If you’re having a destination wedding, you’ll probably need to think about flying with a wedding dress. And you won’t want to let it out of your sight. Let alone be placed at the mercy of the airport baggage handlers! Let’s have a show of hands for anyone who has ever had a suitcase lost or delayed by an airline. It’s happened twice to me in the last 5 years.
But gone are the days where you can rock up to the plane with your dress in hand and some lovely cabin crew members will take it and hang it up for you. With budget airlines getting even stricter (and pricier) on baggage, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of who allows you to take what.
Here’s a summary of the main airlines flying out of the UK and their wedding dress policies:
You may take a wedding dress on board as carry-on as long as it fits within the hand luggage dimensions of 56 x 45 x 25cm. It must be stowed in the overhead lockers or under your seat and counts as your 1 piece of hand luggage.
If your wedding dress fits within cabin baggage dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and weighs under 10kg you can take it into the cabin with you. They do not have any storage facilities on board to hang or store your dress. As a result, it will be treated as cabin baggage and placed in the overhead lockers. If your wedding dress does not fit within the cabin baggage dimensions, then you must check it in as part of your hold baggage.
Alternatively, you can purchase an extra seat for the carriage of your wedding dress in the cabin.
To book an additional seat for your wedding dress:
Go to online booking and select 2 seats. The first seat should be booked in your name. For the second seat, you must enter ITEM SEAT as the Last Name and EXTRA as the First Name. The name EXTRA ITEM SEAT will then be displayed on the online boarding pass.
If you have booked an extra seat you should contact their call centre to ensure that your allocated seats are together.
Once onboard the aircraft cabin crew may be able to assist in hanging your dress or suit up. This cannot be guaranteed and is subject to available space. Consequently, it is recommended to pack your outfit to remain in its bag/box for the duration of the flight.
Wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, suits and kilts can be carried as hand luggage providing they meet the cabin baggage size and weight restrictions. The accepted size is 55 x 35 x 20cm. This will be classed as your one piece of cabin baggage. Alternatively, these items can be checked into the hold as part of your standard baggage allowance. It may be acceptable to take the item to the gate where the item will be taken by a member of ground staff to load into the aircraft hold. This is however subject to local airport procedures.
You can check your wedding outfit into the hold as part of your standard baggage allowance, taking care to ensure it is properly protected from damage and you have appropriate travel insurance in place. If the outfit is within the permitted hand baggage dimensions of 56x45x25cm and weighs less than 10kg, it can be carried onto the aircraft with you as your hand luggage allowance and will need to be stowed in the overhead locker.
A wedding dress may be carried as cabin baggage provided it fits the cabin baggage requirements. Each traveller is entitled to 1 piece of cabin baggage.Small items with maximum dimensions of 45 x 40 x 25 cm will get a green label and will be guaranteed to travel in the cabin under the seat in front of you. Larger items with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 25 cm will get a red label. These can be stowed in overhead luggage compartments where space is available. In the case that overhead compartments are full, your luggage will be transported in the hold for free. Alternatively, an extra seat can be booked via the Transavia call centre for your wedding dress. The seat may only be booked if the object including any packaging does not exceed 110 x 44 x 55 cm (h x w x d) and weighs no more than 20 kg. Furthermore, the dress must be placed on a seat next to the passenger who is transporting it, and it must always be placed on a seat next to the window. Finally, this seat may not be in the first row or in a row with an emergency exit due to safety reasons.
There is no additional baggage allowance given for wedding attire. Consequently, your dress should be either packed within the dimensions of hand baggage to be carried onboard, or packed for carriage in the hold.
You have two options for hand baggage:
(a) One piece of hand baggage no bigger than 56 x 40 x 25cm. No heavier than 10 kilos. In addition, a small duty-free bag from the departure airport is permitted. Or
(b) Two separate pieces of hand baggage with a combined size is no bigger than 56 x 40 x 25cm.
A combined weight no heavier than 10 kilos.
In addition, a small duty-free bag from the departure airport is permitted.
Bridal boutiques are great at advising how is best to transport your dress. Mine even helped me roll it up and pack it into a cabin approved suitcase! However you decide to travel with your wedding dress, make sure it’s safely packed. Also, make sure you’ve got insurance should any issues arise.