On airliners, pilot's uniform usually include a shirt with stripes on shoulder. I cannot find examples of pilot without this kind of uniform while in service (either in the airport before departure/after landing or on the flight deck). It seems that during long break they can wear T shirts but use their formal uniform when working.

I fail to see why they should wear such a uniform (wearing a shirt with stripes don't make you a better pilot).

For flight attendants, the uniform reflects the image the company wants to convey. Flight attendant uniforms are thus diverse and different for different airlines. But a pilot's uniform is more uniform from one airline to another.

Do airline uniforms for pilots, which do not use shirts with stripes on the shoulder, exist?

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    $\begingroup$ "For flight attendant, the uniform reflect the image the company wants to convey" [sic]. It is no different for pilots, the airline wants them to meet the typical pilot image that most of their customers have in their minds. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2019 at 8:37
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    $\begingroup$ Related: What's the reason for pilots wearing uniforms? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Oct 16, 2019 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ @AEhere being disruptive can also be a good marketing strategy (no need to look like what most passengers expect). $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Oct 16, 2019 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ManuH how many passengers choose their airline based on how the crew dresses? Or even see the pilots of their flight outside of extraordinary circumstances? On the last dozen or so flights I've been on, I didn't do either, but ymmv of course. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2019 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


Uniforms are to make it easy to identify members of a group who have a separate function or authority from a larger more random group. The stripes are to easy to identify the chain of command within this group at a glance.

Most of the time it's all just costume peagentry.

When the shmoozle hits the fan however, being able to identify who's in charge and next in charge and so on, without having to, you know, ask around, becomes a big deal. That's why the bars.

You won't find a first or second tier carrier in a Western airline without a uniform shirt and rank bars. I can't find any specific regulations that require that, but it's basically an old convention carried over from the marine world (it's why pilot uniform suits look like naval uniforms), where many of aviation's traditions originate.

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    $\begingroup$ The OPs question, though, is: do any carriers (and, by inference, which ones) use a non-traditional uniform. $\endgroup$
    – Jimmy
    Oct 16, 2019 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Added a bit. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Oct 16, 2019 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ I find it very hard to imagine a situation in which it would be necessary for a passenger to be able to differentiate the PIC from FO, or any other dude/gal for that matter. Destination hotel lounge bar would be an exception of course. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Oct 16, 2019 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Stranded on a desert island perhaps lol? "How can we make a signal fire from this plastic water bottle, string and a piece of coral? The Captain will know for sure!" $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Oct 16, 2019 at 21:36

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