As the plane was taxiing upon arrival at Jeddah airport, I looked around me, curiously. When would I need to put the abaya on? Would there be an alert, next to the “non-smoking” and “buckle up” ones? Wait for the “abaya on” sign to flash before proceeding to cover up.
That would be helpful.
My signal was actually the woman across the aisle from me. Within seconds of the plane stopping, she, almost out of habit, pulled our her abaya and covered up her white t-shirt and tight jeans in a black drape. As I pulled my own abaya, or my sister’s to be exact, a man sitting behind me watched me. “I wasn’t sure if you would wear a abaya” he said, in a tone that was a cross between humor and sarcasm. I wondered why he thought otherwise, but simply explained “It’s my first time here.”
And that was that.
It’s interesting wearing a abaya. It feels like a robe you’d wear at home over your PJs, but it is black and long. I’ve found myself almost tripping a few times in it. And it’s less comfy though so much time is saved in getting ready in the morning. All you need to worry about is your makeup, your hair (if you don’t cover that too) and accessories. You could walk in your underwear under the abaya and no one would know!