Sharon and I are definitely not people who dress up unless it’s necessary. When we had to fly to New York for an event where I needed to wear a suit and her a dress, we needed a way to get there our clothes there without them getting overly wrinkled.
We have a garment bag for such trips, but we were wondering if the airline would view this as our carry-on bag or our personal item. I mean, the bag could easily hang in the closet in the front of the plane or even on top of our carry-on bag if necessary.
Since the rules for such a bag are unclear for some airlines and we’d be flying to NY on one airline and home on another, we decided to leave one of our roll-aboard bags home just in case.
Here’s what I’ve been able to find out from my research.
On our flight there, we were on Delta. Here’s the website showing Delta’s carry-on restrictions. A garment bag falls into a grey area. It can fit in an overhead or even under a seat if needed.
As I mentioned, we only brought one Travelpro roll-aboard bag, the garment bag, my Pacsafe backpack, and Sharon’s Tom Bihn computer bag with us. When boarding, we asked the flight attendant if we could hang the bag in the closet and she gladly obliged, only asking that we remembered to claim it when we left the plane. I’d imagine this would have been the case even if we’d had another bag with it.
For our flight home, we were flying on American (thinking incorrectly that I was using the last of the credit on our bump vouchers).
We’d had way too many problems with American gate agents telling us our bags were too big to bring aboard in the past, so we decided to just pack our dress clothes in a checked bag (since we get a free bag with the American Aviator Red card).
My checked bag ended up weighing exactly 50.0 pounds (Take that, American!!!) and we boarded with only one roll-aboard bag (which I carried with me since gate agents seem less likely to hassle me about my bags than Sharon) (Note from Sharon: maybe it’s a perspective thing. I’m only 4’6″ so a carry-on bad just LOOKS bigger if I have it)
Once arriving home, I did more research on the topic. I found this article from USA Today with tips on the best way to carry a suit on a plane (is wearing it really a valid suggestion?) Tips from a Reddit thread left me more confused as most people said it was OK until they had someone say it wasn’t.
Even this post from Ben from One Mile at a Time shows how the rules are vague (except for American) and the stated rules from airlines are rarely enforced, especially if you’re traveling in the first-class cabin.
As it looks like Sharon and I might have more times when we’re going to have to travel with nicer clothes, it would be great if we could find out the rules about bringing them with us. I’m not going to book two business class seats just so we can hang a garment bag in the closet. I also don’t want to have a surly gate agent make us gate check a bag just because we’re bringing an “additional item” with us.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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I was able to bring a garment bag on as a carry on item on Southwest from Tampa to La Guardia and then Newark back to Tampa last October.