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I’ve flown millions of miles on countless flights and airlines all around the world. I’ve seen so much crazy behavior on airplanes that I had to write this post: 10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Airplane Habits.
Unfortunately, it feels like the pandemic has made things worse and it seems like passengers are getting ruder and ruder. I just don’t get how people think it’s okay to watch movies, listen to music or talk on the phone on speaker without using headphones on an airplane, as if they’re in their own living room. It’s mind blowing. It happens on every flight including mine yesterday.
I also can’t comprehend how some people think it’s okay to take care of their personal hygiene on an airplane like clipping their nails, tweezing their eyebrows or giving themselves a manicure.
In the past, I would tell the passenger it’s not allowed to apply nail polish on a plane because both nail polish and nail polish remover are highly flammable. But after getting chewed out, now I would just ring the call button so the flight attendant can do the dirty work. They always shut it down immediately.
Unfortunately, it’s happened again this week as my buddy JT Genter posted on Twitter. “Nail polish users: PLEASE don’t wait until you’re in an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers all breathing recycled air to apply nail polish. Some of us are very sensitive to the poisonous fumes.”
Nail polish users: PLEASE don’t wait until you’re in an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers all breathing recycled air to apply nail polish. Some of us are very sensitive to the poisonous fumes.
Also, an FYI that drinking alcohol you brought onboard is not legal. pic.twitter.com/RQTjaNURTC
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) November 16, 2023
I also reported two high profile incidents last year when they happened at least twice in the same week. First, the Daily Mail reported: “An American Airlines flight from Miami to Barbados had to return to the airport after flyers became sick due to an ‘acetone smell.’ AA Flight 338 departed Miami International Airport around 6pm on Wednesday, but had to return due to a strong chemical odor – believed to be nail polish remover – coming from a passenger’s carry-on item. Some passengers reportedly became sick and started vomiting due to the strong smell.”
Then Yahoo wrote a story about a viral Reddit thread titled: This woman painting her nails on a 3 hour plane journey. There were over 600 comments and the most popular was from Twinkletoes1951: “Happened on a flight I was on; flight attendant came over and shut that down within a minute for degrading the air quality.”
However, what I find even more shocking is that neither nail polish nor nail polish remover are illegal to bring onboard (something I just learned).
Regarding nail polish remover, the TSA’s website says:
Since the TSA recommends checking out the FAA regulations for more information I did just that and this is what the Federal Aviation Administration has to say:
The FAA says to consult flight crews but I couldn’t find any specific airline policies except this, from an article by my good friend and former SF Gate travel writer, Chris McGinnis: “A United spokesperson told SFGATE, “We don’t have a policy against nail polish. However, as a courtesy, we ask customers to refrain from using it for the comfort of their fellow travelers.”
Southwest’s response was similar: “For the comfort of all our passengers onboard, this practice is frowned upon and the customer will be asked to put away their polish.”
Alaska Airlines says, “Polish isn’t prohibited, but it’s not encouraged given the strong odor.”
At Delta, a spokesperson said that the carrier “does not have a published rule on polish.”
So it sounds like it’s up to the flight crew. Fortunately, any flight I’ve been on where a passenger started applying nail polish, the flight attendants took care of it quickly. PRO TIP: My wife always does a gel manicure before we travel so that her nails are done and she doesn’t have to worry about them on the road. Since a gel manicure generally lasts about 2-3 weeks, it’s a great solution. You can also do your own gel manicure at home for far less than the salon charges with an at-home gel manicure kit like one of these.
Let’s just end with this and you tell me your thoughts:
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