Top Navigation

Dressing Up for Air Flights

FLY THE GENTEEL SKIES — Whereas airport security has grown much tighter over the years, the attire of commercial airline passengers has become much more relaxed. Many of Jacksonville’s airlines enforced dress codes as late as the 1980s. A woman was required to wear a dress or pantsuit, while a man had to don a tie and a coat or sports jacket. If a guy showed up without these items, some companies would loan them to him for the duration of his flight.

Airlines wanted their service to maintain a lofty image. Some people viewed bus travel as rather seedy, and airlines didn’t want their transportation to fall to the same level of public perception. This information comes from a long-time, local airport staff member whose father, since the early 1950s, also worked at area airports.

People now dress every which way, according to the airport staff member. Blue jeans & holey T-shirts prove standard fare. Some gals look as if they’ve come straight from the beach, with one-piece bathing suits covered below by shorts. Golfers breeze through in golfing attire, while bikeless bikers rush to Daytona Beach in stereotypical motorcycling duds. Young rebels have boasted the usual chains, nose rings, and colored hair with spikes.

Yes, things have changed. As late as the 1970s, your mother was probably telling you, “be sure to dress up as if going to church.”

Because of the tighter airport security since September 11, 2001, many passengers have beeen putting on even more casual attire. Trying to not to upset metal detectors, some don  clothes that could be used in sports. They avoid such items as cuff links, bolo ties, jewelry, and metal buttons, not to mention belts, and even shoes.

~written by Glenn Emery

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society