Is Changing Into Your Pajamas in an Airport Lounge Prior to Boarding the Airplane Okay?

While flying as a passenger in the business class cabin from London to South America via New York, “What I really feel like doing is having a shower in the Flagship Lounge at JFK, change into my Lufthansa pyjamas (I’d much rather change in a spacious shower room than in an airplane toilet), and walk down to the gate in that and slippers, with a view toward drifting into sleep soon after takeoff”, FlyerTalk member Passmethesickbag posted in this discussion, which is now closed to new content. “But I’ve never seen anybody do that, so even though I’m reaching an age when I don’t really care that much, I’m hesitant about this plan. Thoughts? Too much?”

Is Changing Into Your Pajamas in an Airport Lounge Prior to Boarding the Airplane Okay?

With the implication that passengers should show some decorum while traveling, FlyerTalk member enviroian opined that “It’s an airport departure gate, not your bedroom.” People — such as FlyerTalk member TemboOne — believe that the minimum dress code should be elevated from casual wear to a semblance of professionalism, as was done decades ago: “Gentlemen wore shirts and ties and jackets while ladies actually wore dresses or skirt and jacket suits.”

Other FlyerTalk members generally believe that if Passmethesickbag does not mind being subjected to stares and glares, then go for it — even if they would not do it themselves…

…but passengers are permitted — for the most part, anyway — to board airplanes in sweatsuits, sandals from which feet overflow out of them, yoga pants, T-shirts with vulgar messages, holes in frayed blue jeans, and leggings. Why not board the airplane in pajamas — especially as they cover the entire body, unlike shorts which are too short and halter tops? Is there a different between changing into pajamas aboard the airplane versus prior to boarding?

Does the type of pajamas matter? Does the fact that the airline supplied the pajamas change anything — especially if the duration of the flight is expected to last through the overnight hours?


Scott — who is a reader of The Gateposted in the Comments section of this article pertaining to how you should dress as a passenger aboard an airplane that “Having worked first/ biz class, and economy, I don’t care how you are clad (except for those pajama bottoms and flip flops that young women board the plane, and think its appropriate (but they are young and stupid). I think you wearing jeans and nice shoes, and polo shows class at least to me.”

Although I am a firm advocate of being as comfortable as possible when traveling, I personally would not wear pajamas to board an airplane simply out of preference and for no other reason — but I would not outright criticize someone for changing into pajamas in an airport lounge and then boarding an airplane while wearing them.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “Is Changing Into Your Pajamas in an Airport Lounge Prior to Boarding the Airplane Okay?”

  1. Donald Osborne says:

    I’ve not done that before but it sure beats trying to do it in the bathroom toilet. If you don’t do immediately upon boarding, the floor gets wet and it’s not clear what the liquid is. I generally just get under my blanket and change in my seat when the lights go down. However, as long as you don’t mind getting some stares in the terminal, the lounge beats a wet toilet floor any day.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That scenario is definitely an incentive to change into pajamas in the airport lounge versus aboard the airplane, Donald Osborne.

      Just thinking about it is disgusting.

      Changing into pajamas in a lavatory which is not clean may be the lowest common denominator of the experience…

  2. Kory says:

    Lighten up all you old baby boomers and Gen X’ers. People can proudly wear whatever they want on the plane.

  3. Dom says:

    No, especially not if one is traveling for one’s employer.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Good point, Dom.

  4. SammyB says:

    I say not OK. I think we are at a point in time where we should be raising the standard for premium cabinet attire, not lowering it. I have even had questions in my own mind about wearing dark or “dressy” jeans in domestic F. I don’t think that boarding in pajamas should be encouraged, and as customers, we should rather insist that restrooms be kept clean enough to change in or that a small flip down “deck” be provided (I think LH has this?).

  5. Hal says:

    I was on an AA flight from DFW to PEK in business and changed into my Korean Air F pajamas after boarding. After 45 our plane went out of service so I had to leave the plane in my pajamas. I immediately changed back to my clothes as soon as I got to the AC. I’m not walking around the terminal in pajamas.

  6. DaninMCI says:

    I wouldn’t change until in the air. What happens if you have to evacuate the plane on take off? Run off barefoot or hold everyone up in your slippers or other poor footwear choices. Just a pet peeve of mine. What happens if the plane goes mechanical and your are forced to wait in the terminal? Why not just wear your PJs everywhere, store, restaurant, church, etc.?

  7. Mooks says:

    DaninMCI – One does not go to the store, a restaurant, or church (well maybe church) with the express purpose of sleeping but that is exactly why most people on an overnight flight in a premium cabin have paid for that premium cabin.

    I typically don’t wear pajamas per se but rather dress like I am going to the gym. Sweats or gym shorts and a tshirt with socks and running shoes which I can then take off once I want to get comfy. They are not my actual smelly clothes. My wife typically wears yoga pants and a tshirt.

    I do this for pretty much any trip where I am going to want to sleep on the plane and haven’t flown in a non premium cabin in at least 10 years and have never once had it be an issue. Seriously as long as someone is covered up and clean I can’t understand why anyone else would care what they are wearing.

  8. Evan says:

    I probably would not wear PJs at the gate but then I’ve always considered what I wear. I care about how I look. I don’t think it’s inherently wrong to wear lounging/sleep attire before getting on a plane. I don’t see why smart casual shorts are seen as inappropriate (but I do read that all the time on US travel blogs). The base line for me is – are you clean? are you decently covered (I include smartish shorts and exclude inappropriate slogans or language on t-shirts). Whether or not leggings are appropriate I think is an example of what is culturally acceptable; I think they are in Europe I would imagine elsewhere they might not be.

  9. David Hall says:

    Depends on your culture. I live in S.E. Asia and fly on a regular basis. Back the US I often wore business casual simply because that was the seemingly social norm of the culture in which I was immersed. After many years in S.E. Asia I have adopted the culture here. Now I fly wearing by favorite silk beach shirts that I purchased in Kota Kinabalu, cargo shorts and my trusty Merrill sandals. I am free and lovin’ it.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Is Kramer your favorite character on Seinfeld, David Hall?

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