What to Wear on a Plane: The Best Outfits for Traveling

Traveling can be nerve racking, or even cause anxiety. Probably the last thing that is on our mind is what to wear on a plane. I’ve been on hundreds of flights around the world and can assure you I have mastered the art of how to dress on an airplane.

how to dress on an airplane
What to wear on an airplane

At the end of the 1950s airplane travel had become quite common, and people were often dressing in their “Sunday’s best” for a plane ride. 70 years later, things have changed and what people are wearing today on a plane is much more casual. 

how to travel in style
How to Travel in Style © Travel Cass Bird for Vogue

As someone who travels 2 weeks out of the month, I feel confident in advising you on what to wear on a plane. Some days I often feel like I live at the airport since I’m always there. I’ve broken this article into 6 short sections: What to wear on a short flight, what to wear on an international flight, what to wear if you are traveling business class or first class, what to wear on a plane if you are traveling for work, accessories to wear on a plane, and finishing the article up with things most people forget to pack.   

white t shirt v neck

What to Wear on a Short Flight

Short flights are probably my favorite type of flight. On a shorter flight, I highly recommend wearing what you planned to wear for that day. Since the flight is so quick, sometimes I spend more time at the airport than actually up in the air. 

As a general tip, I always pack an extra layer just in case I get cold, such as a hoodie or jacket. Plus you can never go wrong with a basic white shirt. 

sleeping mask for flight
Face masks are necessary for a flight

What to Wear on an International Flight

What to wear on an international flight is probably my most popular question when it comes to what to wear on a plane. Over the years, I’ve traveled more international flights than I can count. 

One of the most important things on an international flight is that you want to be comfortable, for me that is leggings that aren't’ super tight on the waist and a long sleeve shirt with a jacket I can easily take off. I recommend these sweatpants / leggings and this type of jacket. I tend to prefer a jacket with a hood so I can lean against the window with my hood up and a pillow. 

A high quality Sleeping mask is important. Your neighbor on the flight might keep their reading light on, or even the plane might not dim the lights so it’s important you have a sleeping mask available. 

Tennis shoes that you can easily slip on and off are important. Avoid wearing any sort of heels or even flip flops. I say this because just in case there is an emergency on the plane, you will want to ensure you have the most durable and best shoes on.

What to Wear on a Plane if you're traveling in Business class or First class

business class travel
Business Class © Travel Cass Bird for Vogue

If you are one of the lucky few who travel business class or even first class, then let me be the first to say I’m jealous. I’ve only flown business class a handful of times, and on the long international flights it’s been amazing (Shout out to British Airways!) 

For all intent purposes, I think the way you dress in a business class or first class seat should be the same. Here you will definitely see more experienced travels or business travels in this section. These travelers are much more likely to be in more formal attire. But it begs the question, what should you wear on a plane if you are traveling business or first class? 

If it's an overnight flight, then I definitely recommend you at least pack a pair of comfortable clothes to sleep in. What is really great about business class flights is that the bathroom is actually more spacious, allowing you time to change and get ready for “bed.” If you are flying during the day, then it depends, for me, I would wear comfortable jeans and a casual but nice top.

With that being said, what’s nice about some first class airlines is that they provide you with a pair of pajamas to wear on the entire flight. However, typically in business class you are just given a pair of extremely comfortable socks (which are also great in my opinion). 

What to Wear on a Plane if you are Traveling for Work

relaxing on an airplane
© Travel Cass Bird for Vogue

For the last 5 years, I have traveled for work on average 2 times a month. Over the course of the year, that is 24 times. 24 times in an airplane, or traveling by plane. 24 times over the last 5 years is 120 for work alone. One of the trickiest questions is what to wear on a plane if you are traveling for work. Is it business attire, something casual, or something in between? 

For me it comes down to the distance of the flight and what I have scheduled when I land. If it’s a longer flight, then I tend to dress casual, and when I arrive at the airport quickly change in the airport bathroom into more business attire. For this, you need to pack strategically and make sure that you have 1 business attire outfit in your carry on. For my carry on is typically I do a computer bag (or backpack) and then a roller bag (more space).

If it is a shorter flight, I tend to wear a t-shirt and then business pants and shoes. The reason for this is sometimes, I can be quite clumsy or you can hit unexpected turbulence and spill on your shirt, or I’ve even been on a flight where the Air Conditioning barely works making the flight unbearable and extremely warm thus causing me to sweat. Once again, when I arrive at the airport, I quickly change my top and head to my work meeting.     

If you are concerned you won’t have time to change upon arrival and have to run into a meeting immediately, then I definitely recommend you wear business attire throughout the entire flight. 

what to wear on a plane

Accessories to wear or pack on a plane

What accessories to wear on the plane? This is probably my favorite topic, because this is what I’ve mastered from traveling the world. I can not travel without my Bose noise cancellation headphones, do they cancel a screaming baby next to me? No they don’t, they reduce the sound but it’s not completely cancelled. What they do cancel, however, is the constant sound the airplane makes, which is very loud. These headphones are an absolute game changer.

Finally, the last thing I recommend people pack in your carry on, or an accessory, is a toothbrush and toothpaste. I cannot tell you how many times on an international flight or just a short flight after I run to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

Forgetting to pack something is probably my least favorite thing. Here are some common things people forget to pack. Spare contacts (in case you lose one) / glasses, chargers, converters for the international travels, and toothbrush covers. I’ve also written a very popular article on tips and tricks when it comes to navigating the airplane and airport. 

How to protect yourself from the Coronavirus on a plane

UPDATE!! As of August 2022, you no longer need to wear a mask on the airplane. With that being said, I still highly recommend that you bring hand sanitizer, and wipe down your seat before a flight!

With the outbreak of the CoronaVirus, I decided to add this section to this article. Please let me know if you want an entire article on this subject.

If you are traveling on a flight or even an international flight you may be worried about the coronavirus. I’ve done some research and included a few ways you can protect yourself before a long or even short flight. Make sure you wash your hands as soon as you get on the plane, after the restroom, before meals, and after you sneeze. On the plane pack disinfectant wipes and wipe down your entire area, seat, folding table, window, everything!

Another tip I read about is try to avoid sitting next to someone on the flight, I know this isn’t as easy as it sounds, but wait until the fight is boarded then move seats, or ask before you board your flight. Finally, drink water to stay hydrated instead of alcohol, which will lower your immune system.

Recap on what to wear on a plane

In conclusion, it’s important to remember to dress comfortably and have a good pair of shoes on during the flight. Safe travels everyone! 

Sincerely Petite in Paris,


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  1. margie sanders flower says:

    thank you so much for all that information and you look wonderful!

  2. Thank you for this great info!!!