On a flight from Europe last week my colleague commented on how gross it was that people were going shoeless to the bathroom, wearing only their airline issued socks.  He’s new to international travel and hadn’t yet had the pleasure of witnessing the business class bathroom “walk of shame”.  Similarly, when I began my heavy international traveling about six years ago, I too was surprised by the otherwise well mannered business passenger’s bathroom etiquette.

I would never wear my own socks into the bathroom, but with the amenity kit provided socks the line isn’t so clear… put them on for the flight, wear them, and then take them off  and trash them at the end of the flight (without touching the bottoms)? What say you???

Do You Go Shoeless?

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34 comments
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34 comments

Mike June 21, 2012 - 10:02 am

Do you realize all the ferms and dieases you can catch while wearing those socks?

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Mark Mercer June 21, 2012 - 10:05 am

Dude, just don’t do it. Not until they make those socks with waterproof soles.

And no, that’s not water.

Loafers on a plane, that’s the ticket. Or just leave your tie shoes untied and opened up, tuck in the laces, and zombie-shuffle to the lav.

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Darren June 21, 2012 - 10:05 am

I used to just wear the airplane socks, but in the last year or so now put my shoes back on. I fear any “liquid” I step on in there will seep up beyond the airplane sock level onto my own. 😉

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Dale June 21, 2012 - 10:07 am

I’d at least put on flip flips when walking around.

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Mike June 21, 2012 - 10:13 am

Seriously, soooo gross. I hate seeing ppl walk down the street barefeet in streets of new york. Its mostly females. Are they nuts!!! Years and years of germs, shit, piss, etc on the floor.

I also see ppl in hotels doing this.

And we wonder why we keep seeing new strands of bracterias.

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Scottrick June 21, 2012 - 10:18 am

Personally, I blame the antibacterial soaps and people using antibacterial drugs to treat colds and flus (they’re viral disease) for all the new drug-resistant bacteria. Assuming you don’t have any open wounds and shower daily, you probably won’t get sick from any casual contact with the surfaces on a plane. The air is HEPA filtered. I really can’t point to any illnesses I’ve ever picked up while flying beyond a little dehydration. Stepping in puddles of unknown liquid and sitting next to someone with a bad cough, of course, are bad news on or off a plane.

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CodeAdam10 June 21, 2012 - 10:29 am

Yeah it’s as much of a disgusting habit as you used to think it was. 🙂 Remember while *YOU* may not be directly touching the bottom of the socks, you’re still spreading the germs and bringing them back to the seat along with your lazy self. It is just simply disgusting.

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adam June 21, 2012 - 3:48 pm

@ CodeAdam10, Mike, Mark, Darren, Dale, Mike, Scottrick – point well taken, though I do my best to avoid any blatant puddles!

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Matt July 6, 2013 - 7:41 pm

If I track them back with socks, I would also track them back with shoes or slippers. That makes no sense.

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Mark P June 21, 2012 - 11:24 am

On short haul flights, I always wear my shoes. On long haul flights I usually bring a pair of those disposable slippers of which I have a gazillion since in some Asian hotels they give you new pair everyday regardless if you used the last pair.

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AX9465 June 21, 2012 - 1:20 pm

I used to save a pair of slippers from my previous hotel stay for this very purpose. Somehow I “slipped” into wearing amenity kit socks. I make sure that floor is dry before i enter though :).
@CodeAdam10 – I dont understand how it is different from wearing shoes.

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The Weekly Flyer June 21, 2012 - 1:23 pm

I wear protection. I bring along W hotel slippers and put them on during flight. That way, I’m protected.

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adam June 21, 2012 - 3:50 pm

@ The Weekly Flyer – Wearing protection is always a good idea. Hotel slippers are an easy enough fix that doesn’t take too much room in the carry-on. Delta provides slippers on their NYC-NRT route as does Korean on JFK-ICN.

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Arnold Semmons June 21, 2012 - 1:40 pm

I think you’re overly concerned about what people think of you. Those socks are provided just for the purpose of being able to walk to the bathroom during a long flight without having to put on your shoes. The socks aren’t given to you for any other reason (think about it). Just look for any splashes on the floor when you enter the bathroom.

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snuggliestbear June 21, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Putting on shoes to avoid whatever liquid might be on the floor of the bathroom? Fine. Putting on shoes because you are scared of some germs? Obsessive. As Scottrick above alludes to, all of this antibacterial crap is just going to hurt us (as a species) in the long run.

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Jimmy June 21, 2012 - 3:30 pm

Given how often my pee misses the target & lands on the floor (thanks to turbulence & other issues with peeing in restricted spaces), I’m so glad you socks-wearing peeps use the lavatory after me to mop up the excess pee with your socks

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adam June 21, 2012 - 3:51 pm

@Jimmy – You might need to work on your aim.

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HYu July 6, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Or sit down when peeing!

Fwiw, I think wearing only socks to the lav is gross! I wear a shirt and pants/shorts also! :p

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Stephan June 21, 2012 - 10:34 pm

Hey, if you feel that you are healthier by exposing yourself to more germs more power to ya! But to me at least the argument that one can’t associate being sick with an airplane, so it obviously doesn’t happen seems rather lame.

I’ll stick with some anti-bacterial/anti-viral hand cleaners after touching all those door and toilet handles, hotel remote controls and airplane tray tables, thank you. As others have said, those disposable slippers from the hotels take up no room whatsoever and work great.

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Jayson June 22, 2012 - 7:33 am

That’s very disgusting. Your tracking everyone’s urine back to your lie-flat.

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Mark June 22, 2012 - 8:57 am

For long trips, I pack a cheap pair of house slippers. I won’t go shoeless, but instead I’ll slip these on, then at the end of the flight, they go in a bag and back in my carry-on. They always get disinfected and washed when I return home. They don’t last that long, but they’re cheap and easily replaceable.

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'Mando June 22, 2012 - 10:03 pm

Rule is: always shoes to go to lavatory. And I agree that loafers are the best thing for flying.

On a different matter, when going through security in US airports, it really grosses me out that you have to put your laptop in the same containers used for shoes. Think about it… the bottom of your laptop where the disgusting soles of hundreds of shoes have been placed before.

Is it just me?

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JustSaying July 6, 2013 - 2:13 pm

It’s a great use of the socks as long as you look down where you are walking and don’t walk on any wet spots…….which I wouldn’t do even with shoes on……..

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James K. July 6, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Jesus Christ you people are ridiculous. Pee is mainly sterile. I’m not going to lick it off the floor, but the idea of freaking out because there’s a chance some might get on the sock that you’re going to throw away anyway…

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sam July 6, 2013 - 4:12 pm

I have never flown biz class so i don’t know. biz class passengers have separate and better toilet than the ones for coach passengers?

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Wendy July 6, 2013 - 4:22 pm

I don’t go barefoot or with just socks in any hotel or plane. It grosses me out having to walk with socks on in an airport. I travel with a pair of washable moccasins slippers. These are washed at least every two weeks at home. If they’ve been in a hotel or plane they are washed as soon as possible.

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Oh matron! July 6, 2013 - 4:29 pm

You’re kidding, right? Did you disinfect the toilet seat before sitting on it? The taps before using? The door locking mechanism? The seat that you’re sat on? The inflight magazine you’re reading? The business class Bose headphones? I suspect not.

Man up. Grow a pair. Stop whining.

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PointsandTravel ✈ (@Pointsandtravel) July 6, 2013 - 5:53 pm

I agree with what Scott said of HackmyTrip!

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Bob July 6, 2013 - 6:08 pm

I agree with matron – I’d be a lot more concerned with how dirty your hands are and the things you touch in an airport and on the plane. The socks are given to you for the purpose of wearing and walking around while on the plane.

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iv July 6, 2013 - 7:24 pm

I use the provided socks over my own so I actually have two layers of socks on and I put on the slippers too!

I think people are over-reacting because if you only knew how much germs are on the remote, the tray, the overhead bins…you’d probably wrap yourself in plastic wrap!

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JM July 6, 2013 - 7:42 pm

Amazing… After exposing their socks to surfaces touched by thousands of bare feet in security, and voluntarily locking themselves into a tube for hours breathing recycled breath from 200+ other humans from all over the world, they’re seriously worried about germs on the floor? Delusional! Those people should just admit they’re squicked by potty functions!

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sam July 6, 2013 - 7:53 pm

what would have been wrong in answering my question instead of a lecture?

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bundy July 7, 2013 - 1:24 pm

nasty. people cant aim and shoot in the restroom. stepping on who knows what in the restroom = disgusting!

also imagine stepping on something early on the flight. it will basically ruin your whole flight experience in business/first class.

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David Balcon July 11, 2013 - 7:33 pm

Yes, the toilet floors can get gross, even in business and first. I’ve often taken a few paper towels, dampened them and mopped up the floor, tossed them in the trash and laid a few clean ones down on the surface before doing my duty after which I gather up the remaining paper towels from the floor (carefully in both cases to ensure nothing has seeped through) to toss them. It’s also necessary to take some kleenex tissues, dampening them, and cleaning off the rim of the toilet. People are gross and pigs. Naturally, a hot soapy hand wash follows, with some hand cream and a kleenex tissue in hand to unlock the door and lift the handle to exit, a quick toss into the garbage as the door self-closes. (Of course if one is flying various Asian and Middle Eastern airlines in F, the task of cleaning the loo is tended to by an FA who quickly dashes into the chamber immediately upon it being exited.)

And yes, I wear those socks, but actually have collected the slipper type that airlines used to give out, and that SQ still provides in its business class (first folks get real slippers). These have a thicker bottom and I find them more comfortable. And I do wear just them when I pay my visit to the washroom. I carefully fold them inside out and place them into a plastic bag, to be used on the next segment or return flight, carefully placing them on my feet. Some Purell generally works as a hand cleaner even if my hands don’t touch the bottom or exterior sides. These get tossed at the end of the flights. When these are not available I will use a pair of hotel or airline slippers (AA now supplies them on all its premium cabin international flights), again keeping them in a plastic bag for reuse when I know these won’t be handed out on upcoming flights.

But I am grossed out by people going bare foot on airplanes, as well as removing their shoes but not putting on the socks supplied over their own.

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