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As someone who has traveled extensively with clothes in a garment bag, I can say that it is definitely possible to fly with a suit. However, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the experience as smooth as possible. Since flying with a garment bag is different for each airline, I always reach out to the airline before bringing the bag with me. It gives me peace of mind. I don’t like running into surprises once I arrive at the airport. In this guide, I’ll explain how to fly with a suit and provide a variety of options to make things easy for you. If you’re curious to learn more, check out the content below.
The Bottom Line Up Front
Yes, you can fly with a suit. However, doing so may not be as cut and dry as you’d like. In most cases, you can fold your garment bag and store it in the overhead bin.
Options for Flying With a Suit
Check Your Garment Bag
A common option for flying with a suit is to put it in a garment bag and check it as luggage. This is the best option if you have a lot of bags, since you can include the garment bag as part of your checked luggage. However, I urge you to be careful with this option. Don’t assume that you can check the garment bag. Ask the airline ahead of time.
Furthermore, your suit could get lost. Just like checked luggage can get lost, so can your garment bag. If you’re not willing to take that risk, don’t check it. If you decide to check your suit, use a hard bag. A soft-sided garment bag is easily tossed around, which could ruin your suit.
Here’s a pro tip: include a copy of your itinerary inside the garment bag. That way, the airline staff will know where it needs to be sent when it arrives at your destination.
Ship Your Suit Ahead of Time
If you choose to ship your suit ahead of time, there are a few steps to follow. Make sure that the shipping company has a good reputation and that they offer insurance in case of loss or damage. This option is a bit extreme, but it comes in handy if you don’t want to bother with checking your suit or carrying it on the plane. You can ship via FedEx or UPS, and they’ll ensure that your suit arrives at your destination.
Wear Your Suit On the Plane
Another option is to wear the suit on the plane. This is not always a good idea— especially if you are flying on a smaller plane. However, it’s worth trying if you won’t have a lot of time after getting off of your flight. If you choose to wear your suit on the plane, try to avoid wearing anything too tight or too bulky under the suit. I also suggest only trying this option if you’re in Business or First Class. Economy is tighter, which means your suit is more likely to wrinkle due to lack of space.
Also, be prepared for some extra scrutiny from airport security personnel. They may want to take a closer look at you if they see that you’re wearing a suit. You may have to remove your belt, jacket, and other accessories. This is just a precaution because suits have hidden pockets and creases. It shouldn’t take them too long to clear you through security.
Two Ways to Pack a Suit
If you’re heading out of town for a trip, you’ll need to pack your clothing carefully to avoid wrinkles and creases. I’ve figured out a couple of methods that work fairly well. Here’s how to do them:
Fold It Lengthwise
First, lay your suit jacket flat on a bed or other surface. Then, fold the sleeves in, so they’re lying parallel to the body of the jacket. Next, fold the jacket in half, lengthwise.
Now it’s time to fold the pants. Start by folding them in half, lengthwise. Then, fold the legs up, so they’re lying parallel to the waistband. Finally, fold the pants in half again, widthwise. When you’re finished, your suit should be neatly folded and ready to pack into your luggage. Just be sure to wrap it in a garment bag or other protective covering to keep it clean and free of wrinkles.
With a little bit of care, you can easily pack your suit into a suitcase without worry.
Roll It Up
One of the easiest ways to fold a suit is to simply roll it up. This method is quick, easy, and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. To roll a suit, first lay it flat on a smooth surface. Then, fold the arms in towards the body of the suit. Next, fold the bottom of the suit up towards the waistline. Finally, roll the suit from the bottom up, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles as you go.
This method is great for traveling, as it doesn’t take up much space in a suitcase or carry-on bag. However, it’s important to note that rolled suits can sometimes become wrinkled, so it’s best to hang them up as soon as you arrive at your destination.
My Favorite Garment Bag Types
There are many types of garment bags available on the market, and it’s hard to know which one is right for traveling. Luckily for you, I’ve tried different types. Below are the ones that I like best:
1. Rolling Garment Bags
This type of garment bag functions much like a suitcase. It has a handle and wheels, which makes it easy to travel through airports and hotels. One of the best things about rolling garment bags is that they often come with a detachable shoulder strap. This means that you can carry it like a suitcase or wear it like a backpack.
One thing to keep in mind is that rolling garment bags can be bulky and difficult to pack in small spaces. If you’re traveling by airplane, make sure to measure the bag to make sure it fits in the overhead bin.
2. Tri-fold Bags
Tri-fold garment bags are a good option if you’re looking for something compact and lightweight. These bags can be folded into thirds, which makes them easy to store in small spaces. Tri-fold bags are also great because they often come with multiple compartments. This means that you can keep your shoes and other items separate from your clothes.
One downside of tri-fold bags is that they can be difficult to carry. Most don’t have handles, so you’ll have to carry them over your shoulder. Additionally, the lack of wheels makes it harder to maneuver through airports and hotels.
3. Hanging Bags
If you’re looking for a garment bag that’s easy to use, then a hanging bag is a good option. These bags have a hook that allows you to hang them in a closet. This makes it easy to pack and unpack your clothes. Hanging bags also often come with multiple compartments, which is great for organizing your belongings.
One downside of hanging bags is that they’re hard to travel with. Hanging bags are sometimes bulky, which makes them difficult to pack in small spaces.
My Favorite Garment Bag Brands
I really like this Samsonite garment bag. It’s spacious and has a lot of compartments and pockets for organization. The fabric is also really nice and feels durable.
One thing I don’t like about it, however, is the price. It’s definitely on the more expensive side compared to other brands. But overall, I think it’s a great bag and would recommend it to others. But you’ll definitely get your money’s worth if you travel a lot.
This option is a great mid-range choice. It’s not as expensive as the Samsonite bag, but it’s still a high-quality option. Not to mention, it’s super easy to carry. It’s designed with a shoulder strap and handles, so you can wear it a few different ways. I also like that it comes with a pouch that holds your shoes.
This Zegur garment bag is another fantastic choice, especially if you’re looking for something affordable. It’s made from high-quality materials, and it’s super durable. Plus, it has a ton of compartments and pockets for organization. This bag also comes with a handy travel strap, so you can easily carry it on your luggage.
I really like this Degeler garment bag. Much like this Samsonite, it’s a bit expensive, however, it’s larger in size. It’s perfect for long trips, or if you need to pack a lot of clothes. This bag is designed to carry three suits on one hanger. Plus, it has compartments for other items, like ties and socks!
Guidelines for Flying with a Garment Bag
Every airline has a different guideline for flying with a suit. Here are a few of the most popular airline rules:
1. American Airlines
When flying with American Airlines, soft-sided garment bags must be no more than 51 inches / 130 cm (length + width + height). You can take them on the aircraft as your carry-on item.
2. Delta Airlines
Delta Airlines doesn’t have specific rules for flying with a suit in a garment bag. However, their carry-on policy states that you’re allowed one personal item and one carry-on bag. So, as long as your garment bag meets the size requirements of no more than 45 inches, you should be fine. To be on the safe side, reach out to Delta directly.
3. Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines also doesn’t have any specific rules when it comes to flying with a garment bag. However, they allow garment bags as a replacement for carry-ons. The dimensions must not exceed 10 x 16 x 24 inches. However, if your garment bag can fold up and fit into the overhead bin, it should be fine.
4. United Airlines
United is another airline that allows garment bags as long as they meet carry-on requirements. For United Airlines, their dimension restrictions are 9 x 14 x 22 inches. Again, you can always fold your garment bag and place it in the overhead bin.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to reach out to the airline directly. Since most airlines don’t have a specific garment bag policy, you want to make sure that you ask before showing up at the airport.
FAQs – How to Fly With A Suit
Answer: There are a few ways to avoid wrinkles in your suit. First, you can choose a suit made of wrinkle-resistant fabric. Second, you can hang your suit on a hanger when you travel. Third, you can pack your suit in a garment bag. Finally, you can steam your suit when you arrive at your destination.
Answer: Most airlines allow you to bring a suit in a garment bag without charging an additional fee. However, it is always best to check with your airline before you travel.
Answer: No, it is not mandatory to check your garment bag. However, some airlines may require you to do so if your bag exceeds their size limits. Again, this is one of those situations where the answer might differ from airline to airline. Don’t assume. Be sure to ask before you bring a suit with you.
My Final Thoughts on Flying With a Suit
Flying with a suit isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s doable. I suggest neatly folding it in your suitcase and knocking the wrinkles out once you get to your destination. I find that easier than stuffing a garment bag into the overhead bin. And, of course, it prevents you from having to wear an uncomfortable suit on the plane.
Well, I hope these suggestions help to make your journey easier. Happy Traveling!
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