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How to Fly with a Wedding Dress

Bringing baggage on a plane is stressful—fighting for overhead space, wondering if your carry-on meets size restrictions, or getting the dreaded gate check ticket. Now, imagine flying with one of the most valuable pieces of clothing you’ll ever wear—and it’s one that can’t just be easily folded and shoved under a seat? Hello, panic!

How to Fly with a Wedding Dress

[st_content_ad]There’s no need to worry if you’re flying to your own wedding—here’s how to fly with a wedding dress (and minimal stress).

Try for the Airplane Closet

Some planes have a closet (usually reserved for first-class passengers’ jackets, the flight attendants’ personal use, or the captain’s use), but some sympathetic flight attendants may let you use the closet to hang up your dress. Use our sister site seat Seat Guru to scope out the type of plane you’ll be on ahead of time and see if your aircraft has big overhead bins or that coveted first-class closet.

Then, arrive early and plead your case to the gate agent, who may be able to help you snag closet space. In response to our question of how to fly with a wedding dress, American Airlines’ Media Relations team wrote: “Our crews will do their best to accommodate a bride with their wedding dress, as we know it’s an important day in their lives. Not all of our aircraft have a closet, and wheelchairs and other assistive devices will always be placed in those locations first, per federal regulations. Wedding dresses may have to be folded and stowed in the overhead bin if no closet is available. We also recommend the bride speak with the gate agent, before boarding commences, regarding their wedding dress.”

Buy Priority Boarding

If you can afford it, buy priority boarding so that you can be one of the first passengers to board the plane and stake out adequate space in the overhead bin. If you are sitting with other people traveling to your wedding, you can lay your dress flat on top of their suitcases in the bin in order to reduce wrinkles.

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Ditch the Plastic Garment Bag

The flimsy plastic bag your dress came in won’t do much to protect your dress from airport indignities. Invest in something sturdier, like the Degeler Skyhanger, an ultra-lightweight, German-Engineered garment bag that uses a titanium hanger and water-repellent/durable nylon fabric to keep your dress in place, dry, and unwrinkled.

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Check Airline Policy

Every airline has a different policy regarding carry-on items like wedding dresses, so be sure to check yours before you fly. Some airlines (like Delta) have a designated policy written on their website; if you don’t find the policy online, you may need to call the airline to find out the details.

As an example, here’s Delta’s advice on how to fly with a wedding dress: “Many brides take their wedding dress on the plane as carry-on luggage, but BE SURE it is an approved size, as some airplanes do not have extra room for oversized carry-on pieces. Some airlines allow the large ‘coat closets’ in the first-class cabin area to be used for bridal gown storage, please check with the flight attendant for assistance.”

Pack a Portable Steamer

No matter how careful you are on the journey, your dress is probably going to need a quick refresh when you arrive at your wedding destination. Pack a travel-sized steamer (like this one that uses a dry steam technology that won’t harm delicate materials) to make sure your dress is wrinkle-free on the big day.

How did you fly with a wedding dress? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments.

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Caroline Morse would love to hear your tips on how to fly with a wedding dress. Follow her on Instagram @TravelwithCaroline and Twitter @CarolineMorse1 for advice and travel inspiration.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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