The (Crazy) Reason I Always Wear a Sports Jacket When I Fly

It’s been almost four years since I took my first flight, alone.  After weeks of convincing my parents that I was mature enough to venture out on my own, they had broken down and decided to let me travel home unaccompanied.  I can vividly remember the experience of boarding the Boeing 767 that would take me to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.  For the first time in my life, neither my mom nor my dad was behind or in front of me as I strolled down the jetway.

With each trip, I took alone, came a more adventurous itinerary.  Soon after my first flight unaccompanied, I decided to make something out of this.  I began to write about my travels and the rest is history.

I’m now almost legally an adult.  (I realize that legally and actually are two very different things.)  This means that most of the problems I’ve encountered in my travels as an unaccompanied teenager should no longer be an issue.  The terms and conditions that restricted me from lounges, hotels, and other things during my travels, will no longer apply to me.  The age clause will go away.

However, lately, I haven’t had any issues with my age.  It simply hasn’t been an issue.  I do look a little older but there’s one major component that I’ve changed in recent months; my wardrobe.

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W Hotel (Image: Starwood Hotels)

W Hotel (Image: Starwood Hotels)

I Never Fly Without a Sports Jacket

For the last six or so months, I never fly without bringing along a sports jacket.  Regardless of the purpose of the trip, where I’m going, what airline I’m flying, what cabin I’m booked in, or what hotel I’m staying at, I always wear a sports jacket.  I’ve alluded to why, above.

The Sports Jacket Hack

There’s a reason almost every single society across the planet wears sports jackets, sports coats, and blazers.  They make an impression.  Whether it’s a man or a woman wearing the jacket, coat, or blazer, that piece of fabric alters the way in which we perceive that person.  We usually assume they’re in the business world or they’ve got something important that required them to look their best.  Regardless of what inference we make, that fabric portrays an image of high stature, respect, or purpose.  It sounds bizarre on paper but that’s why we wear formal wear.  We wear formal wear to show respect for an important event or to leave a long lasting impression.

Wearing a sports jacket changes that way someone looks at you.

Wearing a sports jacket changes that way someone looks at you.

Before I realized what a sports jacket did to my overall appearance, I’d wear typical young people clothes.  I’d wear a pair of Vans, black jeans or a pair of chinos, a button-up shirt, and maybe some outerwear.  It just shouted “hipster-teenager!”  Then I decided one day, to put on one of my sports jackets.  Voilà, I looked older and more experienced.  There was something about just throwing a sports jacket over my normal youthful apparel that made a difference in the way I saw myself.  However, I wasn’t just doing this for me, I was doing this to look older and more experienced.

I know.  Many of you are getting to the point where you want to find me and give me a nice big slap in the face.  I sound like an idiot.  At first, I thought it’d be like putting lipstick on a pig or putting the Mercedes emblem on a Kia.  However, I immediately noticed a change in the way I was treated.  Since I’ve begun to wear a sports jacket whenever I travel, I’ve never been denied entry into a lounge and no one has questioned my age.  According to my friends, a sports jacket, “Makes you [me] look like some young hip guy working for some start-up.”  I guess it worked.

It’s weird and seems absurd.  That’s why I always travel with a sports jack or sports coat.  It makes me look older and like I just might have a purpose for traveling.  It makes me look like some young guy who just got his first real job.  It takes attention off my age and that’s exactly what I wanted.


I always wear a sports jacket when I fly.There’s some advice to the other youngsters out there that want to travel alone.  Wear a sports jacket.  Essentially, dress the part and maybe other travelers, lounge attendants, gate agents, and hotel employees will fall for it.  Maybe I’m just imagining stuff but I truly believe in my formal wear hack.  As noted earlier in this post, there’s a reason we wear formal wear.  The reason I wear formal wear is that it works.  It makes me look older and like I have a purpose for flying cross-country.