(Closed) Flying with wedding dress

posted 6 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
7413 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Your best bet is going to be  having a dry cleaner pack the dress so that it will fit in a standard rollaboard suitcase or in a slim garmet bag, then paying the extra charge for “Premier Access” which with United lets you board in group 2 when there is still a fair bit of overhead bin space left. Just pop the dress in the bin and no fuss. If it’s in a slim garmet bag you can lay it stretched out across the tops of other bags.  Just remember it counts as your “big” carry on so you’ll only be able to carry on a purse or backpack with it.

It’s worth checking with United to make sure you are not flying on a Canadair Jet (any model) or an Embraer 140 series because the overhead bins in those planes are too small to take a normal rollaboard suitcase, so a slim garment bag is your only option.

Don’t count on a flight attendant hanging the dress in the first class closet because lots of planes don’t even have a closet in first class, and when they do, the first class passengers get first dibs.

You may also want to buy a travel garment steamer. They are not too heavy and only cost about $40 on amazon and you can freshen up your dress when you arrive and unpack.

Post # 4
2350 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I traveled with American and they accommodated me on every leg of my flight both to and from the Caribbean. They hung my dress in the stewardess closet each flight. They said there is no policy saying they have to do that, and if there were wheelchairs or crutches to stow, that would get prioritized over my dress. But that was not a factor during my any of my flights. I also got married during slow season, but flights were still booked full.

Eta: sorry just realized u wanted info specific to united. Maybe they would do the same as American. Best of luck, I’m sure it will work out 🙂

Post # 5
2546 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Jen8787:  no experience with united, we flew with Airtran/Southwest with my dress (4 flights total) without any issues- except cancellations but that’s another story. 

I saw alot of guys walking around the airports with garmet bags for their suits, so it’s not crazy uncommon. When I called the airline they said it counted as my carry-on (still got to take my large purse as my personal item) but they could not guarantee any type of hanging space. Turns out the planes we ended up on didn’t have hanging space period, even for first class.  I ended up putting in a plastic bag, then in the garmet bag with my hubby’s clothes and just folded them over in the overhead bin. I worse a bride tank top for the flights & luckily we got upgraded because of it- twice!  

If you are worried they won’t let you take the garmet bag as your carry on, they make folding garmet bags that fit within carry-on size guidlines, but they are pricey. Another thing to keep in mind is that many airlines have different ccarry-on size restrictions for intl flights (both our airlines carry-on max’s were a few inches smaller overall). 

I didn’t get the steamer because my dress wasn’t an easily wrinkling fabric. I was able to just leave it open in the garmet bag in the bathroom to absorb some of the steam from the shower and it worked just fine. I would totally get one though if your dress is a less forgiving fabric (mine was satin underneath with a polka dot/mesh type of overlay). 

I have also heard of online companies that sell wedding dress box kits so you can box it up safe from moisture, pests, smells, etc and then check that as part of your luggage. But if your like me you won’t want to let that sucker out of your sight!

Post # 6
943 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

I’m mailing my dress to my venue (Las Vegas) because I was told by US Air that even though I’m flying FIRST CLASS, they couldn’t accomodate my dress in the closet up front. SMH.

Post # 8
943 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Jen8787:  You would think! I was so pissed but my coordinator talked me down and we worked it out LOL.

Post # 9
279 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

one of my FIs friends was having a destination wedding.  Their airline told them to ensure a spot to stow the dress they could buy a seat for it.  I guess there was a big ordeal on the flight where the stewardess told them they were not able to keep the dress on the extra seat they purchased.  Not sure how or if it got resolved.   hope you’re experience is better.

Post # 10
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Jen8787:  Honestly, I think it depends on the staff that day, not necessarily the airline. I flew Delta and it was considered one of my carry ons (which was fine). Some flight attedants were much nicer about it, offered to hang it, etc. Some were downright rude (“Your dress is going to get wrinkled in the front closet anyway”) and some where just clueless (not to stereotype, but the men tended to not even think twice about me carrying a garment bag). In my experience, though people were happy for you, they weren’t particularly helpful.

On the bigger airplanes, it was no problem to fold it in half and lay it flat (I was paranoid on the way there so I purchased priority boarding for $10). For the commuter jets, I literally had to just shove it in the tiny overhead. As soon as I landed, I made an appointment to drop off my dress with a lady who steams dresses and it came back 2 days later perfectly ready for a wedding =) Though expensive, much cheaper than buying a ticket for it! 

Post # 11
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

We had a destination wedding in Las Vegas, and we flew with United too from Hungary. (my dress was in the baggage we checked in) From Houston to Vegas another couple flew with our plane and the bride asked the stewardesses to hang on her dress (it was in a bag) in the back of the plane. The stewardesse were very kind and the dress travelled in safe. But I’m not sure if she had to pay a fee for it.

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