And how to pack your sewing machine!
Have you ever flown somewhere for a bit of time and wanted to take a sewing project? But, you weren’t sure how to fly with your sewing machine? Believe it or not, it’s much easier than you might think to take your sewing machine on board an aircraft!
domestic flights within the United States
When boarding an aircraft for DOMESTIC flights within the United States* and it’s territories, you are generally allowed to take one carry on item and one personal item. The smaller of your carry on items is considered your “one personal item” as it needs to fit underneath the seat in front of you.
As your sewing machine most likely will NOT fit underneath the seat in front of you, it would be considered your “one carry on item”.
PRO TIP: If you are sitting in a row that does not have under seat storage option, you will need to place both the machine and your personal item in the overhead compartment.
Keep scrolling for tips on:
- What type of sewing machine can go on board an airplane
- How to pack your sewing machine for airline travel
- How to go through TSA Security with a Sewing Machine
- Where to place your sewing machine on board an aircraft
- Flying International outside the United States with a sewing machine
What type of sewing machine to take on an airplane?
Realistically, any sewing machine can go on board an aircraft AS LONG AS it will fit in the overhead compartment.
According the TSA regulations, the MAXIMUM size of your 22 x 14 x 9
There are several different types and sizes of aircraft used by each separate airline carrier. Therefore, specific size limits for carry on items can vary from airline to airline. Be sure to check with your airline before your flight to verify the overhead bin size requirements will accomodate your sewing machine.
How to Pack your sewing machine for airline travel?
1) Remove Foot Pedal, Power Cords and Accessory case – Put in checked luggage.
2) Remove Presser Foot and Needle from machine – Pack in a zip top bag and put in checked luggage.
3) Place your sewing machine inside a sewing machine suitcase or sewing machine cover, depending on what your sewing machine has available.
how to go through TSA Security with sewing machine?
TSA will most likely open your carrying case / sewing machine suitcase to inspect your machine. This is the reason I suggest packing anything ‘loose’ inside your checked baggage. That way, the agent won’t stick their finger on the sewing needle and your presser foot won’t come loose and get lost in transit.
To date I have never had an agent ask me to turn the machine on to make sure it works. However, if you are worried about this happening, you can always place the sewing machine’s foot pedal and power cord inside your carry on bag.
The bottom line is, if you’re ever concerned about whether you can or can not take your sewing machine onboard an airplane; feel free to contact TSA directly and even the airline you’ll be traveling with.
Where to place your sewing machine on board airplane?
I’ve found the best place to store your machine on board the airplane is in the overhead bin above your seat. If at all possible, try to wedge the machine in between 2 bags or between a bag and the side wall of the overhead compartment. This way it will help reduce the amount of shifting and moving around of the sewing machine during the flight.
Flying International outside the united states with a sewing machine?
For US citizens traveling internationally, I DO NOT recommend traveling with your domestic sewing machine. The biggest reason for this is electrical.
The standard United States domestic sewing machine works on a 110V electrical current. However, the vast majority of countries outside the US do not. Most of them use a 220V electrical current.
While there are many international plug adapters you can use for various chargers and appliances overseas, I have not tried using one yet with my sewing machine. Therefore, I can not vouch for their usefulness and compatibility.
Also, many international airline carriers only allow ONE carry on item on board their flights. Since the sewing machine would be that one item, I have not yet traveled internationally with my sewing machine.
If you are moving to an international country, or plan to stay for an extended period of time and want to do a lot of sewing, I’d suggest purchasing a 220V machine to use once you arrive at your final destination.
PRO TIP: For organized international travel such as Quilt Tours and/or Quilt Cruises you will NOT need to bring a sewing machine on your trip. If a sewing machine is required for a planned workshop, one should be provided for you. Just make sure to double check when making your reservations.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links. When you click and purchase an item I earn a commission at NO additional cost to you. I only recommend products and companies I personally use and/or have researched.
- What all you Can and Can’t take on board an airplane
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- Complete List of Quilt Shows Around the World!
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- Complete Lists of Quilt Shops in the US
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