Just out of curiosity: Are flight crew suits reserved to certain persons or can just be worn freely, provided one doesn't use company logos or other protected brand markings. If the country does matter, then in UK.

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(Picture source)

Are the insignia like golden stripes or cap regulated by a public authority? Now questions of security may also be invoked by the Captain, or dictated by airline's rules, but that's not my main point, though explanations are welcome.

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    $\begingroup$ It is hard to cite regulation for this (because I can't find any forbidding it, so its like proving a negative), but it is legal in most countries including the US and UK. I could provide some online "testimonials" from air crew, but in the spirit of factual answers I'm not sure that would fit... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 26, 2017 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes it is much more effective to wear exotic costumes. $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2017 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ I've never heard of a law that prevents wearing a brand marking, either? o.o $\endgroup$
    – Weaver
    Sep 27, 2017 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @mins Huh, i know reproduction and distribution are controlled by IP laws, didn't know about wearing $\endgroup$
    – Weaver
    Sep 27, 2017 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @mins ok, i should have said creating and designing things also. I didn't think finding already existing articles and putting them on your body was an IP issue is all. I didn't think this post was talking about forging uniforms. $\endgroup$
    – Weaver
    Sep 27, 2017 at 17:54

4 Answers 4


Without a precedent, there is no answer about legality. The French law about military uniforms (and by extension postal workers if they are government employees) is based on the Geneva Convention based on precedents and war crimes.

Disguised as a postal worker, René Veuve acquired and transmitted information about crucial enemy infrastructure, such as Le Bourget airport, an oil refinery and an underground rocket factory.

In this case René was a hero, now imagine the opposite happening from the Axis powers.

For this question, no one on the internet can/should say whether it's legal or not for a civilian to wear a generic* pilot's uniform and board a flight.

The precedents we have show that those who did it, did it for illegal reasons, not for fashion.

* For the non-generic uniforms as in this case, a man was charged in the U.S. with falsely impersonating persons privately employed. But I'd say from a distance you can't tell the difference, and so a prosecutor may ask for the same charge (only one way to know).


The airport security may stop the good-looking person for questioning and they will be searched. Because that's one way to try to get contraband in/out of a country.

If flying internationally, the border control officer may have a question or two to the non-pilot in uniform.

For the U.S., pilots in uniform are required to show two IDs:

(...) one from their company and one from the government, to be checked against a secure flight crew database.

It may be seen as a way to skip the security lines.

Airline / flight crew

The airline personnel may object and deny boarding because it may be taken as an impersonator with a malicious intent to gain access to the cockpit.

Passengers don't know better, and the airline may not like it for their passengers to think their pilot is sleeping (see story below), or worse, drunk (or will they deny drinks?).

Man was wearing a Cathay Pacific uniform and claimed he was off-duty. Flight attendants grew suspicious and soon learned he was not a pilot.

Note: Not all airlines allow their staff to wear uniform when off-duty.

In other news, a drunk pilot in uniform may cause panic and stress to passengers, what if that civilian is also intoxicated?

Common sense says to avoid that.

I don't think we will find an aviation regulation for that, it will be a local matter fit for Law.SE, i.e., if you were denied boarding, do you have the legal grounds to sue the airport/airline?

Once someone tries it, sues the airline/airport, and the court passes a sentence, then we'll know (for one jurisdiction at least).

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Sep 27, 2017 at 16:44

In the US, pilots of one carrier may end up flying another carrier to position themselves. This is not the preferred routing of pilots for economic reasons, but it happens. In that case there may be crew on board wearing a different carrier's uniform.

I know of no regulation prohibiting this practice.


My company requires all pilots to position in uniform at all times. And we normally only position with other airlines since we fly charter, and often needs to position to meet the aircraft somewhere to replace the operating flight crew.


Yes it is. I had a flight attendant sit down next to me on the return flight leg of her trip. She was off duty & if I remember correctly, was in uniform. The other flight attendants recognized her as their co-worker. They treated her like gold on the plane, even though she didn't have to work that shift / flight leg. She wasn't part of the active flight crew on that plane, but she was allowed to board the plane in uniform.

The movie Catch Me If You Can details how a civilian who was not trained to fly planes, dressed up as a pilot in order to fly for free. That was a long time ago, when the aviation industry was still developing it's rules & regulations. Is it advisable to do that? No, because the man in the movie went to jail. You can check out the movie here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264464/?ref_=nv_sr_1


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