What’s The Dress Code For An Airline Pilot?

When flying for a commercial airline, you’ll want to look professional and presentable at all times. This means wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.

What's The Dress Code For An Airline Pilot?

You don’t want to show up to your next flight looking sloppy or unkempt. The dress code for pilots varies depending on the airline, but generally speaking, you should always try to look neat and tidy.

You may be required to wear a uniform when flying with certain airlines, so it is important that you know what this entails before heading out to the airport.

We put together some of the most important clothes a pilot uniform should include, and what pilots should look like (see also “Can A Woman Be A Pilot?“).

How Should Airline Pilots Dress?

The FAA has some general guidelines in 14 CFR 121.383(b) regarding how you should dress while working as a commercial pilot.

It states that “pilots shall appear clean shaven and neatly groomed.”

The FAA also has more specific guidelines in 14 CFR 121 Appendix A which state that “Pilots are expected to maintain their personal appearance in such a manner as not to cause embarrassment to themselves or others.

Pilots must avoid any conduct or appearance that might reflect discreditably upon the FAA or the Civil Air Patrol.”

As the FAA provides only very generic guidelines on how pilots should dress, airlines do have their own dress codes in place.

Let’s take a look at some of the main parts that make up a pilot uniform, and how male and female pilots should look.

What's The Dress Code For An Airline Pilot

Pilot Jacket

A pilot jacket is one of the most basic pieces of equipment needed when preparing to fly. It can come in many different styles, from more casual to formal.

If you’re going to be flying for an international carrier, they will likely require you to wear a suit jacket.

If you’re going to be working for a domestic airline, however, you could be asked to wear something a little less formal.

Regardless of whether you’re flying internationally or domestically, you’ll need to ensure that you wear the pilot jacket as part of your airline’s uniform.

Pilot Shirt

When it comes to what to wear under the jacket, this is usually a standard white button-down shirt.

This is fairly easy to care for and washes well. Some airlines may also provide you with other colors, depending on their uniform dress code.

Pilot Shoes

You’ll want to make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. Some airlines provide you with shoes, while others give you only guidelines and you can purchase your own shoes.

In either case, you’ll want to ensure that they are suitable for walking around the aircraft and that they fit properly.


Most airlines will require their male pilots to wear a tie. You’ll want to choose a color that matches your outfit. Some airlines will also provide you with a suitable tie.

If you’re unsure about what kind of tie to wear, ask your supervisor or check with your airline’s dress code policy.


Depending on the airline, you may also receive additional items like a hat. These items can help to complete your uniform and show off your professional image.


There are several accessories that are often included in a pilot’s uniform. These include cuff links, tie clips, pocket squares and tie bars, as well as jewelry for female pilots.

Cufflinks are small items that you can use to decorate your cuffs. They are usually made from silver or gold, although your airline will be able to advise what fits with the uniform.

Tie clips are small metal rings that you can attach to your tie. This allows you to keep your tie straight without having to worry about it getting tangled up.

Pocket squares are square pieces of fabric that you can put into your pockets to add some color to your outfit. Pocket squares are typically black, but there are plenty of other colors available.

Tie bars are similar to tie clips, but instead of being attached to your tie, they go through the loops of your collar. Tie bars allow you to keep your tie in its proper position.

Most airlines only allow jewelry in the form of plain earrings, or bracelets. They should compliment the uniform and the jewelry should not interfere with any flight duties as pilot.


It’s important to look after your personal hygiene when you are working as an airline pilot.

As the cockpit and cabin are small spaces, it’s essential to be considerate. Pilots must ensure their body odor and oral hygiene is well maintained at all times.

Make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly and avoid any strongly scented colognes or perfumes as these could affect co-pilots and passengers negatively.

If you smoke, you should avoid smoking shortly before the flight as the nicotine fume sticks to your clothes which can create a strong odor.


Your hair should be clean and neat. Male pilots should keep their hair short and well groomed.

Female pilots who have long hair, should tie their hair back.

Most airlines do not allow extreme hair colors, such as pink or blue. However, it’s best to check with your airline for any specific rules.

Facial Hair

Pilots should shave regularly and keep their facial hair well groomed. Most airlines do not allow long beards or facial hair lower than the upper lip.

Mustaches must be trimmed and neat, and sideburns are not permitted to extend below the ear lobe.

The rules and regulations on facial hair vary widely with each airline, so it’s important to check first.


Tattoos that are visible are generally prohibited by most airlines. Some pilots with tattoos go to great lengths to cover them up.

As tattoos have become more popular over recent years, airlines also regularly review their policies. However, currently most major airlines do not allow their pilots to have tattoos.


Same as with tattoos, piercings are also not permitted when flying as an airline pilot.

Some pilots choose to cover up their piercings or remove them before they fly. However, it’s important to check with your airline whether they allow this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Female Pilots Wear Skirts?

This depends on the airline. However, most airlines do require their female pilots to wear pants.

This is mainly for safety reasons as it’s easier to react quickly in emergency situations when wearing pants.

What Is The Dress Code Of A Female Pilot?

Most female pilots wear pants and a pilot jacket in dark blue, black or dark gray, with a white button shirt or blouse underneath.

Most airlines don’t require their female pilots to wear a tie. However, they are usually asked to wear a hat.

Why Do Airline Pilots Wear Hats?

The pilot hat is one of the best ways to identify a pilot. It makes them stand out from passengers and crew members.

Hats also represent professionalism and leadership which is part of a pilot’s job description.


The dress code for airline pilots varies between different airlines, and it’s important to remember that the uniform is intended to reflect professionalism and respectability.

You should always make sure that your clothing is appropriate and clean. Some airlines will provide their pilots with a uniform, or at least the pilot jacket and pants.

Thank you for reading!

Jacob Stern
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