Sunday, September 16, 2007

How to dress as an airline passenger...

My male colleagues from Northern Ireland told me that it was always better to wear shirt and tie whilst travelling home; anyone remotely casual would be severely queried as to why they would be flying to that (then) troubled province.

If you are dark-skinned with dark hair it's probably not a good idea these days to fly wearing Arab or Muslim dress (I saw some very nice, comfortable Arab outfits at Dubai airport when I travelled through recently....).

Although I wear skirts much more than I used to (due to having thinner legs), and most of the skirts are quite short (what's the point of having thinner legs if you can't show them off), I tend to fly wearing trousers - I am sure crossing your legs tightly during a long flight is not good for your health. Never mind that of the chap beside you. In some ways I like those light travelling trousers with all their pockets etc - but if they have a below-knee zip to remove part of the leg those are uncomfortable like hell if you still cross your legs. Also it's a major pain when you go through security and have to empty all your pockets (though on my recent flight from Plymouth airport in the UK, where I had to check in my handbag, they were very useful indeed for keeping all my belongings). Given the amount and weight of my luggage, generally it is better to check in the light trousers and wear the heavy ones.

What brought all this on? Carpetblogger had lead me to this really funny article about a young woman who was nearly thrown off a plane in the US because her attire did not match the high standards expected by South Western Airline. (Something tells me that my anti-Bush T-shirt with him saying 'Stop me before I kill again!' is one I need not take to the US next year, or even worse, wear on the flight....).

As Carpetblogger correctly points out, a rule like this would mean that most Ukrainian women (and Russian and some Lithuanians) would never be able to fly; Carpetblogger comments that she can find the Ukrainian airlines' desks in Istanbul, where she now lives, just by looking at the hair colour and the footwear of the check-in staff. Add to that the length of the skirts - there must still be fabric shortages in Russia and Ukraine, and the governments/airlines won't spend any more than absolutely necessary on uniforms.

Apparently what happened was that shortly before take-off the young lady was pulled out of her seat by someone called Keith and told to change. Presumably all Americans have a change of clothes in their hand luggage? This American did not, since she was only going to Tucson, Arizona, for a doctor's appointment (the gynaecologist??). Eventually they relented, but gave her a blanket to cover her legs....

The things you have to worry about these days:

  • ticket
  • passport
  • no liquids or sharp items in your hand luggage
  • electronics switched off
  • clothes demure enough
Also, what's this thing about a man telling her what to wear? Surely that, like searching a person, would be the job for a person of the same gender. I'd have slapped him!
(Picture from SignonSandiego.com)