What to wear on a long haul flight
Travel Lifestyle,  Travel Tips

What To Wear On A Long Haul Flight – For A Comfortable Journey!

I love people watching at airports, not only do you see some of the best of humanity at the departure and arrival gates (think Love Actually), but it’s also great fun seeing how differently people dress to travel. There are the business suits, the ladies in super fashionable, super impractical outfits – complete with six-inch heels, the surfer dudes who look like they’ve just walked off the beach, and I’ve even seen one person walking around Heathrow in their pyjamas! I, however, travel with comfort in mind, especially when I’m flying long-distance. So I thought I’d share my personal recommendations for what to wear on a long-haul flight if you want to be comfortable and cosy…


It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re travelling, I recommend taking a scarf. Depending on where you’re seated on the plane you might find yourself blasted by aircon – refreshing for the first 10 minutes when you’ve been somewhere tropical, but a couple of hours into a long-haul flight you’ll have a chill in your bones.

They’re also multipurpose – you can squish them up to use as a nice pillow if you want to have a snooze, or even use them as an eye mask if you need to block out some light and noise to help you get some rest.

I love H&M for scarves – they do a lovely basic black one that is perfect to keep a draught off your neck, but for those who, like me, live in a perpetually semi-frozen state, you cannot beat their large thick scarves. They’re super soft and warm and I wouldn’t be without mine in winter.


T-shirts, cardis and jumpers

For longhaul travel comfort, the answer lies in layers. You want to be prepared for the climate at your final destination, but need to potentially deal with a cold starting base and heavy aircon in the airport and onboard your plane.

My answer is to layer up – I start with a vest top (H&M Basics are great for these), followed by a really thin light t-shirt for when I arrive (usually SE Asia you see), then I finish off with an oversized hoodie to snuggle up in.

I have a go to jumper for my flights, as I adore my Superdry hoodie. I bought a men’s medium, so it’s oversized and super comfy and is one of the warmest tops I own. I might not look my most stylish, but I’m comfortable, cosy and when you’re stuck in a chilly flying tin can for 10+ hours, that’s all that’s on my mind!

Jogging bottoms or yoga pants

I’ll admit that when I’m travelling in comfort I don’t look particularly glamorous, but damn, I look a lot happier than that women in the row in-front of me with super tight trousers, pointy shoes and a pretty little tank top!

Depending on how much you feel the cold, in my opinion, the most comfortable options for bottoms are thick joggers or cotton yoga pants. Again I usually go with loose fitting men’s joggers – don’t get legs with elasticated cuffs as they’re not good for circulation – from Superdry but I also love my H&M loose fitting yoga pants. They’re light and loose fitting, perfect for comfortable travelling!

Compression tights

Yup, sorry but I’m gonna be practical and health conscious now! As someone who’s had a blood clot (something I wouldn’t wish on anyone) I never fly without compression tights. You might have have picked up ‘flight socks’ from the airport, but these don’t do half as good a job as tights, plus they’re a might more uncomfortable.

Compression tights will support your entire lower body, helping your blood flow, which in turn will lower your risk of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and also stop your legs from swelling. Seriously, they make a massive difference to how your legs feel after a long flight so they’re something I recommend to everyone!

Most compression tights are thick, unflattering affairs, but there are a growing number of companies offering more stylish modern compression tights that look like ‘normal’ tights! Schol Light Legs is one of the latest I’ve come across, and also probably the best priced at between £10-20. However, if you’re looking for ones recommended by the medical profession, then the best I’ve found are Sigvaris Diaphane Compression Tights. They’re a lot more money (between £50-75 a pair) but they provide medically approved levels of compression. If you have legs problems of any kind, these are what I recommend (and always wear) but if you’re young, fit and healthy, a lower level of compression should do you fine.

If you’d like more advice about keeping down your risk of getting a blood clot when you fly, you might want to also read my post Air Travel Tips From A Blood Clot Survivor. 


What you want when you travel are loose fitting, lightweight shoes. Feet swell when you fly long haul, so you want to make sure you’ve got room to wiggle your toes and not find your shoes too constrictive.

When I went to Cambodia I discovered my ultimate travel shoes – Nike Tanjun Trainers that are so light that they feel like I’m walking on air. They’re now my go to shoes for flying, so basically find yourself shoes that are loose and super comfortable and you’ll be good to go!

And finally…Fluffy socks!

Yep, I’m a total fashion icon when I’m flying longhaul! Comfort comes first though, and once I’m getting ready to settle down for a movie, read or a snooze, I slip off my trainers and put on a pair of cosy warm socks like these bad boys. Bring the comfort of home with you when you fly, that’s what I say!

What are your recommendations?

So there you have it – that’s how I do comfort when I fly. What about you? I’d love to know if you have your own go-to items for long-haul travel, if you wear similar things to me or put more of an effort into dressing up when you fly! Share your thoughts with me via the comments below!

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Extraordinary Chaos


Oregon Girl Around the World

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)


  • Ania

    These are great tips – I never think of taking a scarf unless it’s already cold weather, so I’ll try to remember that one.

    Personally I usually travel in jeans so it’s one less thing to pack (I never go anywhere without jeans) but know that some people find them uncomfortable, especially skinny jeans! The other thing that can be a good idea is to wear shoes that easily slip on and off, like Toms, in case they have to be taken off at airport security – something else I need to invest in!

    • Keri

      Yeah , I wear jeans a lot of the time, but never when I fly weirdly.

      Toms are super comfy – I wear them all the time when Im actually away, but I find my feet swell too much to wear them on the plane! 🙁

  • Alex - My Life Long Holiday

    I can never bring myself to dress casual for a flight, it’s like I’m so excited for the trip I just have to wear my sunday best! Haha. I love the scarf recommendation though – that’s one I always forget about but could really do with as I’m never warm on a flight, plus the fluffy socks too – good ideas! #mondayescapes

  • Bryna | Dotted Line Travels

    I also dress for comfort on long haul flights. My go to for pants are workout leggings since they’re so stretchy. Also, although it’s not technically something to wear, I can’t go without my neck pillow on long haul flights. I pretty much wear it all flight long and it makes so much difference in terms of comfort!

  • Maggie

    You and I must be kindred travel spirits, as I usually wear the exact same things! The scarf works too as a blanket for my little girl. I usually wear my slip on Toms on airplanes, but I love the idea of the shoes you mention. they look very comfortable and stylish as well

  • Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe

    I’m with you, dress for comfort on a long flight and a scarf so useful. The only other thing I’d add for a long flight would be a neck pillow. I will try your recommendation for the compression tights too, sounds way more comfortable than the socks.

    • Keri

      They’re still not the most comfy thing in the world, but way better than the socks! Also, your legs will feel so much better for wearing them once you’ve landed and they’re off! 😉

  • Amanda

    I’ve totally converted to a long cardigan and leggings for a long haul flight. It’s not worth the discomfort of wearing jeans! #FarawayFiles

    • Keri

      Ooh I like your thinking. I’ve treated myself to this amazing chunky cardi from Fat Face. Might have to try that out on my next flight…

  • Nicola

    Comfort is king! Lululemon have a new range of yoga pants that I’m obsessed with, I actually now can’t wear anything else they are so comfortable!

  • Sally

    The compromise between style and comfort is always a tricky one. I never get it right. Hardly ever wear tights in public because I’m nervous about my thighs. But have now found winter and summer versions of black stretch trousers that are not quite tights, that I use for flying. Black goes with everything. A scarf is a good idea – I’m always cold as well. Havn’t tried compression tights a go, it would be good to arrive and not have swollen ankles, plus the added bonus of no clots! Thanks for the post and the discussion 🙂

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)

    Great tips here. I’m like Alex, I want to look a bit glamorous when I travel but being comfortable is really important too. I always take a pashmina and use it to curl up in or as a pillow, like you say, and comfy socks are a must. I’ll often wear boots with a heel at the airport then take them off as soon as I’m on the plane. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Sarah Christie

    A scarf is so useful isn’t it? I always travel with wraps and scarfs as you never know when you need one! And also always have a pair of fluffy socks in my case ha ha thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes x

  • Corey | fifi +hop

    I’m with you on many of these tips as I hate to be cold!! I always pack a scarf too. Something I’ve been in the habit of doing is wearing slip on/off shoes since all the airports in NY make you take them off. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  • Kathleen

    I hate wearing a constricting bra on a long flight! Instead, I wear a comfortable stretchy camisole with some support. It also adds an extra layer of warmth.I also bring along comfy slippers that look like ballet flats, but are soft and easily fold to put in your carry on. You don’t want to step in anything wet in the bathroom!Always bring noise canceling headphones or ear plugs.

  • Erica Baker

    I love reading the travel blogs, such useful information. I’m a ‘grey’ solo female traveller and have tried various garments for long haul flights. I’m with you regarding a scarf or pashmina, an absolute must. Nowadays, I wear leggings, a Rohan tunic dress, a hoodie, flight socks and Birkenstocks (I know the sandals & socks are not a great look!!). As mentioned by Kathleen, you cant pad to the bathroom in socks, particularly on long hauls when the toilets get worse as the flight gets longer! Birkenstocks are really easy to slip on and off. Just before I land I whip my flight socks off. I also use a neck pillow & noise cancelling headphones.

  • Keri

    I see your thinking re the slip-ons, those long-haul toilets are never nice! And totally agree with the noise cancelling headphones they’re always in my carry on!

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