Never Take Your Shoes Off During A Flight For This Dangerous Reason

Getting comfortable on a plane — especially when stuck in economy — can take a bit of work. You might need to recline your seat, put on some noise-canceling headphones, or throw on a blanket. And after walking around large airport terminals and standing in long security lines, you'll likely want to kick off your shoes, something that some airlines even encourage by providing complimentary socks and slippers.

However, ditching your shoes on a plane could put you in danger if things go awry while you're in the air. Christine Negroni, an aviation expert and travel writer, told The Sun that passengers should keep their shoes on in case of an emergency landing. "If you escape an aircraft, the floor could be very hot or cold, it might be covered in oil or on fire, or in a cornfield – you won't want to be barefoot," Negroni shared.

Leaving your loose shoes on the cabin floor could also put other passengers in danger, as Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, told Reader's Digest. "Shoes in the aisle can be a safety hazard in the event of an emergency evacuation," Whitmore explained, adding that flyers should keep shoes on during take-off and landing, the periods when planes are most likely to suffer accidents.

Walking around a plane without shoes can also be unhygienic

We've all heard how unsanitary the average commercial plane can be. Those tray tables can be dirtier than many toilets, and the smudges on the seatback TV screens are a reminder of the germy fingers that touched them before you. You might not think your feet are at risk of picking up harmful microbes the way your hands are — or, if they do, you may assume it doesn't matter — but some experts disagree. "For the love of all things, wear shoes," an anonymous flight attendant told Business Insider. "Walking throughout the aircraft barefoot or even with socks is disgusting." According to the airline employee, urine gets tracked through the plane from the lavatories. When you walk around without shoes on, the bacteria land on your feet and, once you arrive home, spread to your rugs, sofa, or even your bed.

Still, what if your feet are feeling cramped in your shoes, and you're dying for some relief? Take advice from Zarife Hardy, director of the Australian School of Etiquette. Hardy told Jetstar that it's okay to take your shoes off on long international flights as long as you wait until the plane is coasting along and keep your tootsies covered with socks. Then, when you need to stretch your legs or head to the restroom, put your shoes back on to create a barrier against bodily fluids and other germs hanging out on the cabin floor.