Though you might think of the catwalks in Paris or Milan when it comes to fashion and runways, it’s on runways of a different sort that you’ll find some of the most comfortable styles around: airport runways.
One of the more underrated premium passengers perks are airline pajamas. Stepping onto a plane, out of those designer duds, and into a pair of branded pajamas is like telling the plane, and the whole world, that you belong up there. In what other context would it be even remotely okay to sip $300-a-bottle champagne while lounging in your PJs? And airlines do their part to make you feel welcome by collaborating with famous designers on their sleepwear in some cases.
Though won’t find limited-edition onesies on Virgin Atlantic anymore (they offer more standard sets these days), plenty of other airlines give their first and business-class passengers stylish comfort in the skies. Here are some of the fanciest PJs flying today and the airlines that will tuck you in in them.
1. Air France
Air France’s La Première first class is one of the most exclusive cabins in the skies today. It’s next to impossible to book it with miles, and tickets run well into the tens of thousands of dollars. If you do manage to fly it, though, be prepared for treats like multi-course menus by Daniel Boulud… and pajamas by famous French fashion brand Givenchy. The pajamas are unisex and come in black with a blue, Henley-style collar, all presented in a leather and felt pouch that you can tote with you off the plane.
2. American Airlines
Faced with pressure from both Delta and United, as well as international carriers, American has dramatically upped its game in recent years with new seats in business and first class, as well as higher-end amenities, like the pajamas it offers fliers on some routes — notably to Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia. The latest first-class pajamas come in cotton with light-gray tops with a navy V-neck and the airline’s eagle logo, and drawstring pants that are light blue in color. The overall look is understated but comfortable.
3. Cathay Pacific
Cathay partnered with another Hong Kong brand, PYE, back in 2013 to offer its first-class passengers 100-percent organic cotton pajamas for those long flights across Asia or the Pacific. PYE, which specializes in premium shirting, created a custom cut for the airline based on a Mao suit, complete with traditional Mandarin collar and accent piping. The pajamas, or pyjamas as you’d write in Hong Kong, come in six colors including gray, blue, and maroon, but change each month. Passengers are also treated to matching eye masks and slippers. Because you wouldn’t want to clash in front of the other billionaires...
This U.S. airline doesn’t actually have a first-class cabin on most international flights. Instead, it has branded its international business class as Delta One, and you get some swanky amenities on it, much like you’d in first class on another airline, such as TUMI amenity kits with Kiehl’s products, and Westin Heavenly Bedding for those lie-flat seats. Delta also offers fliers snazzy two-tone gray sleeper suits on certain transpacific flights from the U.S. to China and Australia. And while these won’t win any fashion awards, they certainly are comfortable and worth taking with you at the end of your flight.
Emirates has long been a trendsetter when it comes to first-class amenities, introducing suites with closing doors and even onboard showers on its A380 jumbo jets. Just because the airline makes grand gestures, though, doesn’t mean it neglects the little touches. That’s why Emirates introduced moisturizing pajamas in first class last year. Yes, you read that right. This loungewear is actually good for your skin and helps counteract that dry plane air. They come in a good-sized felt bag that can be repurposed to carry electronics. The material used incorporates Hydra Active Microcapsule Technology that’s designed to keep skin hydrated by releasing billions of capsules containing sea kelp extracts whenever you move, so no worries about tossing and turning on that flight. You’ll still wake up with soft skin. Plus, the moisturizing elements should stay in effect for up to 10 washes, so there’s reason to take these babies with you when you deplane.
You’d think, with all the attention to detail Etihad has given its first-class cabins — these are the planes with “Apartments” and a three-room “Residence” onboard — that they’d put more thought into their pajamas. But while comfortable, these charcoal-gray sleep suits are a bit plain. Still, it beats sleeping in your own clothes for the long flights from the U.S. to the airline’s hub in Abu Dhabi. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spill any Bollinger Champagne on your street clothes, would you? Folks flying in business class also get pajamas, incidentally, but they’re in rather drab taupe and brown tones.
7. Japan Airlines
JAL has one of the sleekest first-class cabins out there thanks to gorgeous suites and unparalleled in-flight service. The airline upped its game earlier this year with the launch of first-class amenity kits along with all-new sets of limited-edition pajamas by Porsche Design. The bespoke outfits are available on select routes from the airline’s hub in Tokyo to the U.S. and are form-fitting two-tone gray numbers that come in a handy carry-on case.
8. Korean Air
Korean Air’s flight attendant uniforms were created in collaboration with Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre, as were the gray-green pajamas the airline offers first-class passengers. The neutral-toned set comes with drawstring pants and a button-up shirt with a kind of extended Mao collar that you can pop for flair, or lay flat for a more Western look. Either way, though, you’re bound to sleep comfortably.
Winning the award for preppiest in-flight sleepwear, Lufthansa offers passengers in its phenomenal international first-class cabins pajamas by venerable German fashion company Van Laack. The airline does something interesting in that it stocks tops and bottoms separately, so you can often mix and match colors. No matter which combo you get, though, the top is likely to be a long-sleeve polo-style shirt, poppable collar and all, while the trousers tend to be a very light cotton material so you stay cooler while tucked into your lie-flat bed.
Though Qantas offers some sporty sleep suits in business class — a rarity among airlines these days — it’s the first-class versions that really set this Aussie airline apart. The pajamas were created by Australian fashion designer Martin Grant, who also designed the airline’s crew and pilot uniforms, and is the first line of sleepwear he has ever rolled out. The unisex PJs are navy blue with a black trim, are made from 100-percent cotton and have a more tapered look than some of the more billowy in-flight pajamas you’ll find out there.
11. Qatar Airways
Qatar might currently be under an airspace blockade by its near neighbors, but that doesn’t mean the nation’s flag carrier is skimping on the amenities for its first-class fliers. The airline recently announced a new three-year partnership with The White Company to supply pajamas for both its first and business-class passengers. The pajamas in first class are dark charcoal gray for the gents and a lighter silver gray for ladies. Both sets have separate drawstring pants and tops with button-down Henley collars. The suits come with matching cotton slippers with faux-fur soles. Don’t get too excited, though. These pajamas are just for the airline’s A380 routes for now, which include Doha to Paris, London, Sydney and Bangkok, but should be available on more routes before long.
You might think of watches and chocolate, but did you know Switzerland is also home to a famous luxury underwear brand called Zimmerli? No wonder the country’s national airline commissioned them to produce not only the bedding for its first-class cabins, but also the organic cotton pajamas with which it supplies passengers flying in them. These custom PJs include light gray shirts and pants, and come in their own little bag with a red button that closes for safekeeping.
Like many other airlines, United is phasing out first class on international flights as it rolls out new Polaris business-class seats and amenities across its fleet. Luckily, that just means that business passengers will get some phenomenal perks like Saks Fifth Avenue bedding and Soho House Cowshed Spa amenity kits. They’re also treated to cute cotton pajamas upon request, so don’t forget to ask when you board! The sets are dark gray with cerulean blue collars. These PJs are only available on flights of 12 hours or more, but that just means there’s more time to luxuriate in them.
14. Virgin Australia
Australia’s other major airline commissioned Project Runway Australia winner Juli Grbac to design its new uniforms back in 2011 and she’s done a few updates for the airline since then. She was also put in charge of designing swish sleep suits for passengers in The Business, the airline’s flagship transpacific business-class cabin. These enviable ensembles come in a sophisticated charcoal gray with purple labeling and drawstrings that complement the cabin’s lighting accents. After all, you wouldn’t want to clash with your seat!
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