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Author: Subject: Traveling on airlines w/guitar

Peach Head





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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 03:06 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions or experience traveling with the major airlines with a guitar? My son visits us and usually flies at least oneway. The one time he checked a guitar thru, another traveler told him they had seen the baggage crew tossing the guitar case around like it was junk. It wasn't his best guitar and thankfully wasn"t damaged but I'm thinking there has to be a better way. I'd appreciate any info. Thanks
 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 03:28 PM
hardshell case in the overhead..i do it all the time

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 03:32 PM
Willie Nelson buys the seat next to him for "Trigger"

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 03:44 PM
Carry-on. Overhead. Make sure you're early getting on the flight, so there is still plenty of space.
 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 04:34 PM
If checked, remember that baggage storage below is cold as heck.... I would at the least take tension off the strings. The only way I would check on is with one of those metal Iraq proof guitar cases.

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 04:58 PM
This is actually a topic I know something about. (Not that this has ever stopped me from commenting before. ) If and let me stress a big "IF" you are in fact allowed to carry it on, then it is only as a courtesy. No you are not allowed a musical instrament in addition to your two carry ons. A carry on, hence the name carry on, means the baggage will fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. There used to be a diagram beside the gate where as if your bag will not fit in the measurements then it can't be a carry on and must be checked. No standard guitar that I know of will fit in there They are too tall. alloak41, has the best answer - " Willie Nelson buys the seat next to him for "Trigger" If I am not mistaken, you are allowed to purchase for 1/2 price the seat next to you (if available for your instrament.) Let me assure you 9 times out of 10 your guitar IS going in the cargo hold. mglowenstein, is right about one thing ... "it will most likely make it through." Yes it will and the by far the majority of baggage handlers handle all bags with as much care as a 50-100 lb piece of baggage can be. My suggestion is if in fact your son travels by air often with a guitar then how about investing in a decent case. If he has a standard hardshell case, then that ought to do. But it doesn't (or shouldn't) take a genius to know that a gig bag or one of those cardboard jobs won't cut it. Yet that sadly is how at least 50 % of those traveling with a guitar carry their axe and again the majority of those arrive at their destination unscathed. There isn't a professional musician who doesn't own a flight case. The cadillac being a Calton case for acoustics. And the majority of those who travel check theirs. The reason behind that is (I believe) should something happen to the guitar then it is covered under the $2,500 insurance the airline provides for all luggage. It is harder claim damage with gate check items since there is an inheirent limited liability. Not to mention all those other travelers you inconvenience delaying their flight when you know that your bag isn't a carry on. Hope this helps. Of course asking the airline your son travels with in advance what their policies are concerning travling with instraments is and getting the name of the person you spoke with would seem the better solution than asking an internet forum.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 05:15 PM
"Small musical instruments may be carried onboard the aircraft providing they meet existing carry-on size requirements and fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Case dimensions may not exceed 45 dimensional inches (width + length + height), except for guitars which may be brought on board only if they can be safely stowed in an overhead bin or approved stowage location in the cabin.

The instrument is considered the passenger's one allowed carry-on bag. A personal item is allowed in addition to the instrument."

(this is from American but I believe it's pretty much standard across carriers)

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 07:37 PM
Depending on the type of plane, the overhead storage might not be big enough to fit a case. There's a lot more small commuter jets being flown these days, and I can't imagine a guitar fitting in those overheads.

Also; if you check it, don't the current rules specify that you must leave all checked baggage unlocked? It must be easily inspected if they choose to do so. I don't know if its been improved, but since those rules went into effect and TSA took over security, the degree of stolen items from checked bags has greatly increased. I've travelled with folks who have had golf clubs stolen, and read stories about all sorts of valuable electronic devices taken. Never check valuable stuff. I'm also not sure if the $2,500 insurance statement is correct - I don't think the arilines are responsible for very much at all.

I read one story of a guy who figured a way to beat the system. By TSA rules, any firearms must be declared and checked, and must be in a locked case. A TSA agent will inspect and lock before the bag is checked, and do the reverse at the destination. This guy bought a starter's pistol. He was a videographer, and had to travel more gear than he could possibly carry on. So by declaring the starter's pistol as a checked item, he forced the TSA policy of inspection/locking/unlocking. He said he never lost a thing after that.

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 08:11 PM
be nice and polite...

fly Southwest..it fits in thier bins and if you check in EXACTLY 24 hours before your flight, you board in the first 30 people..PLENTY of room in the overhead then..

 

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  posted on 6/24/2009 at 08:41 PM
quote:
Delta always let me carry it on. In fact no one ever made me check it although some tried. Delta definitely allows it, as per their website:

Guitars and other smaller musical instruments, such as violins, will be accepted as your free carry-on baggage on Delta operated flights1. These items must easily fit in the overhead compartment or approved stowage location in the cabin, on a space available basis at the time of boarding. If adequate space is not available, the item must be checked.

American and Continental say that it needs to be checked but in my experience they will let in on unless it's either a tiny plane or a completely full flight.


I do think it is discretionary on Delta, to a degree, in that the "must easily fit in the overhead compartment" means one person can't take up two sections of overhead bins on a full flight. They'll make you move your one instrument before making 6 or 8 other passengers gate-check their overhead bags. I also think getting to the gate early is a good idea and inform the gate agent as soon as s/he shows up to check-in your flight. They will often let you board first with the special-needs and pax-with-children so that you can get set-up, and if you board early and catch the flight-attendant on the way on-board, they will often put your instrument in the 1st class coat closet if there is room. (Same goes with wedding dresses if you're off for a destination wedding.)

Excellent point about the "regional" jets and turbo-prop commuter flights....not much more than a lap-top bag will fit in the overhead bins on those aircraft, so pretty much everything is "valet checked" at the boarding stairs....which means non-climate-controlled cargo hold. So if you're bringing an instrument, definitely look for "CRJ" or "ERJ" as giveaways that you need to look for a different flight (assuming the city your flying to/from even has mainline service in these days of outsourcing flying to "regional" airlines).

 

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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 12:30 AM
Boeing MD80, 737, 757, 767, 777 and Airbus have ample space in the overhead.
Regional jets, carry it down and gate check it . Overheads just too small.
If possible, I try to leave mine in the closet up front by the door of the FA will be kind enough.
If you gate check it, its much better than watching the ticket agent THROW it onto the bag belt and watching it pass through the black divided curtain, wondering if you will ever see it again.
Even hard shell cases are suseptable to damage, especially if there is a bag jam.
I have a Taylor case thats munched and I figured I had a broken headstock and was a bit shy about opening the case. All was fine but the case has a road scar.

 

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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 06:48 AM
No way I will ever check something expensive, like a guitar or ... TELEVISION EQUIPMENT ever again! Lesson learned the hard way, here!

Gate checking would definitely be the way to go. On some of the smaller, regional planes if you gate check, you can actually hand it to the baggage handler on the tarmac and retrieve it when you reach your destination.

 

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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 08:40 AM
Reminds me of the movie AIRPLANE! when the flight attendant serenades the little girl (from Love Boat) who is getting the heart transplant. After she gets the guitar from the nun she walks thru the aisle bumping people's heads with the guitar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6C19wqayJ4

Then she sings an uptempo number and knocks out the girl's wires!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3U_ebns-t4&feature=related

Funny stuff




[Edited on 6/25/2009 by BarrySmith]

 

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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 09:23 AM
I have flown with musical instruments numerous times and I have found the two best things to do is:
1. Carry on the plane
2. Gate check

I have had numerous run-ins with individuals at airports who will not allow instruments on the plane but I have also been in cities where the folks don't care. I have gate checked the instruments numerous times and have never had any problems.

If you are looking for a case which can stand the wear and tear of travelling on airlines I would recommend checking out Calton Cases. I have a custom built Calton which I carry one of my acoustic guitars in and then have a custom built road/flight case for another acoustic guitar.

Calton Case

 

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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 09:24 AM
Traveling with a guitar.

1. Call whatever airlines you're traveling on ahead of time and fine out what their policy is concerning traveling with musical instruments.

2. If at all possible, try to get a "direct flight", also remember when flying into smaller cities, you're probably going to be on a smaller commuter plane, and no doubt will have to check the guitar in as their "overhead bins" are quite small.

3. Also, make sure you check in early, and get to the gate early.

Of course, the other alternative, is to ship the guitar to your designation ahead of time. Lots of people use FedEX and UPS to do this. Just make sure that the guitar is properly packed and secured, and that you purchase enough insurance to cover loss or damage. Truth is, many business travelers (and others in the know) routinely do is. It really does save a lot of headaches, especially dealing with the airlines and airport security.

[Edited on 6/25/2009 by sibwlkr]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 09:32 AM
If sent down below on the bag belt the item will be inspected by TSA. They WILL open the case. So if its locked, it won't be when you get it back and you'll get a nice little love note from the TSA inside your case.
Hippies with either drugs or bombs travel with guitars so the TSA has all you guitar players pegged.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 09:40 AM
LMAO Jon

 

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Peach Head



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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 10:58 AM
Thanks to all for the info and advice. It will help for future trips. I appreciate yall.
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2009 at 11:06 AM
quote:
LMAO Jon


...and thanks again for bringing my stash to WANEE Lefty !

 

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