So you're a bride-to-be travelling with a wedding dress in tow, how do you carry it?
“Whatever you do, do not check it in!” This is a response that a woman got as she tried to figure out the best way to travel with her wedding dress to Kenya.
With many couples opting for destination weddings, one of the most asked question to airlines is how to make sure a wedding dress stays in tip-top shape throughout the flight and travel.
If you are flying with your wedding dress, call the airline well in advance to understand your options.
You can carry it as carry-on luggage, ask the flight attendant to put in the pilot's closet, book an extra seat for the gown or check it in and really hope the luggage does not reach after the wedding!
Most people opt to pack their wedding dresses, shoes and veils as carry-ons.
Some accommodating flight attendants can help find a space for it. They either hang it or place it carefully in an overhead compartment or lay it on top of other luggage.
“I carried mine as a carry-on in a KLM flight and they hang it up in the captain's closet. But when you arrive, stash it somewhere in your suitcases otherwise you will pay customs duty,” said Lorna Njeri.
However before you give it to the crew, ensure it is labelled to avoid mix-up. You may end up going home with another person's wedding dress.
Airlines may provide facilities to store wedding gowns but you have to alert them beforehand.
Some travellers pack theirs in garment travel bags and take the dress to the laundry for steaming once they arrive.
A wedding dress attracts taxes but most people have found ways to bypass paying duty.
“Remove the tag. Or just say it is a gift. Do not have anything showing it is straight from the store where you bought it from. Don’t declare it. Hide it your husband’s carry on,” advises one traveller.
Turkish Airlines explains that a bride can take the dress as carry-on baggage in both economy and business class. However, if you take your wedding dress with you as carry-on baggage in economy class, you will not be able to bring any other carry-on baggage, but in the business, you can carry a second carry-on baggage along with your wedding dress.
If you have extra cash and want to play it safe, purchase a seat on the plane for the gown.
British Airways recommends, one to call at least 24 hours before the flight to see if there is an appropriate seat available to book and the cost.
With the extra seat, you'll be able to board before other passengers so that you have enough time to secure it in place.
But whichever method you go for, remember to pack up the wedding dress in a garment bag and preferably bring a steamer or have it steamed to smooth out any wrinkles once you reach your destination.