Can You Bring Coat Hangers On A Plane? (TSA Dos and Don’ts)

People often travel for business or special events and may bring clothing that needs to be hung, such as coats, dresses, suits, or pressed shirts. 

When packing these items, some air travelers leave them on their hangers or choose to bring additional hangers, just in case there aren’t enough at their final destination.

Regardless of why you’ve got hangers in your bag, it’s important to know the best practices for bringing them on a plane.

According to the TSA, coat hangers are permitted in checked or carry-on luggage, but any item can be flagged, checked, or removed at their discretion. Any disfigured, blunt-edged or heavy hangers can be considered weapons and confiscated. To avoid any awkward situations with the TSA, it’s best to fly with intact plastic hangers.

The following explains how to bring coat hangers through security, how to pack different kinds of hangers, and whether items can be hung up during a flight.

Can You Bring Metal Coat Hangers Through Security?

A wooden coat hanger on a white background.

Coat hangers come in many forms, including plastic, metal, wooden, flocked, or cloth-covered.

Passengers are allowed to bring hangers in their carry-on luggage as long as they fit in the size of bag approved by the airline. 

While the TSA permits most coat hangers through security, they have the authority to deem any item unfit for boarding – and metal or wire hangers tend to raise the most concern.

Coat hangers that are disfigured, heavy, or have sharp edges can be flagged as potential threats.

Since metal or wire coat hangers are easily manipulated and have sharp ends, they could attract unwanted attention from TSA agents.

As such, while you can bring metal or wire coat hangers on a plane, traveling with plastic is usually better. 

Can You Pack Coat Hangers in Checked Luggage?

The TSA allows travelers to pack coat hangers in their checked luggage.

Packing hangers in a checked suitcase is usually best for anyone traveling with several hangers, metal hangers, or anyone boarding an international flight. 

That said, some airlines have rules regarding coat hangers or their materials. 

For example, certain airlines prohibit metal objects of any kind in checked baggage.

This prohibition can be a rule for all flights or a restriction at particular destinations.

Before packing for an international flight, travelers must always double-check airline policies and the customs regulations at their arrival city – even if they intend on putting certain things in their checked bags.  

How to Pack Coat Hangers for Air Travel

White coat hangers, black clothes, and gold earrings are on the carpeted floor.

Determining how to pack coat hangers for air travel depends on the type of hangers.

How to Pack Plastic Coat Hangers for Air Travel

Those traveling with plastic coat hangers should consider bringing them in their hand luggage – as long as their carry-on bag is within the airline’s size and weight limits.

Plastic hangers are the most likely to break, especially when compressed or handled roughly. 

Keeping plastic hangers in a carry-on gives passengers more control over their bags and could allow them to hang certain items during the flight (if the airline permits).

How to Pack Heavy or Metal Coat Hangers for Air Travel

Travelers should strategically pack heavier items like metal hangers in their checked luggage.

Passengers can stack their hangers together and secure them at the neck with a rubber band to keep them together or lay them loosely in a layer between other items.

Since metal or wire hangers can have sharp ends, cautious packers can fold a cloth or a towel over them to avoid damaging their clothing. 

Alternatively, it’s also possible to pack items already hung on hangers.

Travelers can use suitcases or garment bags with special hooks for hangers; otherwise, items on hangers can be folded in half (or thirds) and stacked neatly to maximize space and minimize creasing. 

What Is the Best Coat Hanger to Bring on a Plane?

The best coat hanger to bring on a plane is small, light, and hazard-free. 

Generally speaking, plastic, foldable coat hangers are ideal for travelers – they take up the least amount of space and are the least likely to be flagged by the TSA.

Can You Hang Clothing During a Flight?

Brown coat and brown shirt on a hanger.

Some travelers may need to hang clothing items, such as wedding gowns, suits, or coats, during their flight.

Fortunately, many larger US airlines allow guests to store garment bags in a coat closet, while others have special areas for hanging coats or suit jackets. 

Airlines with closets include Alaska, American, Delta, and United; however, United often reserves its coat closet for business or first-class passengers.

Others, like American Airlines, prioritize the closet space for items like wheelchairs that don’t fit in overhead storage. 

When traveling with delicate items that need to be hung, speak to the airline before booking to ensure they can accommodate you. 

Should You Bring Coat Hangers on a Plane?

Whether or not you should bring coat hangers on a plane depends on two factors: necessity and space.

For example, most accommodations (e.g., hotels or Airbnbs) supply guests with hangers and can usually provide more if required.  

Additionally, if clothing gets wrinkled, travelers will often have access to an iron and ironing board at their final destination. 

That said, some garments may have a special hanger that helps keep the item’s shape and prevents damage. 

In that case, bringing that specific hanger (and leaving the rest at home) may be useful. 

The other things to consider when packing for any flight are the airline’s size and weight limitations for both carry-on and checked baggage. 

Hangers can take up a lot of room in a suitcase and can make it heavier than it needs to be. 


The TSA allows passengers to bring coat hangers on planes in checked or carry-on luggage; however, they will confiscate any potentially dangerous items at their discretion.

To avoid any unwanted attention, air travelers should pack heavy, metal, or wire hangers in checked bags.

Plastic hangers are best for carry-on luggage as they are lightweight and generally don’t arouse suspicion.

When deciding whether to pack hangers, it’s important to know any airline or customs restrictions as well as the size and weight limits for both your hand luggage and checked bags. 

If you have any questions about bringing coat hangers on a plane, contact the airline for more information.