The TSA permits umbrellas in both checked baggage and carry on baggage.
You should have no problems getting through airport security with an umbrella.
But whether or not you can take your umbrella on the plane depends on which airline you are traveling with.
If you use a folding umbrella and pack it inside your carry on luggage allowance you will have no problems taking it with you inside the cabin.
But sometimes a folding umbrella doesn’t quite give you the shelter from rain that you need.
What if you want to carry on something larger like a golf umbrella or a walking cane umbrella?
US Airline Policies For Umbrellas
Often airlines allow you 1 carry on suitcase and 1 personal item such as a handbag or a briefcase. They sometimes also specify other items that are permitted on-board in addition to the one bag, one personal item allowance.
Let’s take a look at what the most popular airlines in the US have to say about umbrellas:
- Alaska Airlines – Umbrellas “may be brought onboard without counting toward your carry-on limit.” But they must be a “compact size that easily fits into an overhead bin, under the seat or in a suitcase”
- American Airlines – American Airlines don’t mention umbrellas in any of their documentation. We have reached out to American Airlines for comment. They do not provide any information regarding carrying on umbrellas. UPDATE FROM AA Customer Service: “Umbrellas are allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. It would be placed in the overhead bin and would not be considered an additional item, so no charge. Just like having a cane. Customer Relations AA Ref#1-28594064881″
- Delta – “The following items do not count as personal items (they’re freebies): A jacket and/or umbrella”. So you can carry your umbrella on to a Delta flight and it doesn’t need to be inside your case.
- Frontier – You don’t get any special allowance for an umbrella with Frontier. It needs to be under 18 inches to fit inside your personal item bag i.e. bring a compact umbrella that fits inside your handbag.
- Jetblue – JetBlue claim on their website that you are allowed to take an umbrella in addition to your carry-on and personal item. However, there are some reports on Twitter of umbrellas being refused boarding. To be on the safe side i’d take a compact umbrella.
- Southwest – “Walking canes or umbrellas are not considered carry on bags or a personal item and don’t count against the “one-bag plus one personal-type item” limit.” So you can take your walking cane or umbrella on Southwest. Also Southwest are all over Twitter saying you can bring your umbrella so long as you can fit it inside the overhead bin laying on top of other luggage. Though I did find one Twitter reply saying that your umbrella will count as your personal item if it can’t fit inside your personal item bag.
- Spirit Airlines – Spirit charge for carry on bags. They are not included in the basic fares. However they do say. “You can bring one personal item and bring items like an umbrella, camera, infant diaper bag, assistive devices, outer garments (e.g., coats, hats and wraps), reading material and food for the flight for no additional charge.” On Twitter is seems some gate staff don’t always follow these rules. I would try to take a compact umbrella with these guys though. They’re generally more restrictive with carry on baggage than other companies.
- United Airlines – “In addition to your one carry-on bag and personal item, you can bring… an umbrella.” No umbrella rage to be found on Twitter. It seems like you are good to go on United with your umbrella.
Here are some of the Tweets that we discovered during our research:
International Airline Umbrella Policies
There are too many airlines worldwide to list all the rules.
As a rule of thumb expensive international flights will allow carry on umbrellas.
Cheaper budget airlines are trying to squeeze more people on their flights and allow less free luggage.
If your flight is cheap you might not be able to take an over-sized umbrella. Check with your airline.
I hope you will see that we tried to be a detailed as we could with our guide to taking umbrellas as a carry-on.
If you can take a compact umbrella it’s probably best to do that. It will be easier for you if it will fit inside your bag.
If you have reasons that you must travel with a larger umbrella then try to choose an innocuous-looking one if possible. A golf umbrella with a dangerous looking spike at the end could get refused by any airline, and rightly so.
If it’s your first time traveling with a large umbrella I recommend contacting the airline and being prepared to check your bag if need be.
Let our readers know about your experiences taking an umbrella in the cabin in the comments. And please pin us on Pinterest or share somewhere it really helps. Thank you.