Help me fly with my wedding dress!
August 29, 2011 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Taking my wedding dress on a plane- Help! I have two options: 1) Take it in the bag and hope that the plane will hang it up in first class even though i am sitting in coach 2) Pack it in my bag (its fairly small and lace) and get it steamed somewhere on the other end. Where can you get things steamed? Do they do that at dry cleaner? What do you recommend? Thank you!!
posted by tessalations999 to Human Relations (22 answers total)
You generally don't have to be in first class to get something hung up, but it will depend on your airline.

Most hotels should have either a laundry service, a concierge service who will help, a nearby dry cleaner, or a clothes steamer they will bring to your room for you to use yourself.

This problem has so many possible solutions that we merely need you to give more info (ie. what airline? what hotel? what city?) to choose one. (The easiest thing, of course, would be to just phone the airline or phone the hotel and ask.)
posted by Kololo at 7:52 PM on August 29, 2011

I would not dare check my wedding dress for a plane flight. Too risky! Could get lost, get damaged, who knows what else. How long is the flight?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:53 PM on August 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

You could get a big stand up garmet box and check it as oversized luggage. Probably cost more than a bit extra, but probably would be safe.
posted by whoaali at 8:01 PM on August 29, 2011

I took mine on as a carry-on in a soft-sided bag and hung it up as soon as I got to the hotel. I ended up not needing more than a hand-held steamer the day of, but I had checked and my hotel was able to help me, or there was a dry cleaner in town that would have been able to do it.

I would absolutely not have checked the dress. Not on my life.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:06 PM on August 29, 2011

Do not check your dress! Way too risky. Bring it with you and plan on having it steamed at the hotel when you arrive. Call ahead and make the cleaning arrangements with the hotel or local cleaners.
posted by saradarlin at 8:06 PM on August 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

I can't imagine any but the absolute worst budget airlines (and if it's got a class other than steerage, you're probably not on one of them) refusing to hang up your dress. Make sure the garment bag it's in is really sturdy (in case it snags on a loose door hinge or gets spilled on or something) and just ask the flight attendants really nicely when you get on the plane.

Don't check it! Aaah! My cousin had a bag full of designer dresses get shredded when the airline lost her bag once. Small chance of that happening, of course, but avoid it at all costs!
posted by phunniemee at 8:08 PM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you check it in, you should be mentally and financially tooled up to buy another one the day you arrive.
posted by mhoye at 8:10 PM on August 29, 2011

Bring it in a garment bag onto the plane. They have a little "closet" for you to hang it up. Even the smaller planes will have that. If you want to be safe, you can ahead call to ask them about a place for your dress. If there is no phone help, be sure to mention it when you check in at the gate. Congrats!
posted by Yellow at 8:12 PM on August 29, 2011

Fedex it.
posted by Perplexity at 8:14 PM on August 29, 2011

Wife was way to nervous to even consider putting the wedding dress in cargo. It went in carry-on, then was pressed by the hotel staff. Same went for what passed as my suit. Too dicey to trust to the airlines.
posted by Gilbert at 8:29 PM on August 29, 2011

Some planes don't really have closets anymore, but there's sometimes a hook on the inside of the cockpit door for coats too. I've walked onto small regional jets with a garment bag, told the crew I was on my way to a funeral (and I was, of course, headed to a funeral), and had the captain offer to hang it up front for me. If the crew refuses to do anything with your frickin' wedding dress when there's obviously a place for it, by all means I'd name and shame them later.

If all else fails, coats often travel fairly well if gently placed on top of everything else in the overhead bin, right before closing the bin. I bet the same would apply to your dress. You'll have to watch it like a hawk in case anyone wants to access their bags underneath it in the bin, but you should be able to keep it pretty safe this way.

If you know the airline and aircraft types involved, we might be able to figure out what kind of closet space they'll have.

And of course, congratulations!
posted by zachlipton at 8:37 PM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get a folding garment bag that will fit in the overhead compartments if it can't be hung up (not all planes have closets). When you arrive on the other side, just have it steamed. Or better yet, get a travel-sized steamer. I have a Braun that works great and was dirt cheap.

Mazel tov!
posted by padraigin at 8:46 PM on August 29, 2011

I draped mine in loose "s" folds supported with tissue paper within a photocopy paper box sealed with lots of tape. The box was sturdy: small enough to take on the plane but hard-sided to protect the dress. It worked out pretty well. If you put it in a garment bag it will likely slump or get squashed.

Have a happy wedding day!
posted by carmicha at 8:46 PM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think with the recent popularity of destination weddings that airlines are totally used to this conundrum. I got married last March in Mexico and the plane had a special overhead compartment just to store wedding dresses. As soon as I boarded the plane and the steward saw my garment bag, she grabbed it from me and carried it to the cargo bin and spread it out flat. (The only bummer was that I had to wait until everyone disembarked before I could get a steward to retrieve the dress from the bin.) I'd certainly give the carrier (or your travel agent) a call so you're prepared one way or another. In my case, I flew economy on Air Canada.

I also packed a travel steamer in my checked luggage and gave the dress a once-over the night before the wedding (I was too paranoid to let it out of my sight for the hotel steam -- although the choice was certainly there). I'm pretty sure lace doesn't wrinkle nearly as much as satin chiffon (the fabric that my dress was made from), so save your worrying for the wedding details that REALLY matter!
posted by Cat Face at 9:26 PM on August 29, 2011

Do find out what kind of plane is scheduled and ask about what hanging options will be available. Do not check.
posted by sammyo at 9:31 PM on August 29, 2011

I took mine (across the Pacific!) in a small garment bag (the insert garment bag for my suitcase, actually), and put it, folded up, into the overhead compartment for the short flight, and then on the international flight asked the flight attendants nicely. At first they said "Sorry, only for first/business class" but when I told them it was my wedding dress they all went "Ooo, we'll see what we can do" and found room.

So I think if they have a place for it, they'll be accommodating.
posted by that girl at 12:28 AM on August 30, 2011

When we got married in HI the flight attendants hung my wife's dress in the crew closet. This was 20 years ago though.
posted by COD at 4:59 AM on August 30, 2011

You will be flat-out amazed how many doors will open for you when you tell a flight attendant that you are carrying your wedding dress. They will not give you any trouble hanging it in the front of the plane. Hell, given how much of a difference it made for me when I mentioned that my suit bag contained the wedding tux, I'm thinking of doing so regularly.
posted by Mayor West at 5:25 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

The hotel I got married at had a steamer available. I did not fly there, so can't help with that aspect.
posted by desjardins at 6:47 AM on August 30, 2011

Call the airline first, find out your options. Day of, bring the dress as carry-on, make sure you get to the gate early enough to have a chat with some of the staff, explain your situation, ask if there's anything they can do to help you out. If you really want to grease the wheels, maybe bring some nice chocolates or other gift -- that way you can thank them if they go the extra mile, or bribe them if they're reticent. (To avoid overblown fears, maybe buy something available at one of the airport shops? Less worry that you are one of the crazies who's both looking for a favour and trying to poison someone.)
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 6:51 AM on August 30, 2011

We got married last month. She brought it on in the garment bag it came from the seamstress in, and was super-sweet about asking if they had somewhere they could hang it. This was Emirates, the airline with the best cabin crew service in the entire world, and it was no problem on either flight. On a smaller regional jet in the US, there was no where to hang it but there was enough overhead space that we could lay it flat. We took it to a dry cleaner who had it steamed in a couple of hours.

For heavens' sake don't check it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:26 AM on August 30, 2011

I carried mine in in a garment bag and the flight attendant REFUSED to hang it for me. I laid it flat in the overhead bin and it was fine.
posted by bq at 11:34 AM on August 30, 2011

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