What I wear on a long-haul flight

Looking out of a plane window onto a snowy landscape.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a lot in my life. Exploring new places both locally and further afield is something I’ve loved doing ever since I was a child and it’s a passion both Adam and I share and plan to continue to pursue through our lives.

The reality of travel though, particularly when you live in Australia, is that you’ll often be sat in an airplane seat for hours, sometimes even days to get to your destination.  When you’ve got a 22+ hour commute on your hands, it’s vital you’re dressed appropriately.  After quite a few long-haul flights (and another in two and a half weeks), I thought I would share my go to combination for lengthy plane trips…

For me, comfort is the absolute most important factor in putting together my outfit for a long-haul flight.  I’ve never had the ability to finance tickets above economy, so if I’m going to be sat for hours on end, in fairly cramped conditions I want to make sure whatever I’m wearing isn’t constricting.

Bottom Half

It’s divisive, but my preferred trouser of choice for flights is a pair of jeans.  I tend to buy slim-fitting styles with a generous amount of stretch and I find I can sit in them hours on end without any trouble. I wear jeans most days for work, so for me they’re something I’m used to wearing for long periods of time. They help make me feel put-together both before take off and after landing and no matter where I’m going. Plus, on the off chance my checked in baggage gets lost, I know I’ve got at least one pair of bottoms that can be worn in a variety of circumstances.

My feet are pretty much always cold, but that goes up a notch on long-haul flights where the air circulating around the cabin is often chilled to the extreme.  As mentioned in my previous packing post I’m a big fan of socks in natural fibres, like merino.  Merino is warm, moisture-wicking and odour resistant, so it’s perfect for long-haul flights where your ability to shower is limited and you might be ‘shoe-less’ for a period of time.  After all, you don’t want to be that person on the plane with smelly socks!

For the last few years my go-to travel shoe has been my leather R.M. Williams boots. They’re insanely comfortable, are added warmth if the plane is super cold, and just like with my jeans, if I got separated from my luggage, they could easily be worn repeatedly for days on end.

Flat lay of cream cardigan, black merino t-shirt, dark denim jeans, RM Williams boots and grey scarf.

Top Half

Again, merino is hero. Adam became obsessed with Kathmandu’s merino t-shirts after moving to Australia, and it’s virtually the only sort of top he wears now.  I’ve picked up a couple of long-sleeve versions for myself over the years and now they’re a firm favourite of mine too. They’re close fitting without being tight or restrictive.  They’re also exceptionally breathable, which is great for long-haul travel, particularly if you’re starting off in say Australia in late spring and landing in England in late Autumn like we are in a few weeks time. I know I won’t get too hot before we leave, that I’ll be warm enough when arrive.

I generally pop a long lightweight wool cardigan in my carry-on baggage too.  It’s an additional cozy and comfortable layer if you get cold on the plane.  It can also be just the thickness you need at a cool-weather end destination when moving between airports and taxis/trains/cars without the bulk or hassle of a big overcoat.

I also like to have a scarf with me.  Again, it’s extra warmth, can double as a pillow and covers any accidental spills you may encounter during periods of turbulence!  I recently purchased a wide infinity scarf (similar here), which I’ve discovered I can also fashion into a capelet of sorts – which I think could be quite handy if I just need another layer over the tops of my shoulders.

I also tend to try and dress in darker colours for long flights, just in case aforementioned spills happen.  There’s nothing worse than having a chic travel outfit sorted, only to have it spoiled by a moment of clumsiness.

Do you have a travel formula/outfit?  I’d love to know what works for you!

Have a wonderful weekend. x




7 thoughts on “What I wear on a long-haul flight

  1. I have enjoyed the recent posts on your experiences with travel clothing heading to Europe late Autum. We have also been blessed to have travel quite a bit and have always travelled in Oct/Nov and use the same philosophy with cloths which can been easily mixed and matched and layered. Next year we are doing a European Spring trip and will be a challenge as we have not really faced Europe heading into their summer.
    For our long haul flights we also do boots, jeans, dark clothing with jackets that take up little space. I take boots which are very comfortable and can easily dress up an outfit and saves on luggage weight if you are wearing them. Jeans are comfortable & I always wear a dark long sleeve linen shirt, they are lightweight yet warm and I can roll up the sleeves if too hot, jacket and scarf for the same reasons as you mentioned. Cheers


    1. Sounds like we have very similar philosophies when it comes to packing for travel Larry! Travelling in cooler weather often means more bulky clothing but you can get away with washing less. A holiday in summer/spring often means lighter clothing options, but you need to wash more frequently- which can be hard if you’re moving around every few days.


  2. Dressing in dark colors is a must. When I see people in white pants… I say a prayer for them.

    When I visited Australia earlier this year I had a winter coat on me, and it was annoying because of the layovers (in warmer countries) and me having to lug it everywhere in between, so on my way back I was “smart”, and packed it in my bag which I would get when I arrive at my destination. “Perfect! I’ll get my bag, put the coat on, and walk out of the airport. Hassle free. The only thing is that I forgot that I had to switch planes in the cold climate and to get to those planes I had to take an airport bus (i.e. I had to get outside). I learned my lesson – Australia is evil! (just kidding).


  3. I’m going to try out Kathmandu’s ‘flight pants’ this time around. They felt super comfy when I tired them on but the flight to Heathrow will put them to the test.


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