Can You Bring Stuffed Animals On A Plane? (TSA Dos and Don’ts)

Stuffed animals can be more than just a toy: they’re a source of comfort, a treasured souvenir, or a trusted companion. 

Since flying can make people – especially younger travelers – nervous, stuffed animals are a great way to help manage stress and make a trip cozier.

Stuffed animals are allowed in carry-on or checked luggage on most flights. However, any stuffed toy that seems suspicious or dangerous can be flagged and removed at the discretion of airport security. Any stuffed animals brought on board a flight must fit in the airline’s overhead bins or underneath the seats.

This article outlines how to bring stuffed animals on a plane and which are best for air travel.

Can You Bring Stuffed Animals in Carry-On Luggage?

Pink stuffed teddy bear in a purple bag with a stuffed unicorn keychain.

Stuffed animals are generally allowed in carry-on luggage if they meet airline policies.

Most airlines allow passengers to carry stuffed animals as a carry-on or personal item as long as they fit inside the aircraft’s overhead bins, under the seat, and/or on the passenger’s lap.

Stuffed animals with batteries may be permitted through security; however, some airlines restrict battery-operated items, so confirm what’s allowed before heading to the airport. 

Weighted stuffed animals are also allowed onboard most aircraft if they meet the airline’s specific size, weight, and safety regulations. 

Travelers should confirm with their airline the size and weight limits for personal and carry-on items before packing their bags – oversized or overweight luggage may be subject to additional fees or may need to be checked at the gate.

Baggage restrictions are often posted online; however, you can call the airline if you have questions.

Additionally, guests traveling with younger children should let them know their stuffed friend will likely go through the x-ray machine at security. 

They can inform their children that their toy will be fine and that security agents are just checking there is nothing harmful inside – this keeps everyone safe at the airport and on the plane. 

Can You Pack Stuffed Animals in Checked Luggage?

Passengers are also permitted to pack stuffed animals in their checked luggage.

Checking stuffed toys comes in handy if they are too large for a carry-on.

Some airlines have previously allowed larger stuffed animals to occupy vacant or purchased seats alongside their owners. 

However, airlines usually insist that travelers check stuffed animals too big or irregularly shaped to fit in the seat.

Keep in mind that if the airline permits travelers to check overweight or oversized stuffed animals, they usually cost additional baggage fees.

How to Pack Stuffed Animals in Checked Luggage

When packing a stuffed animal inside checked bags, passengers must follow the airline’s size and weight restrictions. 

Flyers can pack their favorite stuffed animals extra carefully by wrapping them in fabric, towels, or bubble wrap to protect them from potential damage from other items.

If the stuffed animal takes up a substantial amount of room in a suitcase, travelers can roll their clothes to free up space or consider packing the plushie in a vacuum-sealed bag. 

In rare instances, a stuffed animal might be so large that it requires its own bag, which may be subject to additional baggage fees.

The Pros and Cons of Bringing Stuffed Animals on a Plane

Stuffed animals on a white background.

Bringing a stuffed animal on a plane has some advantages and disadvantages that flyers might want to consider before catching their flight.

Pros of Bringing Stuffed Animals on a Plane

Stuffed animals can console people of all ages, making them ideal travel buddies.

Passengers (especially children) bringing their stuffies on planes like to have them during turbulence, to share the adventure with, and to soothe tantrums or discomfort. 

Some stuffed toys also can double as travel pillows, making sleeping on long flights slightly more comfortable.

Additionally, stuffed animals purchased during a trip make the flight home more enjoyable and double as a tangible memory to look back on. 

Cons of Bringing Stuffed Animals on a Plane

The biggest issue when bringing a stuffed animal on a plane is losing it. 

No one wants to consider this scenario, but it happens more often than people think.

Younger travelers with stressed and tired parents can leave their stuffed animals in the trays at security or wedged beneath the plane’s seats. 

Another thing to consider, especially with babies and toddlers, is how dirty airplanes can be. 

Plushies often go from the security trays to the airport floor to the plane floor to a young child’s face or mouth.

Travelers can avoid picking up every germ between their home and their destination by packing the stuffed animal in checked luggage or omitting the toy from travel altogether.

What Happens if You Lose Your Stuffed Animal?

Passengers that lose their stuffed animal at security should speak to an officer and double-check the area before boarding their flight.

If the traveling party is already on the plane, they may contact airport security about the lost item.

Travelers who misplaced their stuffed animal somewhere in the airport can check the lost and found, speak to the ticket agent, or notify their airline in case it was left at the gate.

Items left on planes are harder to retrieve, but passengers can contact their airline regardless and see what the options are.

The Best Stuffed Animal To Bring on a Plane

The best stuffed animal to bring on a plane is small, doesn’t have batteries, and is not super valuable.

Small stuffed toys can be brought on planes with virtually no obstacles, whether carried in hand or tucked away in a purse or backpack.

These tiny inanimate travelers are then easily accessible to nervous passengers and don’t take up any extra space. 

If a stuffed animal is highly regarded – whether in terms of monetary or sentimental value  – losing or damaging the toy may provoke tears or even ruin a vacation. 


Stuffed animals are usually permitted either in carry-on or checked luggage. 

When carrying on a stuffed animal, remember that security agents have the right to confiscate it if it’s considered potentially dangerous.

If passengers want to bring their stuffed animals on the plane as personal or carry-on items, the toy must fit inside the airline’s overhead bins, on the passenger’s lap, or underneath the seat.

Before packing any bags, travelers should contact their airline for up-to-date information on how to bring stuffed animals on their flight.