Defenders of schlub apparel will insist that airlines have done nothing to earn a crisp suit or a cocktail dress from us. In 2014, for example, Madeleine Davies of Jezebel argued that airlines offering you cramped seating and nonexistent customer service don’t deserve anything better than flu apparel. “Treat me like a sky peasant and I will dress like a sky peasant,” she proclaimed.
While I agree that both airlines and airports have a tendency to treat travelers poorly, in the end, the gym clothes protest doesn’t harm those in power. It harms those in your proximity. The CEO of United isn’t sitting beside you as you fly coach back to Chicago. I am. He doesn’t have to dodge your pit stains as you pull your bag out of the overhead compartment. I do.
Please don’t punish me because some stingy flight attendant wouldn’t give you the whole can of Schweppes. Instead, tie a clean-dimpled half Windsor around your neck, gentleman. Polish your Johnston and Murphy’s, strut onto that cramped cabin like you own the place, and you just might remind the airline that you’re a dadgum real American who deserves all 12 ounces of that ginger ale goodness.