Last Updated on April 15, 2020
Packing can be stressful, especially if you have a special garment to pack.
And when you reach your destination you want to be sure that you have a clothes hanger to let your garment hang and any wrinkles to fall out.
This post looks at the rules around taking all types of clothes hangers onto airplanes. There is also a special bonus tip at the end.
Let’s get started.
TSA Rules On Flying With Hangers
There are many types of clothes hangers. e.g. wire hangers, wooden hangers, plastic hangers, yarn covered hangers etc etc
So perhaps the question ‘can you take hangers on a plane?” depends on the type of hanger…
When I checked the TSA website and they only mention “coat hangers”. So we can be sure that “coat hangers” are allowed in carryon bags and in checked bags.
To get a definitive answer about wire hangers, wooden hangers, and plastic hangers I took to Twitter to see if anyone had already asked the @AskTSA service specifically about them. It didn’t take me long to find an answer.
Pablo asked the questions and the TSA replied.
“No worries! Wire hangers are allowed in carry-on bags.”
And Joe who wanted to take a suit hanger got an answer about all types:
TSA — “Most hangers; wood, metal & plastic, are allowed in carry-on bags”
It seems like the Transportation Security Administration are quite relaxed about coat hangers in checked baggage and checked luggage.
But that phrase “most hangers” troubled me. Was there a type of hanger that wouldn’t be allowed on a plane?
I kept digging…
I noticed that a metal hanger might raise a few more eyebrows like happened to Sam:
And I saw that plastic hangers might not survive intact if you pack them in your checked luggage. Those TSA agents need to work quickly to inspect checked luggage and plastic coat hangers could be damaged.
But here is why @AskTSA said “most hangers” and not “all hangers”:
The final decision about what is or isn’t allowed into the cabin always lies with the TSA officer if they search your bag.
The only type of hanger that might not be allowed in a plane would be something that could potentially be used as a weapon.
For example, if it had sharpened edges or was exceptionally heavy.
To illustrate, a regular skillet is permitted in your carry on but a cast iron skillet is banned because you can use it as a bludgeon.
So any hanger that you could use as a bludgeon to knock someone out might end up not getting through airport security.
Case in point, the TSA recommended these towel racks were packed in checked luggage and not carry on luggage.
As the TSA says, “Items that can be used as a bludgeon aren’t allowed through the security checkpoint.”
I would bet that these cast iron hangers would be confiscated by the TSA:
So if for some strange reason your hanger or coat hook is exceptionally heavy and you could effectively bludgeon someone with it you might have a problem.
But otherwise, most standard wire hangers, wooden hangers and plastic hangers are not prohibited in your carry-on.
So you won’t need to worry about meeting a Joan Crawford character working at the TSA checkpoint.
Wire hangers are allowed in your hand luggage!
How To Pack Hangers In Your Suitcase
Now that we have established that you can take hangers on a plane I wanted to draw attention to something called travel hangers.
Since space in carryon bags is limited some bright sparks have invented collapsing clothes hangers.
These are plastic clothes hangers designed to take up as little space in your suitcase as possible. They are lightweight and if you are set on packing hangers in your suitcase you might want to consider them.
Another Reason To Bring A Hanger On A Plane
I have one bonus tip that I wanted to mention about why it’s a good reason to bring your own hanger into the cabin.
You might not have known but if you are flying with a special garment you might be able to hang it up in the closet during your flight.
Simply ask your airline if they have space in the closet when you are boarding. This can really help to stop a wedding dress or a good suit from getting into a wrinkled mess so pack coat hangers so you can potentially hang your special garment.
Here are some of your favorite airlines talking about “the closet”.
American Airlines have a closet and you can sometimes hang clothes in there if they have space.
Delta also sometimes allows people to use hang clothes during their flight. Again, it depends if there is free space or not.
Southwest doesn’t have closets onboard. So if you are flying with Southwest maybe you don’t need your coat hangers.
United have them but sometimes can be snarky about regular muggles using them. Hanging jackets is sometimes a service reserved for only 1st class passengers.
Coat hangers are allowed in hand luggage unless they are exceptionally heavy and dangerous looking.
Standard wire, plastic or wooden hangers are permitted in carry-on bags and checked bags.
You might want to consider folding travel hangers to save space in your luggage.
If you are flying with a special garment be sure to ask if you can hang it up in the closet.
I am unaware of any aviation authority worldwide that bans clothes hangers in carry on baggage. So you should be good for international travel too!
Do you have any tips about how to pack hangers in your carry on luggage? Did anyone ever have their hanger confiscated by the TSA?
Let us know in the comments below!