The truth about wearing high heels at the airport

So you want to wear heels at the airport? Go ahead. Back in the days when commercial flights were first becoming mainstream, the Pan Am girls weren’t the only ones looking fly to fly.

Traveling via airplane was a rare, expensive, and extremely special occasion. Thus, passengers dressed to impress in suits, hats, dresses, coats, and, of course, heels.

Though many of us have traded skirts for jeans and fancy hats for ponytails, there’s one point of debate among fabulous travelers: footwear. While some fliers swear by their Uggs or flip flops, others are holding strong in favor of high heels at the airport.

But is this leftover element of classic dress code a way to better enjoy your day of traveling? Or is it something that could potentially ruin the entire experience? (Cue image of us sprinting down an airport corridor, tripping on our heels, and falling flat on our face… oops!)

To get to the sole of this issue, we’re breaking down five common myths about wearing heels at the airport.


heels at the airport vane airport magazine
PHOTO: Pexels

1) They are considered a weapon by security (FALSE)

Unless your heels are covered in prominent studs or fake guns, it’s unlikely that TSA will consider your choice of footwear a weapon. As with all other footwear choices, they will need to be removed and scanned during security checks, but shouldn’t garner more attention than, say, boots or sneakers. The TSA agents aren’t out to ruin our outfits. Seriously. So this one is a FALSE myth. Probably spread by heel haters. Am I right?

2) They can help you reach the overhead bins (TRUE)

Short girls know the struggle is real when trying to stuff bags into the overhead bins. Sarah from Girl on a Mountaintop has noted one of the benefits of traveling in heels: they help you reach the overhead bins.

That extra few inches could be the difference between having to ask that tall guy next to you for help, or just doing it yourself. (Although, asking the hot guy could still be an option.) This myth is as true blue as Jet Blue.

3) Only high-maintenance girls wear heels at the airport (FALSE)

No, it’s not only the high-maintenance types that you’ll spot wearing heels to the airport. There are a ton of different reasons that heels may suit a traveler best. Whether you’re going right to a meeting upon landing, traveling with a group of colleagues, or just trying to shake off jetlag by dressing up, there’s nothing high-maintenance about wanting to look – and feel – good. This myth is FALSE.

RECOMMEDED: Travel Style: 5 Things To Never Wear At The Airport

4) You can’t wear heels through TSA pre-check (TRUE)

All passengers must remove their shoes for regular security. Even people who wear heels at the airport. Heels present a bit of a problem for those with TSA pre-check… While the shorter security line is probably the best perk of this program, the whole not-having-to-take-off-your-shoes part is a pretty close second.

However, passengers in heels can’t chill out and cruise through quite yet. Heels are still required to be taken off when going through TSA pre-check, as told by Keri from Heels First Travel. Since most heels have a metal construction base, they’re pretty much guaranteed to set off the alarm. Unless you can find a pair without the metal inside!

5) They can make you late for your flight (TRUE)

Anyone who has ever been forced to run in heels knows that it is pretty much the worst thing ever. Heels make you measurably slower and much more likely to fall, so they’re not the best choice for those running late. Trying to rush is also more likely to give you blisters…and make you never want to wear heels again.

So if you’re going to choose this footwear for your travels, give yourself a little extra cushion of time to ensure you can leisurely – and fiercely – stroll those concourses.

UPDATED July 3, 2018

Nile Cappello

Obsessed with words, cotton candy, Southern California and eating her way across the world.

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