flight attendant
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
January 21, 2024 ·  4 min read

Flight Attendant Explains Why We Really Shouldn’t Wear Shorts On A Plane

Tommy Cimato is a seasoned flight attendant and he shares secrets from the behind-the-scenes of his job. For instance, in a viral video, he listed “five things you should NEVER do on an airplane” and some of them are shocking. Including his advice to never wear shorts on a plane. For many people, their flying “dress code” is whatever’s comfortable. After all, they have to sit and try to sleep in it. But as comfy and cooling as shorts could be, don’t wear them on the plane, and the reason why may gross you out.

5 Things to Never Do on a Plane

Cimato’s first tip was about hygiene in the bathroom. “Do not ever touch the flush button/lever with your bare hands. It’s honestly just super unsanitary and pretty gross, so when you flush, use a napkin or tissue that’s in the lavatory.” This is probably a good habit to have for any public bathroom — you just never know who or what came in before you did.

His second tip is to stay hydrated, which is extra important in the dry air in the airplane. “Don’t forget to drink water,” he said. “You wanna have about 16oz (473mL) for every flight you go on, so keep that in mind.”

His next tip surprised many people, especially those who love the window seat. “Do not fall asleep or lean your head on the window,” he said. “You are not the only one that has done that and you don’t know how many people or children have wiped their hands or other things all over the window.” [1]

Don’t Wear Shorts on a Plane

His fourth tip — his shocking ‘no shorts’ rule — turned out to be similar to his issue with the window. “Don’t, or try not to, wear shorts when you’re on an airplane,” he said. “It’s the same thing as the window! You never know how clean it’s gonna be, so if you have pants, you’re gonna have less germs.”

Lastly, Cimato encouraged people to speak up when they are under the weather. “Let a flight attendant know if you’re feeling sick,” he said. “So if you need food, water, or an airsickness bag, please feel free to let us know.”

However, people weren’t pleased to hear about the ‘don’t wear shorts on planes’ and ‘don’t lean against the window’ rules. Therefore, the comments section was filled with people asking if these tips indicate that planes aren’t properly cleaned and sanitized after each flight.

Cimato responded to one comment, saying, “The ground crew does all the plane cleaning, they try their best to keep it clean. But this is just in case it gets missed!” [2]

How Clean Are Planes, Really?

The Covid-19 outbreak has heightened many people’s awareness of germs and how they spread. This is great knowledge to protect from any viral illness, not just the coronavirus. However, many of us may become too sensitive. As in, we get startled or flinch every time a character coughs in a TV show. And we wonder why the characters around them don’t react to this horribleness. And if we’re flinching at the TV screen, imagine how much worse the paranoia gets in a real-life, germ-filled situation. Think about public doorknobs or elevator buttons. But none can beat an airplane, which can feel like a prison with no fresh air and no escape. Basically, we share air with everyone on the plane for one hour to over 18 hours. The idea is skin-crawling in a post-pandemic world.

Fortunately, airlines do have measures to clean the planes — including the air — after each flight. These measures have been increased due to the pandemic. For instance, Delta airlines use a high-grade EPA- registered disinfectant to wipe down all common surfaces in addition to its regular cleaning regime. They also use a “fogging process” that spreads an EPA- registered disinfectant before every flight. Similarly, American Airlines and United Airlines use high-grade disinfectants and cleaners on all surfaces, included armrests, tray tables, and window shades. [3]

Additionally, many airlines require passengers to wear masks during a flight — and get Covid-19 tests before the flight and after. The masks help keep airborne saliva from spreading around the plane. Meanwhile, the two Covid=19 tests or certification that the passenger was covid-free for the past two weeks may not be as effective. This is because many Covid-19 patients are asymptotic, which makes masks even more important. 

Stay Safe, Don’t Wear Shorts on a Plane

If you’re concerned about your health, research the safety measures of airlines. Some enforce things like mask-wearing while others do not. And once you are in flight, keep your mask on as much as possible and wash your hands often. Remember, soap and water is a more effective cleaner than hand sanitizer. And don’t wear shorts. [4]


  1. Tommy Cimato. TikTok.
  2. ‘So unsanitary’: Viral TikTok video reveals why you should never wear shorts on an airplane.Yahoo Style. Ellie Spina.
  3. “What airlines are doing to clean their planes.” CNBC. Shawna Baldwin.
  4. “How clean is the air on planes?” National Geographic. Johanna Read.