It's not always easy to feel comfortable on a long flight, but it definitely helps if you're wearing reasonably comfortable clothes. These are my top 10 tips for how to dress yourself and your kids when traveling by plane:
1. Stretchy is better than tight - Tight pants that pinch into your waist are not so good for flying in. Something with a bit of stretch that gives you room to breathe is much nicer. For the kids this usually means sweatpants or leggings, for me it usually means either my comfiest jeans (the ones with a bit of spandex), or a pair of yoga pants. For women: wear a very comfy bra. Chafing straps or irritating clasps can get really annoying on a long flight.
2. Dark is better than light - I definitely prefer to wear black or darker colors on board, and I try to dress my kids the same. Planes are dirty and white clothes are just asking for it. If you're a parent flying with your kids, you'll probably be spending more time than you really like in the airplane washroom which puts you at greater risk for stains. Also, if your kid spill anything, chances are they'll share it with you.
3. Less metal is better - Going through the metal detector at security can be a real drag if you're wearing big metal belt buckles or lots of chunky, metal jewellery. Wear minimal jewellery or none at all, and if you want to wear a belt, try to find one with little or no metal in it.
4. Layers are great - The temperature on board a plane can vary quite unpredictably from too warm to chilly during a flight. Best way to deal with this is to wear layers: a t-shirt (short or long-sleeved) under a cardigan or zippered sweater works great for both me and the kids.
5. Comfy shoes rule - My feet tend to feel like they grow about one size on a flight, so comfy shoes are a must. I don't wear high-heeled shoes ever, really, so it's definitely flats on board (they're better for hiking through airports as well!). Slip-on shoes are really the best option, for kids and adults. Also,
6. Keep your socks on - I usually remove my shoes on long flights just because it's more comfortable when you're sitting down for a long time, but even though I'm a huge fan of bare feet, I prefer socks-on during a flight. (A pair of slippers is an alternative.) It's just nicer for the other passengers I figure, to not have to deal with my feet and toes. Also: I don't really want to walk barefoot into an airplane washroom. I tell my kids to keep their socks on too, for this reason. They don't always have time to put their shoes on before they "need to go".
7. Sleeves are better than no-sleeves - This is one of my own on-board dress-etiquette preferences. I don't really get upset or anything if I see people wearing tank-tops or other sleeveless tops on board, but it just seems to me that on a long flight, in cramped quarters, it's just nicer if you cover your armpits.
8. Dress babies comfortably too - When my children were infants, I usually dressed them in sleepers for our flights. Since they spend most of their time on board either laying down or being held, it just seemed like the most comfortable option. Pick something that won't ride up or chafe them: and something that makes it reasonably easy to change their diapers in cramped quarters!
9. Check your outerwear - I usually put our jackets and any other outerwear like hats, gloves and scarves, into our checked luggage. It's just a lot easier to not have to carry those items with you through the airport or on the plane. They're usually not needed until you get to your destination anyway, and if you bring them, they're just too easy to lose along the way.
10. Bring a change of clothes - I always bring a full change of clothes for each of my kids (including socks), and usually a clean shirt for myself. That change of clothes can come in handy if there are any spills or other accidents, or if you have to deal with delayed (or lost) luggage once you arrive at your destination. Bring a plastic bag for any soiled items too.