Never Wear This Type of Clothing on a Plane, Experts Warn
With holiday travel in full swing, you've likely already noticed that those security check-in lines at the airport are much longer than usual. From getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight leaves to double-checking that you have all your essentials in your carry-on bag, it's always smart to make sure you're fully prepared for your trip. But being ready for your flight goes far beyond how well you manage your time and packing. According to flight attendants and travel experts, how you dress for your flight matters, too, and it can have an impact on how comfortable and safe your time in the air is. As it turns out, there's one particular piece of clothing that would be better off left in your suitcase. Read on to learn the one thing you should never wear on a plane because of a serious health risk.
Whether you're right next to the window or stuck in the middle of two strangers, sitting on a plane usually means you're in a fairly compact space. With limited legroom and other people surrounding you, there's not much of an opportunity to stretch out, unless you leave your seat. That's why what you wear on a flight can make a difference to how cramped you feel. Specifically, there are certain pants that you shouldn't wear when flying to your next destination.
"It's best to avoid wearing skinny jeans on a lengthy flight," says Molly Fergus, general manager of the travel site TripSavvy. "They limit movement and are likely more annoying to deal with in cramped, dirty airplane bathrooms."
Air travel can affect your body in different ways. During flights, some passengers experience discomfort and bloating, known as "jet belly," due to the increase in air pressure. In a 2016 interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Peter Hackett, MD, director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine in Telluride, Colorado, explained that "gas in the intestines will expand about 30 percent with a cabin altitude of 7,000 feet."
And while not everyone feels this discomfort on a plane, tight clothing can exacerbate the problem. "Bloating is a major issue, even for flight attendants, so wear something comfortable around your waist like elastic," Andrea Fischbach, American Airlines flight attendant, told Who What Wear in October.
Experts say that wearing tight pants on a plane can put your health in jeopardy. In fact, skinny jeans can increase your risk of developing a blood clot, generally in your legs, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Symptoms of this medical condition include swelling, pain, or discoloration of the leg, along with your leg feeling warm, per the Mayo Clinic.
"DVT is a rare but serious condition that is more likely to occur when you're sitting in one position for long periods of time—like on a long-haul flight," Fergus explains. "Constricting, tight clothing can also increase the likelihood of developing a blood clot, so it's not a good idea to mix the two."
In order to prevent any potential health complications, be sure to give yourself as much room as you can while in your seat. "It's very important to be able to move around a bit in your seat—very difficult, I know—and keep your blood flowing," Fischbach told Who What Wear. "If you are tall, travel a lot, or are on a long flight, this is extremely important because you face the risk of developing DVT."
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Skinny jeans aren't the only items you should avoid wearing on a plane. In a TikTok video posted in July, flight attendant Tommy Cimato explained a few things you shouldn't do on a plane, including wearing shorts. He pointed out that you never know what touched your seat or how many people wiped their hands on it. So, for sanitary reasons alone, be sure to keep your legs covered.