Dressing up for the longhaul flights

Ajay and I are just about to kick off our next trip. As we are preparing for an upcoming 9.30 hours flight, the one question that always comes up on our long-haul trips is what are we going to wear on the plane.

a group of luggage on a floor

Now, we mostly fly premium cabins on our longhaul sectors. Which means that we usually get the choice to change into sleeper suits once on board. While Ajay almost always changes his clothes once on board for me it mostly depends on my mood.

I like to get into smart casuals which is usually a pair of jeans with a top/sweat shirt or it’s a breathable linen dress when I’m sure I’ll change into those comfortable pyjamas on board.

a woman sitting in a chair in a plane

While I’m happy snuggling into a sweatshirt, I haven’t been able to adapt yet to the idea of travelling in my sweat pants. And even if I did come around to wearing sweatpants the one kind which is total no no for me are th  bottoms with something written across the butt (I am looking at you, Juicy Couture!)  Yes, I know those are big time in fashion and I’ve seen ladies in those bottoms seated in front and in the back of the plane but for me I really wouldn’t be comfortable with the unnecessary attention and people staring at my rear.

As for Ajay, smart casual is his style too. While in our early travel days he would always wear a pair of blue jeans with a full sleeve buttoned up shirt and a casual jacket, he’s lately taken a liking towards travelling in crease free, soft Suprima cotton and breathable full sleeve t-shirts.

a man and woman sitting at a table

As for foot wear, we both like to slip into comfortable shoes that make it easy for us to walk long distances and breeze through airport security checkpoints. I’m quite the non-heel types and will usually pair closed slip-on sandals when wearing a dress and I’m good to travel.

Now I’ve read articles where they say dressing up formally for a flight may increase your chances of an upgrade on oversold flights. As someone who has had firsthand experience of how upgrades operate at the airport, I can confirm that while an airline will not deny you your entitled class of travel if you choose to wear shorts and flip flops, when considering upgrades at the airport one of things we always considered was a passengers dressing style. And there have been instances when flyers dressed inappropritely would be promptly marked ‘NSFU – Not Suitable for Upgrade’ by the check-in agents at the counters.

At the other end, I’ve also witnessed passengers wear pretty much whatever they want by virtue of paying top dollar for their business class ticket.

I do believe that there is a difference between looking sloppy and being comfortable. As for me the balance lies between looking confident, being comfortable in whatever I choose to wear on that plane.

Which brings me to ask, what is your preferred dressing style for your flights?


  1. Suit and tie, always, even in Coach. Not because of potential upgrades but because I want to.

    But I do bring a pair of pajama pants and change.

    • No offense, but I don’t think this makes any sense.

      Why wear a suit and tie if you’re basically admitting that you’re uncomfortable in it and change out of it after boarding? Why not wear something you’re comfortable in.

  2. I usually wear nice slacks or jeans with a polo shirt and dress jacket. I bring a long sleeve pullover and pair of dark causal cotton work out pants. I usually change after the meal service.

    I’ve had a few trans-oceanic “op-ups” and I agree, having dressed the part was likely a factor.

  3. Flying Long in premium class should not make you get anxious about UPGRADES.I prefer comfort with ICEBREAKER hoodie as its nearly always gets cold and it packs light and ACETRYX trousers with Zips in all 6 pockets which prevents you from loosing ANYTHING.

  4. Where r you guys headed to? For me linen /cotton trousers and linen half shirts work the best, usually take the day flight from Delhi to London 9W so that works the best in Premiere. Safe travels!

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