I get the reason United Airlines didn’t let two legging-wearing young ladies aboard one of their planes, but let’s think about this. Indeed, my wife and I had just such a discussion during our recent trip to Florida. We recalled a time when travelers got all gussied up for air travel, not only to impress the other travelers, but in hopes the flight attendant might comp them a scotch on the rocks, or move them up to first class. Nowadays you can pretty much wear a sack and flip flops when jetting from A to B. Have people simply become slobs or too arrogant to care how they appear in public? That may be part of the answer, but I believe what’s really going on is we’re dressing for duress. During those days when air travel was considered something special, a privilege, a treat, passengers were treated as such. Airlines cheerfully checked our luggage as part of the price of a ticket and the boarding process was orderly and humane. There was plenty of overhead bin space in which to store one’s coat or brief case. One barely broke a sweat.
Air travel now? I’d rather get caught in the middle of the stampede during Free Depends Day in Delray Beach. Dress up? Are you kidding? The exorbitant fees to check a bag mean added incentive to schlep it through the airport, onto the plane and wishing and hoping for some precious overhead bin space into which you can wrestle it. I’m already schvitzing thinking about it.
Then there’s the whole process of simply getting on the plane. Because overhead space is such a premium, passengers who were either too cheap, too stubborn or simply couldn’t handle the bag check fees, crowd to the frontlines of the battle, ready to elbow, body check or step on the feet of fellow competitors who just want a spot to store their bag. It’s a contact sport, baby, and formal wear is not the uniform!
When you’re finally on the plane, if not fortunate enough to be sitting in the relative luxury of first class, you’re stuffed into a seat roughly the width of a toothpick. You squeeze yourself in as best you can, wishing you had three knees per leg so as best to adequately fold them into the stingy space in front of you, then play to the death that game of “the arm rest is mine, sucka!”
So it’s no wonder fliers choose to wear clothing more appropriate for battle on land, seat and air as opposed to the sky salons of the past. I personally don’t care if you wear leggings, leotards or liederhosen as long as you act like a human, haven’t drenched yourself with Axe, don’t try to hog both arm rests and never, ever, ask me “so..whatcha gonna do when we get to Cleveland?” I’ll explain the terms of my parole.