How to Fly with a Wedding Dress

A plane in a blue sky making two hearts with smoke.

So you’ve found your perfect wedding dress, but now you just need to figure out how to get it to your wedding venue—which is a plane ride away! What should you do? How do you transport your gown safely and securely in the air? Here are some things to consider when flying with your dress.

Buy a High-Quality Garment Bag

Now, of course, most wedding dresses generally come in their own garment bag from the place where you purchased it, and that’s wonderful, but for air travel it’s a good idea to purchase a bag that is more heavy-duty. If possible, look for one that is waterproof or water repellent, made of a sturdy fabric, and has a well-made zipper that won’t break or unintentionally open during your travels.

Be Ready for the TSA

A security TSA line in an airport.

It’s important to know that the TSA will need to scan your dress, just as it does for every other luggage item that comes through the airport, but don’t stress out when they need to scan it. Either put the dress flat on the belt to go through the standard scanner or unzip the garment bag and have them scan it manually. The TSA agents are very familiar with brides bringing their dresses on board with them and should treat your dress with the care you’d hope for, but it’s good for you to be mentally prepared for this, especially since they may need to actually open the bag itself in order to properly approve it to pass through security.

Don’t Check It

If at all possible, it’s a good idea to avoid including your wedding dress in with your other checked baggage. Although it’s certainly possible to check your dress, and there are brides who have done so with success, I would recommend keeping it with you as a carry-on if your airline allows for this. The idea of your luggage getting lost with such an important garment in it just feels like a total nightmare scenario and not something that seems worth the risk.

Check Policies Ahead of Time

Almost all airlines allow for you to bring your wedding dress on board, but do check with their exact policies ahead of time to make sure you’re following their guidelines properly to avoid any issues at the gate. Many airlines even actually have wedding-dress specific information on their websites, so that’s a great place to begin—or you can of course give them a phone call to get confirmation on what they are and are not likely to allow with your dress transportation. When in doubt, do contact them so you can be as prepared as possible to make whatever policies they have in place work for you. It’s possible they may recommend your purchase a certain ticket type, like priority boarding and/or first class seating, to ensure better overhead bin access or other options, so getting this information from them early on in your planning process can help avoid headaches closer to the big day.

Talk to Your Airline Attendants

Upon arrival to your gate and upon entry onto the plane, it’s also a good idea to speak to gate agents and flight attendants to see if they have options to help you. They likely have some ideas on how to make travel with your dress work in the best way possible. They may even allow you to use the closet that’s generally for crew and first class passengers’ jackets if you’re kind and explain the situation. But no matter what the outcome, if you don’t let them know the situation, they won’t be able to help at all, so clear communication from the start is a great way to get everyone on the same page.

Utilize Your Friends or Family Members’ Luggage

A closed overhead bin in an airplane.

If you end up needing to store your dress in a standard overhead bin, try your best to lay it flat on top of your luggage or the luggage of whomever’s traveling with you. You’re trying to avoid scrunching the dress in any way. It may not be appropriate to lay your dress over a stranger’s luggage, but if it seems like the only solution available, just ask your neighbors if they’d mind. Many people would be more than happy to accommodate, knowing the special circumstance involved.

Buy Your Dress a Ticket

Now this may feel like a ridiculous suggestion, but if you’re really concerned about transferring your dress to its new destination and you have the money to spare, you could technically buy your dress its own ticket and have it in a seat next to you the entire time, safe and sound. This is a pricey option, and likely not your first choice, but if you’re very anxious about traveling with your wedding dress, this might just do the trick to calm your nerves.

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