Can You Bring Umbrellas on a Plane?

Packing to go away on holiday can be a really stressful time before the main event and knowing what you can and cannot carry in your luggage can be confusing. Even items that you may not think would be, could be seen as a potential threat by aviation authorities, and there are often restrictions to what you can bring with you because of this. Naturally, an umbrella is an item you may want to pack when going on holiday, especially if you’re not sure of the weather you can expect at your destination, but it’s also confusing to know whether you can take an umbrella on a plane.

can you take umbrellas on a plane

Why Wouldn’t You Be Allowed to Take Umbrellas in Carry-On Luggage?

There are several reasons why you may not be able to take an umbrella in the cabin with you as part of your carry-on allowance.

  • It can be seen as a weapon. Whilst most airlines don’t have a problem with you carrying an umbrella in the hold, it is important to take into consideration the characteristics of your umbrella before you travel, and if this could be considered a threat or not to safety. If it is pointed, has sharp edges or ends, then you are likely to struggle. If the handle is also made of metal, this is likely to cause extra inspection and may even be taken away from you at security.
  • It doesn’t fit the size requirements. Generally, if your umbrella exceeds 50-55cm in length (though this can vary per airline) it will not be allowed in your carry-on luggage, therefore it’s a wise idea to travel with an umbrella that folds down small, or even a specific umbrella designed for travel like this one. There are generally no weight restrictions, it is mostly length that is the problem as this will need to go in the overhead locker – this is much the same as the reason you may not be able to take hiking poles on a plane with you.
  • It could damage airport equipment. If you take your umbrella loose in the side of your backpack and it falls out in the airport scanner, it could get stuck on the machinery and cause problems and hold ups, Therefore, if travelling with an umbrella in your hand luggage, it’s always wise to have this packed away in your suitcase or travel bags, or put it into one of the provided trays/bins that pass through the scanner to avoid any problems.

So, Can I Bring Umbrellas on a Plane as Carry-On Luggage?

Whilst it is generally regarded as OK to travel with an umbrella in your hand luggage, it isn’t always completely straight forward, and the reasons we’ve listed above are the most common reasons why you may have your umbrella confiscated at the airport. It’s also worth checking what the guidelines from country to country say about travelling with an umbrella.

USA – What Does the TSA Say About Umbrellas?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that you can bring your umbrella in your hand luggage, but with special instructions, and this is related to size. They recommend that you check with your airline directly to find out if they will allow you to travel in the cabin with an umbrella and the specific size they will accept. However, the final decision is with a TSA officer as to whether you can bring an umbrella or not, and they will check for sharp points at security.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/umbrellas

The UK – What Are the UK Government’s Regulations Concerning Umbrellas in Hand Luggage?

The Gov.UK website states that it is fine to travel with an umbrella in hand luggage without any need to check with your airline, and you are of course free to travel with it in the hold too.

https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions

Europe – What Are the EU’s Guidelines Regarding Umbrellas?

The EU guidelines do not specify on whether you can bring an umbrella on a plane directly, but it is not listed in their outline of forbidden items. They have a list of items with a sharp point or sharp edge, and it is not included here, nor are they included in the blunt instruments section. Logically, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed you travel with an umbrella in your carry-on, but this is of course down to a security officer’s discretion. Due to the size of some umbrellas, it is advised to travel with a smaller umbrella that can be folded down, and to try and ensure its placement inside your backpack or travel bags to avoid problems.

https://transport.ec.europa.eu/document/download/ccc90f5a-0010-464e-b90b-23142ea4e2e8_en?filename=info_travellers_hand_luggage.pdf

Australia – Does the ABF Have Laws About Umbrellas?

Similar to the EU above, Australia doesn’t list umbrellas specifically as an item that you cannot take with you on a plane. Quite a long time ago, their list included many things you can take in your hand luggage today, such as nail clippers, tweezers and lighters but it has been updated and they are no longer included, alongside many other items like umbrellas. With this in mind, if your umbrella has no sharp edges or points and more so if it folds down small, you should be fine travelling in the cabin with it. You do need to keep in mind, as always, the final decision is with the security officer checking your bags.  

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/travelsecure-subsite/Pages/Items-you-cannot-take-on-plane.aspx

New Zealand – What Are the CAA of New Zealand’s Rules About Umbrellas?

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) clearly states in its helpful dropdown list of items to be considered that umbrellas have no restrictions for either hand luggage or checked luggage and you are free to travel with them. Given this, you are not subject to any restrictions on being able to take your umbrella with you.

https://www.aviation.govt.nz/passenger-information/what-can-i-bring/

Canada – What Does the CBSA Say About Umbrellas?

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) clearly states that there are no restrictions at all on carrying an umbrella in either your hand luggage or checked luggage – so you are free to travel with an umbrella and there do not appear to be any restrictions on size either.

https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/what-can-bring/item/umbrellas

The Rest of the World

If you’re travelling to different areas in the world outside those listed above, then the simplest thing to do is to check with your airline to see if they have any specific regulations about bringing an umbrella with you in your carry on and hand baggage. However, most airlines will allow you to travel with an umbrella in your hand luggage, and only some have restrictions on the length this can be.

What’s the Best Advice for Travelling on a Plane with Umbrellas?

If you can, we would always advise you to travel with your umbrella in your checked luggage, much the same as you would for many other items like batteries, electric toothbrushes, razors, hiking poles and even scissors. Even though many countries state that you are fine to travel with an umbrella in the cabin, it is still up to the security officer to decide whether to let you travel with a certain item and whether they deem it a threat to the safety of other passengers.

It is important to keep in mind that if you travel with an umbrella in your carry-on bags, you could lose it, and it could be confiscated – this is of course not ideal and packing it into your checked bag will help to secure your item. If it was expensive, you don’t want to run the risk of losing it. If you really need an umbrella but don’t want to lose the one you have, you could always look at buying a cheap one specifically for travelling and choose one that packs down small too, as this is less likely to cause any alarms at the airport.

If you do need to travel with an umbrella in your hand luggage, here are some steps you can take to ensure you are most likely to be able to take the item with you and pass security.

  • Make sure it can’t be used as a weapon. If in any doubt, travel with a small, compact, and foldable umbrella. One that wraps up neatly is a bonus. If possible, always pack this in your actual hand luggage. This will also help with putting your bags into the cabin overhead bins, and some airlines do have restrictions on the length of umbrella you can bring.
  • Ensure there are no sharp edges that could cause injury. If your umbrella is particularly old, there may be some sharp parts that have appeared over time, this is the sort of thing that will come up in an inspection by a security officer, so make sure there are no areas that could snag or cause harm.
  • Ensure they can’t damage scanning equipment. Make sure you pack your umbrella in your bag or suitcase for scanning at the airport to prevent it from falling out and being able to get caught in machinery. If trays/bins are available and your umbrella is loose, always make sure it goes in a tray rather than just placing loose on the conveyor. This may slow things down and could cause tension at the airport, which you don’t want!

What Happens If Your Umbrella Is Flagged by Airport Security?

If your bag or the tray with your umbrella in is flagged at security, it is important to stay calm. Once this has been flagged it will be taken off and moved to a holding area – if you are worried about the time of your flight and are running late, you can try and have a word with one of the security staff. Though it is important to remember they are under no obligation to help you skip a line and this will be under the judgement of how full the terminal is at that point and the officer. Always remain friendly as this is more likely to have you seen quicker.

The security officer will usually ask you about the item that was flagged and may ask you to empty the contents of your bag if needed. They are not trying to slow you down, and it’s important to remember they are just doing their job to keep everyone safe. If they do decide that you cannot keep your umbrella, there is no point in being rude or arguing, and you may find that your politeness will go a long way.

If your umbrella is removed, it will usually be given over to the airline and they might allow you to collect the item, though sometimes this can be at a cost, and they may only hold it for a small amount of time before it’s disposed of.

This is why it is always best to travel with a cheaper umbrella in case this happens, and you can also make this easier by travelling with an umbrella that is small, compact and easily put away.

How to Pack Umbrellas in Your Luggage

There are certain ways in which you can ensure you pack your umbrella when travelling to make sure you arrive at your destination with it. This is a little different for carrying your umbrella in your hand luggage to what it is for your checked or hold baggage.

Packing Umbrellas in Carry-On Luggage

One of the easiest ways to travel through the airport with your umbrella is to make sure it is stored safely in your luggage. If travelling with a carry-on suitcase, place your umbrella inside, and this is something you can always do if needed on the day of travel. You could carry a plastic bag or drybag and wrap the wet umbrella in it before placing in your luggage.

If using a backpack, you should put this inside it if possible. If it is wet or has been raining and you’ve been using it, if you have a side compartment, such as where you’d put your water bottle, you could carry this in the side. When you come to the scanner, make sure you put the umbrella in a tray, or your full backpack with this in the side in a tray with no option for it to fall out and cause obstruction to the scanner.

Packing Umbrellas in Hold Luggage

Generally, there are no massive points to consider when it comes to checking a bag into hold luggage containing an umbrella. If you need to use your umbrella on the way to the airport, you could always leave a zipped compartment free on the front of your suitcase, with a bag, or small dry bag inside to add your umbrella before travelling. Though if doing this, be mindful that a wet umbrella will increase the weight of your luggage more than a dry one.

Otherwise, simply placing your umbrella inside the main compartment of your suitcase should be all you need to do – and just wrap it inside with some other clothes or soft items so as to ensure it doesn’t scuff your suitcase or bend in any way during transit.

What Are the Different Types of Umbrellas?

There are various types of umbrellas available now, and generally the main difference is their size, but mostly their packed size. They come in different materials, fabrics and some have different patterns and styles to suit those who want something a little more fashionable.

  • Classic umbrella: This is one of the most common umbrella types you’ll find, and it usually has a wood, metal or polyester shaft. The canopy (the thing that keeps the rain off) is usually made of plastic/microfiber and it is becoming common for these to be made of recycled materials.
  • Pocket: These are generally very small (and the type we’d recommend the most when it comes to travelling on a plane with an umbrella). They can be stowed very small and are great for travelling with, but they are not always designed for strong winds and prolonged rain.
  • Automatic: These types of umbrellas usually have a button to press that opens them in one motion and this can be done with one hand. They are usually quite small so fit well into a backpack or bag.
  • Golf: These are used by golfers – the canopy usually offers a big diameter to keep large areas dry for prolonged periods. As a result, they are often very large to stow too, and are designed to be carried in a golf bag or caddy.
  • Storm: These are made to withstand strong winds and rain and are extremely durable.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is usually possible to take an umbrella on a plane with you in your hand luggage if it meets the general requirements of airlines and the country you’re travelling to or through. It’s worth checking both your in and out point before you travel, but as a general rule, the smaller the umbrella, the more likely you are to pass security with it in your hand luggage.

Most security officers are looking out for objects that could cause harm or obstruction, so making sure the umbrella you carry is free from these and packed safely and securely in your hand luggage will make a huge difference. As some countries do have some restrictions as to the size that is permitted for an umbrella on a plane, it is important to remember that the final decision always lies with the security officer who is checking your belongings. Therefore, you need to be mindful that you may have to give up your umbrella if you’re told to do so. The safest method is always to pack your umbrella in the hold or carry a cheap umbrella that you aren’t too bothered about.  

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