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What to wear for air travel

Clothing Suggestions for Air Travel
by Courtney Caldwell

How to dress for business travel

People who travel frequently know that the best way to dress for airplanes is as comfortably as possible, especially if flying on an extended flight of more than four hours. It sounds logical enough but the truth is that some people get themselves in a state of flux trying to figure out what to wear on a plane. Here are some simple solutions to help with your decision.

Business Travelers: Many professionals today travel four hours or more by plane just to attend a one-hour meeting. Quite often, they'll fly in the night before and attend a meeting in the morning after returning home that same afternoon. In this scenario, it's best to fly in sweats or comfortable jeans and sneakers. An overnight carry-on will hold your business attire, which easily holds your casual clothes on the return. You can also switch into your sneakers for the return trip home for maximum comfort.

Our feet tend to swell on airplanes so wearing a comfortable pair of shoes that have the capability to expand, such as sneakers or moccasins, is the best bet. Swelling makes boots very difficult to remove after a long flight, and heels near impossible to get back on.

Vacationers: People on vacation already are of the mindset to travel comfortably so they wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, and flip-flops. This may be too light for your personal safety. Airplanes tend to fluctuate in temperature; some can be very hot while others can be freezing, especially around the foot area. If dressed warmly, you can always remove items to adjust to a cooler temperature, however, if you're dressed too lightly, you may end up shivering your way into a cold at the beginning of your vacation thus ruining it for yourself and your travel companions.

Airplanes are a breeding ground for colds and flu; a 2002 study from the University of California at San Francisco reported that one in five passengers came down with a cold within one week of a flight.

More importantly is the danger of fire or unexpected landings. While these are both extremely rare, they do happen on occasion. With the state of affairs in the world today it's not unthinkable anymore that something ominous could happen. If there's a fire onboard exposed legs are far more susceptible to heat and burns than are blue jeans. If there were a sudden dip in altitude, flying objects are more likely to cut bare skin than if it been protected by jeans or a jacket.

If there were a sudden unexpected landing in a region colder than your vacation destination, would you be prepared to stay warm? And if you had to exit a plane quickly, wouldn't sneakers give you much more protection and traction to move quicly than a pair of flip-flops or high heels? Toes, ankles and foot bones injure easily in a stampede of panic.

It's always best to wear long pants, sneakers, and bring along a jacket when flying. Wear loose fitting clothes not only for your personal comfort but also for easy removal in the event a plane is forced to land in water due to mechanical failure or fire. Should your clothes catch fire, or get too hot, they should be easy to remove. If the case of a water landing in which you're forced to evacuate, clothes can become very heavy and restrictive when wet, weighing you down and unable to swim. Clothes that are easy to remove, especially over shoes, could mean the difference between life and death. Navy sailors wear bell-bottoms for this exact reason.

Women Travelers: Nylon attracts heat and burns very easily. In some cases in can melt to your skin. If you must fly in business attire, wear socks and sneakers for the flight portion and change into your heels and nylons in the rest room at the airport. This is also great for getting your power walks in at the airports. You'll also keep your feet much warmer from the cool air ducts that line the floors of most planes, which can be very cold on bare feet. Since most women tend to have circulation problems with their feet, socks and sneakers provide one solution for many traveling issues. Swollen feet in heels at the end of the flight may send you limping to the meeting.

Comfort and safety are key here. Not only do you want to be comfortable for your long trip you also want to be prepared for the worst case scenario. When freaky things happen in flight, no one is really prepared. Panic ensues and people behave in ways that are unimaginable. So the best possible solution is to prepare ahead as much as possible in ways that will keep you safe, just in case.