Is This Appropriate First Class Behavior?

by on October 18, 2011 · 38 comments

in Polls, Travel Health, United

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TPG reader Tim recently flew on United and had the pleasure of sitting near this quite relaxed gentleman who was clearly enjoying his time in first class. Apparently he was in this position for most of the 8 hour flight.


I'm refraining from a caption in order to not taint the poll results

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this in the poll and in the comments section below!

What are your thoughts on the sockless man in first class?

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Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jessica

    Shouldn’t make assumptions. Could be medically related and he told the flight attendant what he’d be doing. Although why he couldn’t keep his socks on….

  • Brian B

    Ah, the joys of flying in / from / to the US of A

  • Cyht

    The flight attendant intervene!
    The guy, being a classless, self centered snob wouldn’t have done anything but yell at the FA.

    Just another hillbilly picnic in the air.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t tell from the pic, is that the back of someone’s seat?

    The feet look too low for that but I can’t figure out what else they could be on.

  • immiLawyer

    “Whew! My dogs are barking today.”

  • Anonymous

    I’m so picky I even carry a pocket size Lysol with me on the airplane! :D

  • hobo13

    No, it’s his workspace.

    If it was the back of someone’s seat, I’d say it’s really bad. But this is his space. Are people upset because he has his socks off, or because his feet are really high? In other words, if he did the same thing with his feet on the footrest, would you care?

  • Iolaire

    I honestly think each time you post photos like this, you are ignoring that other people have other cultural norms, and you as a traveler seem to expect them to live within your culture norms.

    It’s obvious by the photo that the person feels it is quite acceptable. Does your distaste for viewing bare feet outweigh his right to live as he pleases?

    In many cultures it’s expected that you remove your shoes when you move from outside to inside. Some cultures use slippers etc. but I’d guess that not all do. I’d personally consider my nice first class flight an inside environment. (Also by culture, I don’t mean only cultures from some other part of the world, many people would walk with bare feet at home.)

    I personally don’t wear sandals with my suites, but I see old me who appear to be Indian wearing sandals and socks with suits at times in the DC Metro. Is that Metro behavior to me? No, but it doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate.

  • Marina

    My thoughts exactly. If you need to put your feet up, keep your socks on—and make sure they’re impeccably clean!

  • notsosmart

    I must admit, it’s a little off-putting, but it would be the same in coach, no? I mean, if it’s in poor taste, it should be in poor taste in the back of the plane too…

  • Ana Ortega

    likewise, in some cultures showing the sole of your shoe is disrespectful – wouldn’t this fall into that category? showing the bottom of your feet?

  • Iolaire

    Correct, someone might feel it is rude to rest your right leg on your left leg and show part of the bottom of your shoe.

    My example would be if you came from culture that expected women to be veiled, could you really be surprised that all the women in first class are not veiled?

  • Ana Ortega

    I think putting up his feet like that is disrespectful to the man whose back of the head we see in the shot. If it’s medically necessary I hope the flight attendant got an OK from the man who has to sit next to the feet!

    Likewise, I don’t like 1) people putting up their feet on the back of the seat at movie theaters, or 2) people driving down the highway with their feet up on the dash of their cars – passengers mainly but I have seen one *driver* driving with his feet hanging out the window! Ridiculous!

  • Huffmajo

    Yes, it could be his culture. Yes, it could be medical. Yes, I guess the plane could have been on fire… give me a break people. TPG is asking us a simple question and the answer is no, it is not “appropriate.”

    If it is indeed a medical reason, then fine. Even if it is cultural (someone PLEASE point me to the wikipedia page that talks about the culture that would encourage one to put their bare feet that high in the air on the back of a headrest inside a plane), then fine. The point is that although there may be a million acceptable reasons, based on all we know from this picture, it is not acceptable behavior in any fare class. Especially one where people are paying $5000 or more for the ride (yes, it would matter, but less in coach. Just the way it is…)

    I am quite positive that the people who posted here about “cultural or medical” would absolutely have a fit if there were a picture of an American doing something outrageous in another culture. And they wouldn’t be giving the American the break…

  • Benben747

    it’s a non-rev retired united employee

  • Drstickel

    Classless! Put them down now!!

  • vespa_girl

    That’s just totally gross. Think about the next passenger who gets to use that pillow that he’s got his sweaty feet on.

  • Wbuffett1

    That’s funny

  • Jorge

    That “First Class” seems all cramped. There should be more space. Some seperator as well. FIRST CLASS? = You own Guflstream !

  • Bacc

    I would tickle him

  • rl123

    LOL, I’m calling BS on this one. I’m a huge believer in respecting other cultures’ norms, but please point me to in which culture it is considered polite to do this? Because I happen to come from a culture where you remove your shoes when coming inside, but it is still extremely rude to do this in my culture as well! As mentioned below, if it’s medically related that’s one thing, but I seriously doubt you can sweep this under the “culturally pc” rug. No, let’s call it as it is – he just wants to put his feet up. Which gets a thumbs down in my book – especially in the small confines of an airplane, being mindful/respectful of other passengers should definitely come before one’s personal convenience.

  • tivoboy

    People putting their feet/shoes on the seat, walls or in the air is really one of my pet peaves. We’re not children or animals people. they don’t clean the seats/walls after every flight. Would you do this in a colleagues home?

  • Anonymous

    Would love to take stock photo like that — frequent seller, IMO.

    As to enforcing my “culture”:
    1. request cup of water
    2. every few minutes dip fingers in water
    3. let excess water drip off
    4. flick fingers in direction of…
    5. cough at same time as 4
    6. if confronted, apologize profusely
    7. repeat 2-6 as needed

  • Get Real

    I find it humorous that people are talking about polite social norms of cultures of taking off shoes in the house, etc. Which one of these cultures would condone taking your shoes off in a home and then putting your bare feet up on a persons table while watching tv? Get real, this guy just could have cared less if he was offending anyone around him.

  • Martin

    Hehe, yeah!

  • Jimgotkp

    If I were the guy sitting in front of him, I would complain especially if his foot smelled.

  • Guest

    I miss Mr. Candy.

  • April D. Thompson

    I can’t believe the mean looks I get when I ask people to move their feet off of my arm rest. Granted this has only happened when flying coach or economy comfort, but still, it’s gross, annoying and disrespectful.

  • Ryan Sensenig

    No matter how wonderful you believe your feet are, it can still be gross to many people. Unacceptable behavior.

  • Dale

    I had a similar experience in biz class LAX to FCO on Alitalia. Not only was it an off duty employee, but I woke to her feet in my hair! I simply shoved them “abruptly” off my head and the back of the seat.

  • JimL

    A colleague of mine was on a flight recently from LA to New Zealand, I believe, and he posted a photo on Facebook where someone was changing their pants in their seat. I thought THAT was bad behavior.

  • toomanybooksm

    In some cultures fathers kill their daughters who go out on dates with men they don’t like, or they stone gay people to death. Is this acceptable behavior?

  • Gohima

    Not very appropriate but meh. It doesnt really ruffle my feathers.

  • Heytim118

    Nothing looks worse in a business meeting or gathering than an idiot wearing sandalas with formal clothes. No clue and no class!

  • Spk7427

    I totally agree. I fly all the time and this has happened to me more then once. I wonder what the thought process is when someone decides to put their feet near another person, let alone near another persons face. Extremely rude and disrespectful. When I fill out the flight surveys I always include a suggestion about having a statement of quick video clip about passenger courtesy and tray table manners.

  • Spk7427

    I’m all for respecting people cultures and rituals, but someone putting their feet near another persons face is rude and disrespectful. When traveling in a confined space for an extended period of time there needs to be some respect for fellow travelers.

  • Joelfreak

    Its amazing how Americans (of which I am one) have a foot phobia. If they are clean (and then again I wouldn’t want an unclean part of ANYONES body near me, no matter hand, leg or foot) they are no different than any other part of the body. If YOU have a hangup about feet, its YOUR problem. If this person smelled, no matter WHAT part of him did, then you have a case, but just because of the odor, not because it came from feet specifically.

  • GuestQuest Vacations

    Pee-yew…Stinky feet. I’m surprised this wouldn’t be classified as a ‘health code’ violation. What if the person has a foot fungus? Yuck!

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