Travel Etiquette: Is it okay to take off your shoes onboard?

Travel Etiquette: Is it okay to take off your shoes onboard?

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati

We asked, you answered.

Are you all for getting comfy with your socks or keeping shoes on? Do you find it disrespectful if people take off their shoes? How about socks? Should there be a dress code on a plane?

Shoes/socks off is fine…no to dress code. -Nancy

Well, socks are a bit iffy, especially when they are put over the headrest to air. Underwear is a definite no, no to being taken off while seated in a plane! -Francis

Did you not see Planes, Trains and Automobiles when Del Griffith (John Candy) took his socks off much to the chagrin of Neil Page (Steve Martin)? I think you know the answer!! – Steve

If you are going to any tropical destination and want to change into say flip flops I say ok cause your feet better be groomed before you go. Otherwise please keep your shoes but especially your socks on and yes there should be some kind of dress code when it comes to those thinking they can wear bathing suits on the plane in order to rush to the ocean upon arrival, doesn’t happen that way, I had that happen where in mid-flight a young couple did just that and no cover ups? – Jackie

Absolutely love this time of year. … socks on and getting to put on a pair of jeans. Walking on the lake, smell of the Fall woods, c/w the blazing colours!!! As far as removing socks, shoes on aircraft… whatever makes one more comfortable! That sort of thing doesn’t bother us at all.- Aubrey

I keep my shoes on, don’t like my feet to swell. I don’t care what people wear as long as their clothes and they themselves are clean. Hygiene is never more important than in close quarters for long periods of time. – Lori

Footwear should never be removed! No flip flops, and NO high heels! – Hilton

There needs to be some clear rules of etiquette when flying.
1) Personal hygiene. If you are unaware or unwilling to wash, use deodorant, or you wear strong aftershave or perfume, or are wearing smelly or soiled clothing you should not be permitted to board.
2) Reclining seats are provided, but should be used appropriately ie not during meal services, or during landing and takeoff.
3) Footwear may be removed when seated, but only if you have clean feet.
4) Use of washroom. The washrooms are not to be used during times when stewards air in the aisles serving meals etc, so plan ahead.
5) Diaper changing should be done in the washrooms and soiled diapers disposed of properly. (I have seen a person change a diaper at their seat and then attempt to hand the soiled one to a stewardess during meal service.)
6) Breastfeeding is natural and normal. If it offends you, don’t fly. Do not stare and let mothers do what mothers do best. Happy babies sleep!
7) Getting drunk and obnoxious on the plane is stupid, and may get you thrown off the plane, banned from flying, and charged for the cost and inconvenience caused to other passengers.
8) Insurance. Always take out travel insurance. I worked as a flight Nurse repatriating people injured or taken ill on vacation. The cost can be exorbitant, and is not covered by a lot of health schemes, including OHIP.
9) Air crew are people too. They work hard, and their pay is not that good, so help make their lives better by being courteous and obeying all requests promptly.
10) Safety. Read the emergency leaflet, attend to the safety briefing, and always wear your seatbelt when seated. Turbulence is an increasing phenomenon and causes serious injuries that are easily prevented. Thanks!  – Steve

I’m for taking my shoes off! Long flights especially! It’s already uncomfortable enough on most flights, so anything to make it more comfortable is acceptable in my book! – Diane

No way should you remove your shoes on a plane. It is acceptable to change from winter boots to shoes, but this should be done in the airport, then secure your boots in your carry on. Also you should not change into your favourite PJ’s for the trip. Just sit back, enjoy the movie or chat with the new best friend you just met in the seat next to you (providing they are friendly). As Red Green would say. “Remember, we are all in this together” I may be in the minority but when landing I do not have the mad scramble to find my shoes and try to put them on in the small space provided by airline seats that are designed for little people (also a minority) – Peter

I have no problem with people kicking off their shoes on a plane get comfy… you are on holiday! just don’t have stinky feet and sit besides me! – Susan

I would only object to shoe and sock removal if offensive odors are involved. Some of my friends could asphyxiate the entire cabin population if they pulled off their shoes. If your are cursed with a stinky foot, then keep it safely encased. If not, go ahead and do what gives you comfort. Follow your wishes, but listen to those who give you feedback about offensive aspects to what you have done. – Wally

I take off my shoes. Never wear flipflops as it’s too easy to sprain your ankles. I do wear runners as they have rubber soles – Nora

Share your point of view in the comments below!


  1. On long haul fights, I do for sure, but wear a comfortable shoe in case there is some swelling in the feet on arrival. Do not appreciate people who have stinky feet or bodies removing there shoes or other pieces of clothing. KEEP IT CONTAINED!

  2. if in doubt, ask the person(s) sitting next to you.

  3. For long flights Shoes off OK but leave socks on. As others have said if you have smelly feet keep them covered. For short flights there is no need to remove footwear. When you dress for the flight make sure you are comfortable and you won’t have to change attire. I once flew from winter to summer and just made sure that I had summer clothes in my carry on. Once we landed I found the first wash room to change in before continuing on to get my luggage. Being comfortable reduces any unnecessary irratibility.

  4. I’ve never been on an airliner, but if I ever do travel by plane, I would be offended if the person sitting next to me took off his or her shoes and socks. I have a thing about feet, and this would really gross me out! When I saw that scene from “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles,” Steve Martin’s reaction to John Candy taking off his shoes and socks on the plane was something I could relate too. Stinky feet are disgusting, so please people, respect the person who sits next to you on an airliner and keep your shoes and socks on!

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