Is a Garment Bag a Personal Item?
by Albert Varkki updated 01-06-2023
You should pack your suit in a garment bag if you’re traveling to an important business meeting and need it to look just like when you picked it up from the dry cleaners.
But do clothing bags qualify as carry-ons (and would airlines make you pay for all other items as checked baggage)?
We started looking into this problem to provide you with a clear solution.
Garment Bags Count as Your CARRY-ON Bag
According to Onemileatatime.com, all American airlines consider a garment bag a carry-on rather than a personal item, irrespective of its size.
While it may sound absurd, this is supported by a number of US airline websites:
- American Airlines states "Soft-sided garment bags up to 51 inches / 130 cm (length + width + height) can also be taken as your carry-on item."
- Southwest Airlines doesnt' mention garment bags specifically.
- Delta - this Reddit thread suggests it will count as your carry-on bag.
- jetBlue seems to suggest it will count as your carry-on bag.
Best Option: Buy a Garment Carry-On Bag
Given the airline rules, the best option you have is to buy a carry-on bag that doubles as a garment bag.
Here is our top pick:
Product: Grand Leather Garment Bag
- Full grain leather
- Dedicated garment carrier.
- Carry a suit and shirt without creasing.
- Ideal for a wedding or work event.
- Large main compartment for other items.
- 16 inch laptop compartment.
- Adjustable shoulder strap.
- Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
- Handmade in Italy
- Can be personalized
Five Pointers for Picking a Garment Bag
You can avoid the nuisance and cost of having a garment bag (or another necessary item) taken as checked luggage on a flight by taking a few common sense steps and preparing ahead.
Here are the top five strategies for avoiding paying for your garment bag as checked luggage.
1. Get a rolling bag with a compartment for a garment bag
Some ideas for rolling luggage are made to make it easier for you to transport your outfit in a space that prevents creases. In fact, some have a removable or internal garment bag large enough to hold one or two suits. Since you don’t need to check more than one piece of onboard luggage, such adaptable designs provide even greater convenience.
2. Pick airlines that let you store your garment bag in an onboard closet
Some airlines offer special services for passengers who must maintain the flawless state of their suits. They provide a closet where you can hang your suit in its bag; this closet is often found in the front of the aircraft next to the pilot.
3. Think about getting wrinkle-resistant suits
There are suits available nowadays that are composed of a durable material that resists developing creases and wrinkles even when folded up. However, this might require choosing suits with highly synthetic fabrics.
People don’t often consider such outfits beautiful enough to wear for business. If you are not one of the few who do, you can safely store a wrinkle-free suit away with the rest of your travel necessities without suffering any adverse effects.
4. Select a durable garment bag
Garment bags are not designed to withstand the rigors of freight travel. You may be forced to check it in as you board the aircraft in specific circumstances.
If so, be sure to choose a type that can endure vigorous handling without compromising the impeccable quality of your dry-cleaned and well-pressed suit. These clothing bags are designed to be as durable as typical travel luggage.
5. Buy a Garment Steamer That You Can Carry
Even if you don’t carry your clothes in a garment bag, you won’t have to worry about ugly creases and wrinkles with a portable garment steamer. Your suit will be as spotless as when it just left the dry cleaners, thanks to the steamer’s ability to remove every wrinkle and crease.
However, there is a crucial caveat to utilizing a garment steamer. While a steamer can remove wrinkles, it is insufficient to replace professional dry cleaning and pressing of your clothing.
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We hope you enjoyed our article on is a garment bag a personal item?
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