My five favorite airline pajamas

Reader Drew sent me an email asking about first class pajamas, and I figured it was an interesting topic for a post. As is often pointed out I’m no food or wine aficionado, though I do consider myself to be an expert on airline pajamas (and sweaters!). Not only do they make up 90% of my wardrobe, but they’re also my official, self-imposed work uniform. I’ve even been known to make a trip to the supermarket or local Starbucks in my pajamas, much to the pure horror of everyone else (you would think I would’ve learned my lesson in Singapore).

So with that in mind I figured I’d share some of my favorite airline pajamas. To start, here are a few of the things I look for in airline pajamas:

  • I like them to be light and soft, since most foreign carriers keep their cabins far too warm for my liking. Nothing’s worse than having a hot cabin and heavy pajamas. It’s like putting tin foil on something in the oven.
  • I like them to be long lasting even after several washes. This is probably the toughest thing to find in airline pajamas. I find that for the most after their first wash they might as well be tie-dye cheerleading outfits.
  • That they have cool logos on them. I’m an airline nerd, and the more airline logos or indicators of first class they have on them, the better. 😉

With that in mind, here are my five favorite airline for their first class pajamas, in no particular order:

1. British Airways. Their pajamas are light, they’re a single color, and they have both the British Airways logo and “First” written on them. However, I highly recommend not throwing these in the dryer, as they shrink like crazy.

2. American Airlines. This might surprise some people, but American’s pajamas are the lightest of any airline I know, and they haven’t shrunk even after dozens of washes. They’re about the only pajamas I have that I can stick in the dryer as often as I’d like without issue, and for that they deserve a spot on this list.

3. Lufthansa. Lufthansa’s pajamas are van Laack branded, and vary by route/month. They also package the tops and bottoms separately, so the variety of pajamas is nearly endless. I also appreciate the fact that their bottoms are often made of an extremely thin material, which is especially good given how warm Lufthansa tends to keep their cabins.

4. Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific’s pajamas are Shanghai Tang branded, and simply awesome. They also change their designs fairly frequently, so I have all kinds of them sitting around in my closet. That being said I probably look a bit silly wearing them, though I have no shame!

5. Swiss. Just like Lufthansa, Swiss’ pajamas are van Laack branded, so the quality is excellent as well. They have the added bonus of having “Swiss First” written by the chest area. After all, you wouldn’t want to walk through business class without showing off to everyone where you’re seated. 😉

Anyway, those are my five favorites. Surprisingly enough a lot of my favorite airlines actually have pretty underwhelming pajamas. Singapore Airlines has Givenchy branded pajamas, though they’re extremely rough and too heavy for my liking. Thai’s are often baby blue, and make me look like a baby teacup monkey. Emirates’ are just plain boring.

What are your favorite airline pajamas?

And yes, I fully admit this is quite possibly the most #firstworldtopic I’ve ever written about…

Filed Under: Advice
  1. Great post! One of the main reason I’m aiming for those aspirational First Class awards is the PJs 🙂 I know in several of your posts you indicated that many of the Asian carriers PJs “run small.” Is the general rule of thumb to “go up a size” to account for shrinkage, etc?

  2. How do you find the sizes to run, generally? I hear that most airlines run a bit small on size, so that a size L is more similar to a size S or M in the US.

  3. Do you know if Cathay Pacific provides pj’s for their Vancouver-JFK flight in business? Will be doing that in July and I hope the pjs are not a perk of first only!

  4. @ LincolnPark — There are a few exceptions, but yes, generally I always go a size up, as they shrink like crazy. Enjoy the PJs!

  5. @ Mike — On good airlines they’ll hang them for you. As a matter of fact they’ll usually be standing outside the lav while you change waiting with a hanger. On US airlines I usually just toss it in the overhead bin.

  6. @ Brandon Hamada — It varies by airline though generally they run small. On some airlines they run a little bit small, while on other airlines (Asiana comes to mind) they run REALLY small. So always go up a size.

  7. @ Joey — You’re absolutely right, fixed. Whoops!

    @ Mariana — They provide them on the route, though only in first class.

    @ Jarred — I did, though not quite as much as the five above.

  8. I just received some on an ANA NRT-ORD flight. They were the same quality of pajamas offered by Japanese hotels meaning they were of a very heavy cotton with large buttons. Excellent for cold nights. Living in Singapore, these are in storage. I should also note that they came with an extra sweater and it was not labeled as wool so it surprised me when an adult large became a child 7 after its first wash.

  9. I loved #1 but put them in the dryer 🙁

    I loved #2 even more than #1, regardless of dryer problems. I was wearing them until an hour ago! (TMI?)

    I also love JAL pj’s, because the pants are like yoga pants and the top is zip-up, which can be handy. Maybe JAL I like more for hanging out around the house rather than for sleeping in.

  10. I think I must have gotten a really screwed up pair of CX pajamas since everyone seems to like them. The seams on the pant legs are crooked and even the front buttons on the top run almost diagonally across the chest and stomach, like it wasn’t stitched straight. Or maybe they’re supposed to be that way?

  11. The ANA PJ’s are very nice in F, you are allowed to keep them nowadays. Heavy cotton as stated by SINJim and nice embroidered button holes. My pet peeve about PJ’s is when they do not have pockets and LH and BA F PJ’s don’t. I received a new set of TG PJ’s recently and they are great. Better material, pockets, nice grey color and pockets (top is very comfy with a zipper on the front and Royal First embroidered on the chest)

  12. Virgin PJ’s are great an simple. often wear the top around town, the bottoms hv that string @ the bottom so they’re adjustable, then there’s also qantas F & they deserve mention, being the only airline to give out pj’s in biz. and they have a great kanguru logo on the chest, designed by bill morrisey.

  13. I’ve had three trip reports this year where flights that didn’t provide pajamas have me changing into my AA ones (AA business MIA-GRU, KE F KUL-ICN, AF business IAD-CDG). They are probably my most functional/useful airline pajamas, if not the ‘coolest’.

    The CX pajamas are great as well.

  14. I like #1 too (BA). I have a pair of them and I love wearing them even to this day. They only had L for my flight and it was way too big for me. I put it in the dryer a couple of times and now it’s a perfect fit!

  15. I found CX’s women’s PJs to actually run big in the top and bottom (although the bottoms were a bit short). On my recent flight the stewardess gave me both a medium and small to keep but it was the small that fit best (and I’m normally a medium). I love my LH F tops but think the bottoms are a bit rough and feel like unwashed new scrubs.

  16. @ Lantean — Hmmm, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and several Chinese airlines come to mind immediately. I’m sure there are others though.

  17. My BA pyjamas shrunk in the dryer, so I rewashed them, stretched them out and air dried them. Fine now, but I know not to put them in the dryer again. I have several pairs of the AA pajamas which get softer with every wash. I even had one pair tailored into a T-shirt and shorts to be more comfortable in our Florida climate:

  18. Pajama tops but no pants? Sounds like LH expects everyone to be Donald Ducin’ it in the daytime.

    Singapore’s PJ’s were more like a sweatsuit – literally and figuratively.

  19. Lucky, forget about wearing them to Starbucks! You’ve got to start wearing them in hotel executive lounges… just imagine how much money you’ll make from people wanting to buy them off your back!

  20. On my trip to The Venetian I had to wear the American airline ones and I totally know what you mean. Hey, you should have worn them in the photos. It would have given a better idea don’t you think. I would have definitely wanted to see how a person can look like a baby teacup monkey. Lol!!! But hey great post and definitely one of the most unique topics I have read till now.

  21. Ben,
    the last time I flew on LH day-time flight (FRA-IAH), they gave out the bottom of PJ as well. Maybe depending on how long the flight is?

  22. Really? You think somebody actually looks at twerps walking around in pajamas and thinks how cool they look? Oh my, you are delusional.

  23. @Lucky– on especially warm flights, why not just wear gym shorts and a t-shirt to bed? Or do you feel obligated to wear pajamas as a matter of custom? 😉

  24. @ concorde02 — Longer daytime flights seem to get the bottoms too, I think.

    @ Ron — I included a wink… maybe you missed that?

    @ Nick — I often do, and actually found myself doing that on a recent Singapore flight.

  25. For the pajamas that bleed or fade, try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the washing machine when you wash them. This helps the color stay. It works great for the cheap beach towels from Hawaiian ABC stores, too.

  26. Note that aside from AA, every airline’s PJs that I’ve tried have been 100% cotton. AA’s are 90% polyester, which explains why I find them so hot and scratchy, and also why they don’t shrink as much as everyone else’s. I completely agree that the cabins are almost always way too hot, so AA’s PJs get uncomfortable.

    As for one’s regular clothes, I take a hanger into the lav with me.

    I’ve never experienced PJs running too small, usually the opposite: even on the smallest size they have, I have to cuff the legs and sleeves. I’m 5’9″ and thin.

  27. Does anyone know who manufactures the BA pyjamas? My wife (who is British) has very sensitive skin and the BA First PJs are one of the few that don’t irritate her skin.

  28. Qantas’s PJ in F also is very similar to BA is so many ways. It’s light and soft and very suitable for daily usage. But it also shrink like crazy. I didn’t even put it into the dryer….

  29. My favorite is Quantas PJ’s. I believe they are or were made in the UK.
    KAL has heavy weight ones- like a thick cotton track suit.
    BA PJ’s also come in white top and blue bottoms

  30. Oops- Forgot what I wanted to say.
    I change into PJ’s so that at flights end I am reasonably well dressed and can immediately go to a meeting without looking grotty.

  31. I’d changed into PJs during late-October IAH-DME flight on SQ and it wasn’t too warm (even though we usually keep A/C pretty low during the night so I’d notice). Perhaps, they changed fabric or something because they were dark, dark blue and not scratchy. Much to my surprise, no SIA logos/mention anywhere except the zipper pull. Pretty thick fabric actually came in handy during the recent cold fronts we’d had in Houston.

    Also flew LX F but didn’t change into them because ZRH-ORD flight was pretty short.

  32. I really like the AF pajamas. They’re not high fashion, but the navy blue ones I received on an ICN to CDG flight were 100% cotton french terry knit. I think they’re incredibly comfortable and I love the v neck design of the shirt. I guess that’s why I also like LH so much too.

  33. The only time I’ve ever flown first was on Swiss, over five years ago, and I still wear and love those pyjamas. 🙂

  34. I know it’s a little late-I love reading these over and over again :), but I really like Qatar Airways’ pajamas. They look a little Asian style with the collar, but they are great. The bottoms are a little wide for people with slim builds, like myself, but I feel like they are light and airy. Given, I don’t have a whole lot of experience in airline pajamas, but I love sleeping in them.

  35. Also late to the game, but the PYE pajamas on CX are really nice and soft. Nice light grey color for HKG-LAX flight. As it was 1/1, they just switched colours to mark the change of seasons.

  36. Warning FirstWorld PJ people: plebes incoming!

    My favourite PJs are EVA’s, which I can wash repeatedly. Twotone brown/beige, nice sack labeled “Royal Laurel”. And yes, you get them in J! I wore them in CX J last month hehe

  37. Hi,
    Does anyone know who supplies BA and Virgin Atlantic with their PJs for First and Upper class respectively?
    Thanks 😉

  38. As someone who’s only ever flown international first class once (Thai), I’d love to see an updated most of his with more pictures. 🙂

  39. I do not and can not understand why they can’t supply something pretty for female passengers who may not want to wear ugly grey masculine ones. I mean seriously , there are about 9 passengers in first ….. surely they can decifer male and female passengers and even perhaps find out sizing prior to boarding

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *