hands (or face) on a dirty seat on the same plane. Are those sanitized regularly? I doubt it! In fact, one is far more likely to transfer germs from hands that have touched a dirty seat than from feet. Your hands touch the seat and then you use them to eat the peanuts or party mix that the flight attendant just brought. Your feet are much less of a risk, unless you use them to eat with or to wipe your eyes.

Anonymous said...

I wear flip flops and take them off once I am seated on the plane. Like the other post said, any dirt present, can't enter through your feet. People in other countries traverse barefoot through many miles of dirt road and other rough terrain without giving it a second thought. Mankind has actually been going barefoot for almost all of it's past million years in existence. So what's the big deal about being barefoot on a carpet in an airplane?!!! I don't think anyone has gotten any sort of disease from going around barefoot. And you can always wash them as need be. And just think about sitting in some seat where many other people were sitting there before over and over for hours on flights. I just think some people have barefoot phobia, that's all. Your bare hands touch just as many things as a barefoot would.

Anonymous said...

Yeah baby, barefoot rules, especially on a flight!

Dan said...

I am an avid barefooter. That means I go barefoot as much as possible. If a store has a sign that says "No shoes, no service" I simply find another place where my business (and money) is welcome. I pay good money to travel by air. If you don't want me on your plane barefoot, there are plenty of other airlines to choose from!

I've been on many flights and my bare feet have never been an issue. No one has ever said a word to me about my being barefoot. Since I don't wear shoes or socks, my feet don't stink. And urine is sterile so stepping in a little pee in the restroom really isn't an issue for me. If people are such slobs that they pee all over the floor, then that's more disturbing than my going barefoot. Besides, my bare feet have been in far messier places than the bathroom or floor of an airliner!

Some people don't like wearing shoes and prefer going barefoot everywhere. And for those who are offended by my feet? You're not offended by bare feet in flip-flops so what makes bare feet so offensive? I simply don't see how bare feet can offend someone or be considered rude! Who says I must only be barefoot in my own home or in "accepted areas"? That's crazy! There are SO many benefits to living your life barefoot! I'd be crazy to wear tight, sweaty, stinky leather/rubber shoes that don't allow my feet to breathe and be free!

Look -- on a flight I could be offended by people who haven't bathed, or who are very large and take up part of my seat, or who won't stop chit-chatting, or keep getting out of their seat causing me to move every time, or whose kids are kicking my seatback, or whose baby won't stop crying, or any number of things. To me, those things are more annoying than someone who is barefoot. Especially feet that don't stink? Isn't that taking things waaay too far in the annoyance department?

People -- please lighten up! They're only bare feet!! And please don't worry about what I might step in! They're my bare feet, not yours! :)

Arnetta said...

A few years back, many people purchased plane tickets through a travel agent or directly from the airline over the phone. Alot of airlines offer lower prices on off-peak days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays which might be at unlikable times during the day.
Plane Ticket

Anonymous said...

PLANE and simple.. if your feet stink, keep your shoes on! If you decide to go to the washroom with no shoes and you DO catch something, don't sue the airline! Yes you can wash your feet..but do you wash the inside of your shoes? Your urine soaked socks will eventually go back into your shoes!!Lovely thought! Just think, men urinating while standing + turbulence = urine on the floor!

Anonymous said...

I can understand taking your shoes off if you have nice socks on. But BAREFOOT? No way. I was just on a flight yesterday where a couple wearing basically beachwear, shorts, and flipflops took off their flipflops for the ENTIRE flight. I couldn't believe that they had to be barefoot....and they were in an exit row which in an emergency you kinda needs to have shoes to help others....