- 5 years ago
- Wedding: June 2013
I have JUST been through this, and I hope my experience can help my fellow bees.
The first thing you should know is that the airline will never, ever guarantee you the right to hang your dress in the closet unless you are flying first class. Every single airline will tell you that it’s up to the flight crew to let you store it there, and they have the right to refuse.
Even if there is room in the closet and the flight crew is willing, you must remember that on many planes, the closets are miniature…so your dress probably won’t be able to hang completely straight. Rather, much of the skirt will be bunched up on the floor.
The best case scenario is that you get to the airport check-in early and ask if the flight is completely full. If it’s not, explain to the staff member that you have a wedding dress and ask them to block off the seat next to you. One of my flights (yes, there were many) did this for me with no problem. I actually watched her manually put an “X” on the seat next to me, which locked it and meant that no other staff member could put a passenger in that seat. Amazing. But if you have a full flight, you won’t have that luxury.
One other thing you can do is pack your dress in a carry on. The idea will make you cringe. I know. But you have to remember that there is a 99% chance that your dress was packed in a similar size box when it was shipped from the maker to your bridal salon. So it’s already been there, done that, and survived.
Watch this step-by-step video and it won’t seem so scary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdMC5re9JXo
Packing my dress in a carry-on wasn’t my first choice (my first choice was having a seat next to me). But I knew that wasn’t a guarantee. So this is what I did. I took my dress with me in a garment bag AND carried an EMPTY rolling carry on suitcase (the biggest the airline would allow). That way if I was told I couldn’t take it on the plane, I could fold it and pack it in the carry-on, right there in the airport. Lucky for me, I never needed to do that.
For starters, be prepared to put your dress through the x-ray machine. You can try asking TSA to inspect it manually, but that didn’t work for me. TSA isn’t exactly known to be warm and accommodating but who knows…you may luck out. If you have to put it through the x-ray machine, it’s best to let it lay flat (do not let them fold it to put it through). Everyone granted my request when I said this to them.
Now let me give you an idea of what my dress and I went through last month.
First, I traveled with my fit-and-flare gown from Atlanta to NYC (JFK). This was a small regional plane, so I was a bit worried it would be full, and tiny. Luckily, it wasn’t completely full and the flight attendant was more than happy to let my dress ride in an empty first class seat while I rode in coach. How’s that for great customer service? She even checked on it after we hit turbulence, adjusting it upright again.
But NYC wasn’t my final destination. I had to then take a taxi to La Guardia. It was me and FI in the back of a yellow taxi (my FI helped carry and hold the dress during the journey but still hasn’t seen it).
Once arriving at La Guardia, we checked in to our ten hour flight to RUSSIA. Yes, Russia. I needed to take my dress on a plane with me to Moscow.
Luckily, this flight wasn’t full either, so it sat next to me in it’s own seat.
The dress lived with me in my Moscow apartment for two weeks, before it took yet another flight – to London (where I will be getting married).
This is the flight where the member of staff blocked off the seat next to me, and I will forever be grateful.
It was hilarious, though…because she made me buckle up my dress, which definitely made it resemble a body bag. The other passengers, and myself, couldn’t stop laughing. See picture below.
It arrived in London in one piece, but that wasn’t the end of the journey either! I had to take a bus journey to a town two hours away. For this, I decided I simply couldn’t risk a full bus and literally no where to put my dress, so I bought it a seat for £8 ($12). Well worth the money. Turns out it wasn’t necessary as the bus wasn’t full, but I still regard it as money well spent.
The dress is now resting at my FI’s grandparents house, until May when it will be taken up to London once again (but by car this time!).
I hope this post helps to ease the worries of any bees who need to travel with their dress.
My best advice:
*Be prepared with that empty carry-on.
*Be really nice to the staff…they hold your dress’ fate in their hands.
*Realize that if you have to pack it in the carry-on, it won’t be the end of the world…remember it’s already been packed and shipped before…and the wrinkles won’t be anything that a good steam won’t resolve.
*Request that your dress lay flat as it goes through the x-ray machine.
My experience taught me:
*Almost everyone is accommodating when they realize you are traveling with a wedding dress. I had a wonderful mix of ladies and gay male flight attendants who truly wanted to do all they could to help.
Good luck, everyone!