Are suit bags okay to carry on a domestic flight?
March 1, 2010 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Will TSA let me bring my suitbag on the plane? I've flown recently, and I don't recall seeing anyone carry one. Are they no longer allowed on domestic flights?

I'm going on an overnight business trip. I will arrive the night before, will spend the day in meetings and presentations, and will be on the plane home that afternoon, immediately after I'm done.

I need to bring a suit, and for obvious reasons, I don't want to wear it on the plane down. However, I haven't done an overnight business trip in a few years. I used to be able to pack my suit in a carry-on garment bag, and bring that on board. Will TSA give me a hard time about carrying on a suit bag? Will the airline?

For what it's worth, my bag will contain: my suit (jacket and trousers). One dress shirt. One undershirt. Boxers. Socks. My kit bag (shaving kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and cologne). Does this sound like something that will cause me any problems? Or am I way overthinking this??
posted by deejay jaydee to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've seen them carried on planes recently, the only ting that might give you troubles is liquids (cologne, etc.).
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:18 PM on March 1, 2010

I've had success on international flights with them, including flying in coach, for whatever that's worth. Don't know why domestic would be different, but then there's a lot I don't know.

Actually, one international flight included a domestic leg, and no problem there, either. That trip was sandwiched on either side of the drama in late December; I was able to bring it from Miami to LaGuardia in early January.
posted by troywestfield at 12:18 PM on March 1, 2010

They don't care what's in the bag, they care about its dimensions. Your airline's website should tell you the maximum size a carry-on bag can be. If your bag is that size or smaller when folded up, it can fly in the cabin. If not, you have to check it.

Also, make sure that your toiletries are 3 ounces or less apiece (that's the size of the bottle, not the amount of liquid in the bottle) and that all of your liquids are in a single quart-sized ziploc bag. Otherwise, you'll be forced at security to throw them away.
posted by decathecting at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2010

I carry them quite a bit (touch wood). A reasonable-sized garment bag is probably more welcome than an oversize/overweight roller, even if one dimension of the bag may be over. They fit into the overhead bins pretty good. Keep your liquids in a ziploc in an external pocket for TSA. Even if they are rejected at the gate, you would gate-check them.
posted by carter at 12:34 PM on March 1, 2010

I think the absence of suit bags has more to do with the fact that fewer men wear suits for work with the popularity of business casual.
posted by cecic at 12:44 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I flew with one this past summer. Over-the-shoulder, standard sized suit bag. I'm pretty sure I can get it into one of the check-your-luggage-to-see-if-it-fits-here boxes if pressed. You shouldn't have any problems.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2010

A lot of suit carriers look like the standard rollaround carryon bags. example.
posted by electroboy at 12:51 PM on March 1, 2010

If you're flying on a smaller plane like a regional jet, and they'll let you bring it past the gate, do it. A lot of NA carriers have a second baggage check on the jetway/runway, typically called sky-check or the like. Lots of business travelers just bring maximally-sized carry-ons which are too big for the RJs overheads. Thus the airlines now have the "curb-side" baggage check after the gate. The great part is that you get the bags immediately after you exit the plane, not at the luggage carousel in the terminal.

The real issue is making certain that your bag is carry-on legal. Some suitbags are, some aren't.
posted by bonehead at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2010

I've brought a suit bag on planes before and even asked one of the flight attendants if she wouldn't mind hanging it up because I know first class has a closet for this purpose. I was sitting in coach, too. As long as your kit is in order (under 3 oz etc), you should be fine.
posted by spec80 at 12:58 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

As was said above, if it fits the right dimensions (and in most cases even if it doesn't in my experience) you should have no problem carrying on a suit bag...

Be careful if you gate check bags. They will not always be delivered at the exit from the plane. I was late to a very full connecting flight and was asked with several others to gate check our bags - and was told I would get it upon exit, not at baggage claim.

When we arrived, the group of us dutifully waited at the exit for our bags. The strollers came out, but we were told the bags would arrive at baggage claim. This might have been an isolated incident, but if you are under time pressure - try to hold on to your bag...
posted by NoDef at 1:25 PM on March 1, 2010

Sometimes I have fit my pillow, shoes, and other miscellany in my garment bag carry on, then when I get on board I unpack and either 1) hang the garment bag up at the front of the plane (southwest does not have this feature) or 2) stow my garment bag in the overhead bin.
posted by yoyoceramic at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2010

Mr. Jungle flew recently with a suit in tow and as he boarded the stewardess took it from him to hang up in the front of the plane. As far as I know the only carrier that doesn't do this is Southwest, so as long as you aren't flying them, you should be good to go!
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 1:59 PM on March 1, 2010

You should be allowed to carry on the suit bag as long as it is within your airline's size requirement for carry-on bags. You just need to make sure your toiletries are under 3.4 ounces each and in a clear 1-quart ziploc baggie, which you may be asked to take out when you go through security. Anecdotally, I see people carrying on suit bags all the time and my husband and I carried one on a few months ago containing a suit and a dress and we encountered no problems.
posted by bedhead at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2010

You might want to consider plastic hangers instead of metal. No problem with the hang up bag travelling from Canada to the US, but because of metal hangers there was far too much hassle at security (although they eventually went through).
posted by kch at 5:09 PM on March 1, 2010

I flew yesterday on Delta with my suitbag. The TSA could care less as long as it fits through the X-Ray machine and you abide by their restrictions on baggage contents. My bag is about ~11 years old and is about as large as a bag can be to fit into the overhead compartment on a full size jet. Still, Delta at least offers free gate checking of your bag and that certainly is a nice concession. Since my friend checked a bag, there was no disincentive for me to check my bag and I got my bag checked for free.
posted by mmascolino at 7:04 PM on March 1, 2010

I was wondering... They allow you to bring coat hangers? Metal wire? Really?
posted by themel at 11:12 PM on March 1, 2010

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