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Thread: Flying Pretty - Advice and Recommendations

  1. #1
    Member StephanieCLT's Avatar
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    Question Flying Pretty - Advice and Recommendations

    Hi ladies. It's looking like I'll have an opportunity to cross off a bucket list item in a week or so. As many of you know, I'm closeted, and so I only dress when I travel. Coming up in about ten days, I'm going to be hitting a couple different cities in the same week, and in doing so, I'll have a chance to fly pretty between the two. Both flights will be relatively short, though I'll have a layover in O'Hare airport. I'm excited (I know because my heart skips a beat when I think about it), and so I think I'm actually going to do it!

    I'm probably going to go in "business woman" travel mode, in that since I'll be travelling on business, it feels appropriate. With that in mind, I'll likely wear a blouse, black skirt, hose, and moderate heels. I'll change somewhere en route to the airport or at the airport, which will require going through security en femme.

    With this backdrop in mind, a few questions for all of you.

    1. For those who've flown en femme, what general advice or recommendations would you give based on your experiences?
    2. I'd like to check my bags, partly so I don't have to keep up with them, especially given the layover, and partly so there's no going back! Good or bad idea?
    3. Since I'll have a laptop, I'll need to carry that with me. I usually carry my laptop in my nice leather (Frye) messenger bag. How much will that mess up my identity? I could always try to fit it in my roller bag and carry that with me, but I don't love that idea. Thoughts?
    4. What do I need to have in my purse (besides ID, etc.) just in case?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts! I'm excited!

    Steph

  2. #2
    Senior Member michelleddg's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Emerging Diva Nikki A.'s Avatar
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    Very good tips and Kimberly was a pro at it.

  4. #4
    Ice queen Lorileah's Avatar
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    You can find a lot about this (including many of Kim's posts) by doing a search of this site too
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    “Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” - Fred Rogers,

  5. #5
    Silver Member IleneD's Avatar
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    Stephanie,

    OH! I just did this; my first time air traveling en femme. It was remarkable.
    I flew from PA returning home to CO with a change of planes in between. I traveled alone, and had a great experience (as great as air travel can be).

    Q2. Check bags? You betcha. I thought about the sight of all 6'3" of me in a skirt and blouse heaving a bag into the overhead like a toy. I didn't want any other items to wrestle so I could maintain a little dignity as I moved about. It made my trip much less frantic. Yes, check your bag (but keep a purse or backpack).
    Q3: A nice leather bag is always a delightful accessory. Of course use it; in fact use it as a purse.
    Q4: I kept a small backpack in lieu of a purse and it had all my travel goodies from music to chocolate. Have ID. Always have ID. Maybe hand sanitizer and a lipstick.
    Q1: Here's my experience. Harvest your own advice.
    I dressed at my hotel before departing for the airport, about an hour drive away. I had to return my rental car. The 2 women at the return booth, both very rough looking girls, were visibly tickled to provide customer service, but all went well.
    I stood for a long time in the airline check in line to check my bag. It seemed like forever. The line crept along. I didn't want to have a composure collapse so I rode it out silently. I looked around, even made eye contact. Frankly no one seemed to care a bit or notice (the large man in women's clothing in line). During the entire transit I found that most of the traveling public didn't pay me much attention. They didn't stare or approach, and they didn't flee in horror either. About the only stares or evil-eye I noticed were those of older men. Nearly all women in my travel experience were either polite or gave expressions of mild approval. I think I was basically invisible to men. I went my way.
    My check in with the airline counter rep was fantastic. So respectful. She did "yes, mame." me, and made no big deal about the apparent discrepancy between my ID (photo and gender) and the Ilene before her. I was worried about that before I traveled and relieved that it did not become an obstacle.
    I had no problem in Security either. Granted, I had TSA Pre-Check, but the TSA Gaurd was polite and respectful, and didn't pore over my documents; nor did she made any audible comments that might have embarrassed me. She was good and professional. I hesitated a second after I was cleared to pass. I returned to ask her if my hip forms (homemade, foam) would be an issue as I passed through the x-ray machine. She understood completely, and reassured me they would be no problem so long as there was no metal in them.
    The rest of the trip was spent sitting at gates. I had a drink and snack in one airport bar. The bartender was OK. Not neglectful but not all over me either. We talked a little about my travel, but not about "it".
    RESTROOMS. Oh yes. My first venture into a public restroom as Ilene. It had to be done, and I decided well ahead of time that I would use the female restrooms. I was pretty certain the sight of a tall woman going into the men's room would set off some kind of unwanted excitement. Now..... I don' t know about you but when I'm in Guy Mode and using public restrooms, I don't go in there to make friends, if you know what I mean. I don't look people in the eye. I don't shake hands or introduce myself. I go about my business, don't shake hands, wash them and depart; barely noticing the other humans there at the watering hole with me. The same kind of atmosphere was present in the women's restroom. I had to stand in line to even get IN to the facility space and into a stall. I did it patiently, and (again) not making a lot of eye contact. No one was giving me the stare down nor inviting me to leave. I wonder if anyone really noticed a thing at all; so in a way I was kind of disappointed. Inside the closed bathroom stall it didn't matter what was happening or what it looked like. I finished, washed and departed with as little fanfare as possible.
    About the only person I engaged at length was a gentleman on my long flight leg to my connection. I strategically selected window seats for my trip thinking I would less of a high-vis target if I was tucked away near the side. We had a delightful conversation during the entire trip. Most of it was about family, where we lived, what we did, etc. He got around to asking about "it"; and what my dressing was all about. I tried to explain it as best I could, and threw in a couple great war stories too. Very nice man; not the ignorant type.
    On my other flight leg, the person next to me was absorbed in a earphoned video player. Not much discussion until we reached the initial approach point for the final destination.
    I could write an entire volume about the specific people, encounters, etc., I enjoyed during the trip. I can think of noting about it that was negative. I
    think it was actually less fatiguing on my legs to travel in heels. If you think of more questions, ask. I'd love to tell you all about it. But if its' a question of gong, I say YES.
    Ilene waiting at Midway airport -FC.jpeg

    Me waiting at the airport gate (selfie)
    There resides within me a Woman, and she is powerful.
    She has been my Grace and Bearing on the stormiest seas.
    I could no more deny Her than I would my own soul.

  6. #6
    Seasoned Member Rhonda Darling's Avatar
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    I agree that you should go for it fully. Get dressed before you check out of your hotel, with all your guy stuff packed away deep in your suitcase. If you ever attach your forms, do it this time. TSA has no right to have you remove them, and if attached there is no easy way for you to chicken out. As Kimberly and Ilene have written, you will most likely have a great experience. Most TSA staff have already seen it all, so smile and keep it friendly and upbeat, even if they want to do a hand frisk.

    If there is to be a commotion, let it be someone else who makes it. I've had good success confiding in the flight crew. If it seems right Ill chat with them near the gally when coming or going to the toilet. If I'm pretty sure they'vr read me already, I'll open a conversation by asking if they think I pass, thank them for gendering me correctly, etc. I want friends in case some rude rube of a passenger decides to get into it with me, however unlikely that may be.

    You do realize most women dress VERY casually when flying, right? If you really want to pass, don't stand out. Dress for passing success!

    Any amenity you want to purchase in flight will need a credit card. If you don't have one in your femme name, get one. American Airlines and Marriott each have an affiliated credit card. Get one in your male name, then request they issue you an additional "companion" card to your female 'friend'. Since it is on your account, they will issue it w/o the need of providing any proof of credit worthiness or identity. If you use it for in flight purchases, it makes your presentation even more convincing. (Be sure to always carry the primary card with your guy name on it -- and same account number -- so that you can prove the card is yours by showing real ID and explaining the whole thing if pressed to explain why you have a card in your "stage name".)

    Don't fall asleep on the flight if you snore. I'ts a big give away.

    Enjoy your travels.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Be all the woman that you can be!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    . . . and now, On With The Show!

  7. #7
    Member StephanieCLT's Avatar
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    Thank you! This is great, and I've searched and followed the links you have provided.

    For those of you who have done this, any specific "do's" or "don'ts"? Anything you wish you'd done/done differently?

  8. #8
    Lady in waiting Peggie Lee's Avatar
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    Hi All, I just got back from a 6 week trip to the U.K. And Europe with my BFF, all told made 7 flights in this time. Started at LAX to Heathrow, London Luton airport to Amsterdam airport, Amsterdam to Edinburgh, Edinburgh back to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Berlin Schonefeld, Berlin Tegel to Heathrow and Heathrow to LAX. I am 6'1" 250 lbs 68 yo Trans and never once were any airport screeners less than professional and swift as I was flagged by ever body scanner I went through. No 2 scanners ever flagged the same area of my body. I was only selected once in Amsterdam for additional checks and they checked for residue bomb and drugs and asked about your reasons for traveling. At the large airports your boarding pass and ID were checked in a different location from the scanners so they go on appearance only for that. They pat down hundreds of people an hour and I always told them I was a post op Trans before the pat down.
    The immigration officer in Amsterdam Said oh I remember you and just smiled and stamped our passports.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Hi Steph: I enjoyed reading about your planned adventure, flying as a girl. I have quite a bit experience fllying in somewhat of a feminine mode. I just retired as a B-737 captain for a major airline. Although I was not dressed as a girl on the outside, I did on nurmerous occasions wear panties, bra and pantyhose under my airline uniform. I would suspect that the passengers would have been surprised had they known that the captain was wearing panties! I did set off an alarm one time, when I was commuting to work in my civilian clothing. I was wearing a bra and it was actually my shoes (this was pre 9-11) that set off the alarm. The lady screener wanded my back and of course, the hooks on the back of my bra were detected. A male screener then patted me down and asked what I was wearing. I mumbled something about a support garment and I was on my way. Anyway, a friend of mine recently had a similar situation with the TSA and she said that they were very polite and professional. As long as your identification matches your boarding pass, you really shouldn't have any problems. We used to layover in Los Cabos, Mexico and the local authourities would make the airline crews open up their bags every time we arrived. The inspection was quite cursory, but I always lived in fear that one of the customs agents would pull out my bra or panties for all to see!

    If I were you, I would check my bag. I don't think that carrying on your laptop should be an issue at all. I hope you have a great flight. Safe travels. Take care.


    Susan

  10. #10
    Junior Member Gaby's Avatar
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    Stephanie,

    I guess you got all the advise you can use. Like you, flying enfemme was kind of a bucket-list item. Did it a few times, kind of gave way to the reality that flying en-femme or not is equally as boring. (Or enjoyable if you are into being stuck in a metal tube squeezed in with other poor souls praying that it will be over soon! Don't get me wrong, had one of those "she really thinks I'm a female" time in my last trip, sitting next to a nice lady making small talk all the way from MSP to Memphis... Show her pics of my kids, she showed me pics of her grandkids, asked me if my husband was picking me up, etc. But really, I wouldn't do it again unless there was a reason why it would be convenient to arrive en-femme to my destination.

    Having said that, enjoy!

    Gaby
    .

  11. #11
    Queen of Chinatown jennifer0918's Avatar
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    This is one on my bucket list, maybe next year ,who knows?I don't do a lot of traveling so I will have to adapt, overcome,and improvise. Surrender is not in my creed.. Happy travels darling .
    Ciao.

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