Despite how much we admire celebrity airport style, it's not always so easy to figure out what you should wear on a plane when push comes to shove. Stilettos and high-waisted leather pants look great in paparazzi shots of stars strutting through airport terminals, but in action, these statement-making ensembles can prove a bit trickier. And though we'd all love to look our best when hitting the skies, certain wardrobe pieces are best left in a checked bag or carry-on. Who better to inform us of what to never wear on a plane than someone who works at 35,000 feet? We reached out to American Airlines flight attendant Andrea Fischbach to spill her list of things you shouldn't wear when flying for the sake of comfort, practicality, and safety as well as her recommendations for what you should wear instead. Keep scrolling!
Fire HazardsWhile a fire may be one of the last things on your list of concerns when flying, it is something to take into account when dressing for your flight. Fischbach names fringe and flammable materials as hazardous items should there be an emergency. "Going a bit extreme here, but there is always a risk with long fringe should the plane have a fire," she says. "While our uniforms have polyester in them, I always wonder and worry myself that they could be a hazard if they got too close to extreme heat and melt on us." Though Fischbach admits it's a bit morbid (and most likely nothing to worry about), it is a scary reality in the event of an emergency. "I travelled a lot growing up, and one rule my mother made me follow that I continue to follow to this day is to always have my body covered," says Fischbach, who opts for long sleeves and pants. "Emergency slides are not fun to go down and hurt—a lot—and it's not a smooth landing once you reach the end of the slide," she explains. "The more you cover the surface of your skin, the more protection for your largest organ."
High Heels or Backless SandalsDeciding which shoes to wear when flying can often be the trickiest part of the outfit to nail down, so we asked Fischbach if there's a specific style you should simply avoid when flying. "High heels and backless sandals make it difficult to quickly evacuate the aircraft, and heels can possibly cause further damage to emergency exits or hurt others if they go flying off somehow," she says. "I would really advise against high heels or flip-flops or any slides, mostly for safety purposes. If there is an evacuation and slides are required, your high heels will have to come off, as they can puncture the slide. Who knows where and in what conditions you'll land. Plus, they aren't very practical running gate to gate." (She suggests watching out for late flight attendants, and you'll see what she means.) Fischbach notes that even flight attendants change shoes during the flight because it isn't practical to wear heels the entire time. "As if another reason is needed, they make the metal detectors go off (if you are lucky enough to have pre-check) thanks to nails in the heels," she explains. "Flip-flops and backless shoes can also end up flying off your feet, and your feet are more likely to freeze, especially during a long flight." Furthermore, open shoes can make for an unsanitary visit to the airplane lavatories. "Be wary of wearing sandals if you are planning on going in the lavatory," warns Fischbach. "That isn't water on the floor (yes, use your imagination), and sandals invite whatever that liquid is to splash on your feet."
What to Wear InsteadOnce you've studied up on Fischbach's concise list of items to avoid while flying, sub in her flight-friendly go-tos. Layering is her top suggestion for ensuring you enjoy a comfortable flight. "I always try to layer for flights I'm on as a passenger," she explains. "If you must wear a skirt or dress, wear tights underneath, even if it's the middle of summer and you are traveling from Miami to Cancún." great layering piece.