Can You Carry a Poster Tube On a Plane? TSA Rules

If you are planning to take a poster on your next flight you might have wondered how to carry your poster tube on a plane. Can you bring it as a carry-on? Will it fit in the overhead bin? Will the TSA agents confiscate it?

The short answer is yes, you can bring a poster tube on a plane, just ensure it follows your airline carry-on or checked baggage regulations.

In this post, I will answer all your questions about traveling with poster tubes, I will also share some tips on how to pack your poster tube for travel, and some alternatives to avoid the hassle altogether.

Let’s dive right in.

Can you take a poster tube on a plane? TSA rules

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the security agents that keep everything safe on airports and flights within and from the U.S.

They have a list of items on their website which are not accepted to bring in both carry-on and checked bags.

However; they do not have any issues with travelers carrying metal, plastic or glass poster tubes or storages on planes provided that there are no illegal, prohibited items or have a sharp object inside them.

Here is the official @AskTSA account on X (formerly Twitter) has affirmed to @Abril that poster tubes containing architectural plans are permitted in carry-on luggage without any restrictions.

Nevertheless, Abril needed to double check with her airline because it will depend on the size of the poster tube if it will be transported on board the airplane.

Cardboard poster tubes and airlines rules

Each airline has different size restrictions, but when flying with major U.S airlines such as United, American, JetBlue or Delta Airlines you’re generally allowed one piece of luggage that fits in the overhead bin with dimensions of 22″×14″×9″.

Additionally, you can bring a personal item that must fit under the seat in front of you free of charge.

However, budget airlines like Southwest or Frontier have stricter rules, typically allowing only one tiny personal item free of charge, with dimensions around 18 in x 14 in x 8 in.

So if you’re carrying a large roll-up or poster tube, it may not fit as a personal item, and you may need to either pay for a carry-on bag or place the poster tube in checked baggage.

To stay away from any unnecessary charges and surprises at the airport, you should measure your poster tube and compare it with the dimensions and weight of your airline’s baggage allowance. 

You can obtain more information about your airline’s size allowance on their official website or use this easy to use airlines luggage calculator.

 If the poster tube fits in your carry-on you should be all right, so I suggest stowing your poster tube inside your carry-on bag for easier transportation and added safety. Keeping it close in your carry-on rather than checking it in your baggage ensures its security during travel.


But can a poster tube fit in a suitcase?

A standard poster tube typically has a diameter of 2 to 3 inches and a length of 18 to 40 inches.

For instance, if you’re flying United Airlines economy class and your poster tube is 18 inches long, it should fit inside a standard carry-on suitcase.

However, a 40-inch poster tube is less likely to fit into a 22-inch carry-on suitcase. Keep in mind that the items you pack along with the poster tube will also influence whether it fits or not.

In some cases, you may need to sacrifice some items or transfer them to another bag for everything to fit.

Can a flight attendant store a poster tube for you?

Most flight attendants will be willing to assist and store your poster tube for you until you get to your destination.

But, whether an airline steward can help will depend on the individual you are dealing with.

Just approach them, smile and politely explain to them that you would like their help to keep your poster tube safe.

Can you take a poster tube in checked baggage?

If you decide to check your poster tube, you need to make sure that it is safe and well protected.

Here are some tips on how to pack your poster tube for checked baggage:

  • Use a strong poster tube that can withstand the hits and handling of the baggage handlers. Avoid using cardboard tubes that can easily bend or break.
  • Roll the poster in a paper or plastic wrap to prevent it from getting damaged by moisture or dirt.
  • Add some soft packing paper or bubble wrap to the bottom and the top of the poster tube to prevent the print moving around.
  • Fit the plastic end caps on both ends of the tube, and tape them securely with duct tape or packing tape. Make sure that the caps will not pop off during transit.
  • Attach a tag or a sticker with your name, address, phone number, and flight information on the outside of the tube. You can also write “FRAGILE” or “HANDLE WITH CARE” to alert the baggage handlers.

Can you bring a poster tube on international flight?

If you are traveling internationally with your poster tube, the same rules apply like in domestic flights.

You need to stay within your airline’s luggage allowance.

There are also some small things that you need to consider.

Ensure that the poster or  printed picture, notice, or advertisement is not a sensitive or offended subject in that country.

In this case your poster might be confiscated and go down the tubes.

Also when traveling with multiple poster tubes, you should be aware of the customs regulations of your destination country.

Some countries might have stricter rules or higher fees for poster tubes than others.

Can you carry a poster tube on a plane: the final thoughts

The bottom line: the TSA may take a closer look inside your tube to see what is inside it, but they won’t stop you from taking a clean poster tube on a plane.

If the poster tube fits inside your bag, then nothing to be concerned about.

Otherwise, it is up to the airline you are flying, whether they will count it as a carry-on, a personal item or send it in checked baggage.

Remember that sometimes shipping your poster, using online services or printing your poster at a local print shop is a good alternative especially when flying with a low cost airline or  traveling internationally.

I hope this helps 

Happy travels