This air travel trend is just plane gross.
While people once donned suits and dresses to travel, pajamas, flip-flops and increasingly revealing outfits are now the norm. One woman was even recently seen wandering around a terminal in a skimpy bikini. Airlines have wide discretion to kick off passengers who they think are getting a little too casual — or letting it all hang out.
But, according to experts, these sartorial scofflaws don’t just delay takeoff — their wardrobe choices may be unsanitary.
“Those planes are deep-cleaned twice a year. Why would you want your skin against those seats?” air travel expert George Hobica told The Post.
While cabin air is refreshed every few minutes — thus reducing the risk of inhaling COVID-19 particles — surfaces can be teeming with bacteria and viruses.
Germs that cause the common cold, flu, staph infections and norovirus — not to mention E. coli, which can result in serious infections — have all been found lurking on surfaces inside planes, according to Philip Tierno, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
While Tierno said extra skin exposure doesn’t necessarily lead to a higher infection risk, Hobica said it simply feels icky.
“Thousands of people sit in these planes every week and then you’re sitting in it,” he said, adding that between-flight wipe downs do not thoroughly clean a plane’s upholstery.
But that hasn’t stopped travelers from taking it all off.
“I’ve seen a man not wearing a shirt, females just showing a little too much cleavage, and short, short shorts…it almost looks like underwear. It seems like the trend now is to just wear less clothing.”
Last week, an anonymous blonde woman went viral strolling through a US airport in nothing but a bikini and a face mask.
“There are no guidelines that are expressed in inches or centimeters, or how short should the shorts be,” Hobica said, noting it’s at the discretion of flight attendants and gate workers to determine what’s appropriate when boarding a flight.
Those judgement calls have brought turbulence to airports around the nation.
Eve J. Marie, a 26-year-old Playboy model traveling with her 7-year-old son, was “humiliated” after Southwest Airlines asked her to change her low-cut, leopard-skin top, which violated the airline’s dress code.
Another Southwest Airlines passenger, Kayla Eubanks, also recently complained that she was forced to cover up her revealing top.
“The airline industry is kind of weird because they’ve always had this view that [flying] is a special experience,” Hobica said of passenger dress codes.
Hobica, who believes women are stopped for their clothes more often than men, speculated as to why there’s a recent uptick in travel outfits airlines find inappropriate.
“In the summer, it’s very hot and the airports are crowded with people all generating heat. They just want to be comfortable.”
But women who’ve been called out for their clothing say it’s up to them to decide what is appropriate dress on potentially filthy flights.
“I was harassed about my outfit,” said Ray Lin Howard of her recent run-in with Alaska Airlines for wearing a sports bra on the flight.
And Sierra Steadman also took to social media to complain of her treatment by the airline for wearing a black bandeau and grey zip-up hoodie.
“I’ve never felt more degraded, ashamed, embarrassed, angry or sad,” she said.