Devoted May 2016

Travel with Dress

olivebranch, on April 5, 2016 at 6:51 PM Posted in Wedding Attire 0 26
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Does anyone have recommendations for a garment bag that can accommodate a wedding dress and be a carry-on? My dress is full length and bulky at the bottom. I'm flying Spirit and I know they are notoriously stingy about overhead space and carry-on size. I doubt they will hang it in the captain's closet if they even have one.

Ideally it would be something that can be folded over and won't be forced to be checked at the counter.



  • Ololufe
    VIP August 2016
    Ololufe ·

    Honestly, i wouldn't fly spirit lol. Didn't the store you bought your dress from give you a garment bag? I know Southwest will hang it for you if you ask. Spirit is way too stingy for that.

  • Kristy
    Master November 2015
    Kristy ·

    I would book with someone else who won't give you a hard time. I've had to travel with bulky winter coats in a garment bag before and I was fine. If they won't let you bring it on, you're screwed. Perhaps fold it over in a suitcase by itself, pay the fee, and check it. I would be nervous to check something so important though. If you must fly Spirit, perhaps it might be better to ship the address before you leave? I don't know...

  • OriginalLaura
    Master March 2017
    OriginalLaura ·

    Dont fly spirit. I had a friend that traveled with her ball gown and she had to buy it a seat.

  • Sangele
    Master April 2016
    Sangele ·

    If it's not a backpack, Spirit will make you check it or pay a ridiculous fee to bring it on as a carry on. Honestly it might be cheaper to change airlines if Spirit charges you (they will) to bring the dress on.

  • meetthesheets2016
    Devoted October 2016
    meetthesheets2016 ·

    I agree. You get what you pay for on those discount airlines. We live in Georgia but are getting married in Cincinnati and I made sure to buy my dress in Cincy and I'm leaving it at my parents so I don't have to worry about it. If there isn't an option to get it to the location for storing before you fly, I would change airlines.

  • olivebranch
    Devoted May 2016
    olivebranch ·

    I was hoping to see recommendations for a fold-over garment bag. I bought the dress at David's Bridal; their garment bag is a piece of junk and cumbersome as hell. Maybe I'll carefully pack the dress in a small suitcase that I always carry-on with Spirit. Chiffon can be steamed, right?

    While the suggestions to book with a different airline are helpful, I actually prefer Spirit. Not to be argumentative, but travel between DFW/BOS is expensive. AA out of DFW has a 65% on-time rate. The few times in recent years that I flew on AA, the plane sat on the runway for one or more hours, or diverted to Waco, or circled over Boston due to poor planning with gates. They have misdirected my bags TWICE (to Chicago) on BOS direct flights. WTF

    (Also, AA cut their pensions drastically and screwed legacy employees out of their retirement money. I can't support AA.)

    I get what everyone is saying about Spirit; there are definitely legit horror stories. I've learned how to navigate their system of fees, and fly so often on the same flight that the attendants seem to remember me. Maybe they will be kind.

    I paid Spirit $312 total for both of us (including seats, 1 checked and 2 carry-on within their approved size). That's the price of ONE ticket on American (before their bag fees). Southwest almost never has fares below $600, even the "get away" (unless I want to fly to Waco first). They also fly out of an inconvenient airport, my fiancé works at DFW, free parking, etc.

    *Sometimes I get lucky with JetBlue, but not this time.*

    The cost to change is astronomical. Again, not trying to be argumentative, just backing up my logic for choosing Spirit.

    I appreciate the suggestion of checking it in a suitcase but I don't trust ANY airline; murphy's law. I did consider shipping it, but that also gives me major anxiety. I can't bear to let it out of my sight.

    I suppose the small bag might be my best option. Unless anyone can still suggest a smallish garment bag to fold over once?

    @Amanda - Spirit charges $21 to carry on and $25 to check bags. AA charges $25 for a checked bag as well. Even with Spirit bag fees, I find fares for at least $100-$200 cheaper than other airlines. It's all relative.

    @Meet...very smart to buy your dress at your wedding destination. In hindsight, I wish I'd done that too! I don't know why it didn't occur to me. Would have been much easier. Alas.

    Thank you for the feedback.

  • Courtney N.
    Super May 2017
    Courtney N. ·

    I definitely wouldn't have it be a checked bag. My aunt did that for her destination wedding in Hawaii, the dress was destroyed in the process. Not entirely sure how, but you can imagine her panic when she found out what had happened two days before her wedding.

    Perhaps you can talk to David's Bridal, see if they're capable of shipping your gown to another store location where you're flying to? That would be my first idea to look into. Otherwise, you may have to place it in a carry on, or worse yet, just purchase an additional seat for it.

  • amytherese
    Super July 2016
    amytherese ·

    However you do it, make sure you steam it professionally. It would be awful to ruin the dress after working so hard to get it there!

    And I totally agree with you about AA!! I live by DFW and never fly AA anymore.

  • Punkin Beer
    Master October 2017
    Punkin Beer ·

    @Courtney N., how was your aunt's dress destroyed? Legitimately curious.

  • EleanorRigby
    VIP May 2016
    EleanorRigby ·

    Why don't you ship it?

  • Natalie
    Master September 2016
    Natalie ·

    My fiancé is captain for spirit airlines. I can always ask him if there's anything they would do for a situation like yours. I know the airline can be....I'll bite my tongue lol

  • -R-
    Super September 2016
    -R- ·

    Unless you already paid at the time of booking for extra luggage, you're already going to need to pay another $100 minimum to bring this dress.

  • olivebranch
    Devoted May 2016
    olivebranch ·

    @ Rachel -- I already paid (in advance) for both my carry on (which will be the dress only, come hell or high water) and checked luggage.

    @ Natalie -- I GREATLY SINCERELY appreciate if you could check with your fiancé. Having a real answer from someone who flies the damn plane would be excellent! Do they have a captain's closet? I love Spirit so I'm just seriously hoping it works out. I only have kind words for them. Except for that one time when I saw that an entire crew didn't show up for a flight to LA. That was a dick move.

    @ Ostricher & @ Courtney -- I would never dream of checking it; no way! I didn't think to ask David's if they can ship it for me; I suppose I could take it to UPS and watch the package like a hawk as it navigates through the system. I wouldn't be able to sleep, I'm sure. (Side note: maybe FedEx instead. UPS LOST a 100 gallon barrel of olive oil that took a six-month journey from Crete and promptly disappeared the minute it was turned over to UPS.)

  • OriginalLaura
    Master March 2017
    OriginalLaura ·

    I don't fly out of DFW period. The reason spirit is "so good" there is because DFW is an equally horrible airport. You may be "saving money" but to get a wedding dress professionally steamed will be over $200 dollars.

    ETA Also if you don't care what people say about flying spirit, don't mention the airport. I don't understand when people get so ruffed up because of a detail they mentioned that doesn't even matter to the question.

  • the_legalista
    Expert November 2016
    the_legalista ·

    I'm not sure how long your dress is, but I am purchasing this 60" garment bag. It has a ton of great reviews on Amazon and ebags for wedding dress travel.


    This is another more expensive one but it is 66".


    Good luck! I'm flying with my gown in November and nervous about all of this carry on business too!

  • Bee
    Master April 2017
    Bee ·

    Place items you currently have planned for one of the carryon into a check in bag. Place the folded dress into the now empty carryon. I would rather pay the extra $25 to check in an additional bag if it meant I could carryon an expensive wedding dress. Wouldn't risk loosing the dress since it's harder to replace than anything else you pack.

    This is obviously if you can't end up hanging the dress. Call the airline to inquire about this. Call multiple times (different dates and hours) so you can ask more than 1 customer service person.

  • olivebranch
    Devoted May 2016
    olivebranch ·

    @OG - I literally did not expect the thread to devolve into rabbit hole of airport/airline complaints. If anything, was looking for actual bag recommendation and/or experience from anyone who has carried their dress onto Spirit without issues.

    Meanwhile, I have no other choice but to fly out of DFW. Love Field is not an option (until Virgin gets their act together and opens up routes to BOS). I will say, departing BOS is a breeze. DFW on any airline, not so much. Even my fiancé complains about the mess over there.

    @ Legalista -- THANK YOU. Mine is about 60" as well. I'll take a closer look at the two bags you linked. Not sure about a tri-fold though; do you think that would add more creases?

    I fly in 33 days (OMG). Will report back with successful story of carrying on.

    Still paging @Natalie. Come back!

    @amytherese -- My seamstress on this end (AMAZING btw if you need a recommendation) is giving it back to me fully pressed and ready to go. I have another seamstress in Boston who will take care of it when I arrive. Family friend, have known her for years.

  • Barbara
    Master September 2014
    Barbara ·

    I think your best bet is to wrap it in muslin, and them roll it up rather than trying to fold it, into a legit carry-on. And then steam after arrival. Even with the best airlines, use of the captain's closet is entirely up to the flight attendant's discretion, and you definitely don't want to risk checking it.

    I steamed my gown myself by putting it in the bathroom with the shower running, and using a travel steamer (with cheese cloth over the nozzle to prevent drips) for more stubborn wrinkles. My dress was tulle and polyester taffeta, though, which are a little hardier than chiffon, so you may want to spot test ahead of time. Also, it takes a lot of time and patience (I'm guessing your dress has several layers), so you should start as early as possible after your arrival, and let your dress hang from a closet door or somewhere high until you have to wear it. ETA: typed this before I saw you had someone in Boston to steam--even better!

    Good luck!

  • olivebranch
    Devoted May 2016
    olivebranch ·

    @Tulip -- already paid for the carry-on for the dress (and checked bags as well). Aside from my purse, it's the only thing I want to deal with on the plane (my shoes and accessories are going into fiancé's carry-on).

    I'll take your advice and call Spirit on a regular basis.

  • olivebranch
    Devoted May 2016
    olivebranch ·

    @Barbara -- that is an EXCELLENT suggestion (muslin). The dress is one layer of chiffon over a single layer of taffeta. I work with chiffon a lot (vintage lingerie sales) so I'm familiar with the steaming but taffeta was a concern. I think I'll hang it up and air it out, but otherwise take it to my lady just in case.

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