After 4 long-haul flights, I've vowed to never wear leggings on a plane again. Flowy pants are now my go-to travel fit.

Insider's travel reporter swears there's only one type of pant to wear on a plane. It's not jeans or leggings. It's flowy pants.
Insider's travel reporter swears there's only one type of pant to wear on a plane, and it's not jeans or leggings.Monica Humphries/Insider
  • This year, I reevaluated my go-to travel outfit, which was a pair of leggings.

  • After numerous long-haul flights, I realized leggings were too constricting.

  • Now, you'll never catch me in leggings on flights. I only wear breathable, flowy pants.

When it comes to flying, jeans are an absolute no for me, I wouldn't consider wearing shorts, and even leggings aren't my go-to clothing choice when I'm on a plane.

Instead, you'll only find me in a pair of flowy pants for a long-haul flight.

On long-haul flights, comfort is key

I'm not new to long-haul flights. Last year, I flew 13 hours to and from Auckland, New Zealand. This year, I boarded another four long-haul flights.

If I've learned anything from these eight-plus-hour flights, it's that I'll do almost anything for a bit of comfort.

Packing multiple pairs of headphones is worth the luggage space so my ears don't ache as I watch movies, listen to podcasts, and jam to playlists for hours on end. I always double-check that I packed an accessible toothbrush in my carry-on so I can avoid wine stains from complimentary glasses of wine. And there's always room for my water bottle since staying hydrated helps me fight jet lag.

This year, though, I realized I needed to reevaluate my plane attire to maximize comfort.

Prior to 2023, I mainly wore leggings on flights. I thought the athletic fabric was more comfortable than a pair of jeans, and leggings offered me a layer of warmth if the flight was cold.

But late last year, I disembarked a four-hour flight fed up with leggings. I had deep indentations from where the seams had been, my stomach was cramping after being constricted for hours, and my legs felt suffocated by the black stretchy fabric.

I decided to retire my go-to plane fit and opt for something new.

As I searched my closet for other options, I spotted flowy shorts. I considered where I landed on the shorts on a plane debate. For years, people have discussed whether shorts are acceptable on flights, and while I knew they would be more comfortable than leggings, they wouldn't offer warmth. Plus, shorts meant that my legs would come in contact with all of the plane's surfaces. The germaphobe in me ruled them out.

Then I spotted a pair of pajama pants. The cotton pants were what I dreamed of wearing on a plane — they'd be comfortable and provide warmth. But as tempting as they were, I'm not about to board a plane in a pair of PJs.

I continued scouring my closet, and I realized I had a few pairs of loose pants that were practically pajamas. After a successful flight in a pair of forest-green pants from Amour Vert, they became my new wardrobe staple.

Flowy pants also allow for travelers to pull them up if a plane gets hot.
Flowy pants also allow for travelers to pull them up if a plane gets hot.Monica Humphries/Insider

Flowy pants fit all my plane needs

Earlier this year, I sat in a window seat waiting for my aircraft to take off. I had a 12-hour flight ahead of me, and as I waited for everyone to pile into the plane, the cabin was hot. Really hot.

The AC hadn't turned on yet, and before my forehead could start glistening, I took off my sweatshirt. Still hot, I was thrilled I had a pair of flowy pants on. I could hike up the pants to my thighs and let my legs breathe.

Thankfully, my body was able to cool off. Later, when the AC was full blast, I pulled them back down for warmth.

Beyond the pants' ability to adapt to temperatures, a stretchable waistband means my torso has never felt constricted.

After four long-haul flights in flowy pants, I have zero complaints about my new travel fit. And I have no plans of swapping my pants for jeans, shorts, or leggings anytime soon.

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