Disgusting: Passenger Airs Dirty Shoe Inflight Using Air Nozzles

You see some strange things on flights, from unruly passengers to bizarre luggage. But a recent video of one American Airlines passenger airing out his shoes using the overhead air vent definitely takes the cake so far this year.

Boeing 763
An American Airlines flight was disturbed by a passenger airing out their shoe. Photo: Nathan Coats via Flickr

Being stuck in a cramped, economy class seat can be stressful enough as it is without the numerous added annoyances which are part and parcel of flying. There’s the ever-present menace of sitting near a crying baby, which could turn a normal three-hour flight into a journey from hell.

Then you have the possibility of sharing a flight with a passenger who takes a little too much advantage of the in-flight alcoholic drinks menu.

There are all sorts of ways a flight can be ruined and passengers can be removed from an aircraft. But there’s always someone out there who will surprise you with a novel new way of making your flight that little bit more uncomfortable.

The shoe dryer

As reported by Live And Lets Fly yesterday, footage emerged recently of a passenger engaging in a rather unusual in-flight pastime.

The video, which was posted on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account, shows a passenger airing out their shoe using the air vent above their seat.

Of course, each passenger has their own air vent to do with as they please. But usually, that amounts to nothing more than directing a small burst of air at themselves.

The addition of a shoe, which presumably had been worn for a considerable period of time before, breaks all the unwritten rules of etiquette you’d expect other passengers to abide by.

You can see a video clip of the incident below.

Rude or acceptable?

There will probably be varying opinions on whether or not the American Airlines passenger in the video was justified in their behavior or not.

The first thing to consider is why the passenger was attempting to dry out their shoe in the first place. Unfortunately, there is not much context to go alongside the video, but we can make a few assumptions.

American Airlines Boeing 777-223ER taking off from Pudong Airport
Passengers are removed from flights for all sorts of reasons. Photo: Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons

The most likely reason the passenger attempted to dry out their shoe is probably an accidental spillage of water from a water bottle, or maybe even from the toilet on the aircraft.

While this would certainly be an annoyance, it’s hard to justify airing the shoe out in such a public way. A much more reasonable option would be to simply take the shoe off and leave it under the seat to dry off gradually.

By attempting to dry the shoe with air from the air vent, any smell would be wafted around the cabin, disturbing many more passengers than would be the case otherwise.

Unless it was a serious situation, which a wet shoe definitely isn’t, there isn’t really any justification to disturb other passengers in this way.