Airlines used to enforce strict dress codes, but those days are long gone, even in first and business class.

So, you can wear a hat on a plane regardless of which airline you are flying with, though you will need to take it off as you go through airport security.

If you have TSA Precheck there is less chance that you will need to take your hat off, though this is by no means guaranteed.

Can You Wear a Hat on a Plane?

Airport Security:

Baseball Cap

If you wear a baseball cap at the airport, you will be asked to remove it and place it in a security tray for screening.

If you don’t, you will be subject to additional screening.

We take it that you aren’t planning to conceal anything under your hat, so you really should just comply to avoid any problems.

Cowboy Hat

Cowboy hats are bigger than baseball caps, but the TSA treats them the same way as any other hat.

So, you will be asked to remove your cowboy hat and place it in a security tray for screening as you go through airport security.

Religious Head Coverings

If you wear a religious head covering and are unwilling to remove it, you may have to undergo additional security screening, which may include a pat-down.

The pat down will be conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender.

The only instance in which you may be asked to remove the head covering is if an alarm goes off that cannot be resolved through a pat-down.

In such instances, you will be asked to remove the head covering in a private screening area.

On the Plane

Today, airlines do not enforce strict dress codes, so you will have no problem wearing your hat on a plane.

This is regardless if you’re flying with Delta, United, Southwest, American Airlines, or any other regional or major air carrier.

One thing you might want to keep in mind is your fellow passengers, though.

If you’re wearing a large hat, you may want to take it off so not to inconvenience other passengers.

Other passengers just consider it just plain good manners to remove your hat, too.

How to Take Care of Your Hat on a Plane

You have a few options when it comes to taking care of your hat on a plane.

  • Keep your hat on: Wearing your hat throughout the duration of the flight is the best way to take care of it.
  • Place your hat under the seat in front of you: Placing your hat under the seat in front of you will keep it protected, but this means that other items you bring will have to go in the overhead if there isn’t enough space.
  • Use a hat storage box: Buying a storage box specifically designed for your hat will guarantee that it will be kept protected when you fly.
  • Ask a flight attendant to store your hat: If you’re flying with a large hat, you can ask the flight attendant to store it for you.
  • Avoid placing your hat in the overhead bin: If you place your hat in the overhead bin, it will likely get crushed by luggage, especially as passengers often take out and put back their luggage during the flight.

Hats Don’t Count As Personal Items

Most airlines do not consider a hat to be a personal item, even larger hats like cowboy hats.

Note that personal items generally have a size restriction of 17 inches long, 10 inches wide and 9 inches high.

This is a good way to judge if your hat will fit underneath the seat in front of you.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).