Barefoot airline passengers -- is it against any rules?
Boarding a flight this weekend, I noticed a woman in front of us who was dressed in sort of luau/beach attire....wearing NO SHOES Once we settled into our seats, I was further surprised to find that she was seated in the emergency exit row!
She didn't REMOVE her shoes....she NEVER WORE ANY. In fact, after we landed and collected our luggage and proceeded outside to the rental car shuttle sign....she ended up asking me where to catch a shuttle. She had an Australian accent and I could see that her feet were sunburned. Even though this was the asphalt and it was late at night, she was STILL barefoot...
As far as health or sanitary precations, it's obviously a bad idea to walk around airports and planes without shoes. (IMHO) it's a terrible idea from a safety perspective also.
Do airlines have rules against this? The whole time I kept wondering if there were rules against this and if I should have brought it to the attention of a FA?
There are many cultures where walking barefoot is still the norm.
There are people who walk barefoot as a lifestyle choice (I used to know a "barefoot by choice" person - she was a perfectly normal person in all other respects, and she explained to me that when you walk barefoot all the time then the soles of your feet become like the soles of your shoes).
Like for everything there is a web site for people who choose to walk barefoot:
Location: Massachusetts, USA; AA Plat (2.86MM), DL GM and Flying Colonel (0.93MM); SPG Gold
DFW-SEA on AA last Saturday, an FA dropped and broke a glass in the F galley as I was heading for the lav. They tried to clean up the pieces (at last - a good use for those safety instruction cards!) but chances are they didn't get every tiny bit. One of them said to me "that's why you never walk through the galley barefoot."
Aside from that, the lav is used by lots of guys standing up while the airplane bounces around. When the airplane bounces, guess what else does. I wouldn't want to be barefoot in there, either.
(BTW, what's with the blue and purple type? Makes things harder to read.)
It seems to me the health/safety concern just applies to the person themselves. The airline may be concerned, as they don't want to be liable for any injury such as from broken glass.
However, I don't see any risk to other passengers beyond athlete's foot, and that won't affect you if you keep your own shoes on. They aren't going to track anything in on their bare feet that doesn't get tracked in on shoes.
There's also the aesthetic issues: odor, and other ickyness from people that aren't clean or have a skin disorder, but these aren't really a safety issue.