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Air travel with acoustic guitar..

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the sarge
(@the-sarge)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

Can't get the search function to work.....I'll be heading out of town this weekend and (of course) taking my guitar with me. I've got a pretty good hard shell case for it but I imagine I'll have to check it as luggage. I don't see em letting me carry it on. SO, anyone have any recommendations on what I can do to help ensure the guitar comes out of the case in the same condition it went into it?? :?:

Living is easy with eyes closed--misunderstanding all you see.


   
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greybeard
(@greybeard)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Ring the airline and ask if they offer "Delivery at Aircraft". You take the guitar through as hand luggage, but hand it over to be stowed in the luggage hold, during the flight. When you arrive at the destination, it's usually put onto a trolley at the bottom of the aircraft steps. You collect your guitar and take it in, with you, as hand luggage.
You may have to check it a "bulky luggage", which is still better than normal luggage - it usually goes by "hand", rather than on the conveyors.
The real danger to your guitar is not in the aircraft, but in the tender loving care of the baggage handlers and their machines. There are a number of airports where luggage routinely drops close to 30 feet. Your guitar won't survive that kind of fall.

As a general rule of flying, it is very important that you are friendly and polite to the airline staff, they get enough hassle (the way some people behave is unbelievable - it's not uncommon for passengers, who have arrived late, to demand that the aircraft returns from the runway to come and collect them!). In many cases, it is up to the discretion of the airline staff as to how the "special" luggage is handled. If you annoy them, you'll get the middle seat next to the toilets, between the two fattest men they can find, with your luggage under the seat! Take the attitude that they're doing you a favour, smile and be friendly and you may even get it stowed in the business class storage.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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Nils
 Nils
(@nils)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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They may let you carry it on. Ask at the check-in. If they won't let you carry it on ask if you can do a gate check-in of it.

Just in case you can wrap the guitar in a towel which will help with the shock. Also loosen the strings just a tiny bit maybe a 1/2 turn of the tuners.

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Alan Green
(@alangreen)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

A guitar case will just about fit in an overhead, so ask the check-in desk if the plane is full and then ask them their policy on musical instruments. If you're really lucky, they'll let you store your guitar in the cupboard they've got for the crew's coats.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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Laoch
(@laoch)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 143
 

I've always been allowed to "gate-check" my acoustic hardcase. This is pretty safe and the next best thing to carrying it on (a little easier to deal with even). All good advice given above and I also concur that politeness goes a long way with the airline staff.
I've travelled with my guitar a number of times and it's even survived the baggage handlers (although they did manage to crack my hardcase :( )
Good luck

"The details of my life are quite inconsequential." - Dr. Evil


   
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the sarge
(@the-sarge)
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Topic starter  

I feel better about it now... :)

Living is easy with eyes closed--misunderstanding all you see.


   
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tim shull
(@tim-shull)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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sarge- i flew in june on southwest and they would NOT let me carry on my acoustic in a hard case so i checked it and it made it just fine . when i landed in kc i opened the case and my guitar had some condesation on it but it was hot humid and rainy. iam making the trip again in a couple weeks and will check it again.. good luck

Cash is cool


   
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Tim_Madsen
(@tim_madsen)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 724
 

Take all the tension off the strings. Pack bubble wrap or news print around the head stock (fill the void around the head stock). This will prevent the head stock from snaping off if it's dropped. It's best to gate check it but not all airlines will allow this. I had to luggage check mine the last time I flew and my guitar came through fine. The case did lose two feet though. Another option is to purchase an airline approved case, I would still take the tension off the strings.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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gizzy
(@gizzy)
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I don't trust the airlines, the last time I traveled they had opened my suitcase and tore it all up and left a note in saying they had checked my bag, I would try hard to take it on board with you they do have coat closets so I have heard some will let you put it in there.


   
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chuckie
(@chuckie)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I don't trust the airlines, the last time I traveled they had opened my suitcase and tore it all up and left a note in saying they had checked my bag, I would try hard to take it on board with you they do have coat closets so I have heard some will let you put it in there.

That's another option: I've traveled to the Caribbean on AA on several occasions and the flight attendants have let me store my guitar in their coat closet. I think the gate check-in option is always your best bet though. There's usually space reserved in the forward cargo hold for wheelchairs and strollers, and many airline employees don't mind stowing the guitar in there for you.

As Greybeard mentioned before, just be nice and considerate to the staff when going about it.


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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While waiting to push back from the gate once, I saw a baggage train go zooming by at 30-40 MPH. A suitcase fell out of it and went skittering and spinning across the concrete. It stayed closed. Hate to think about a guitar doing that, though.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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mikey
(@mikey)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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A bit off topic...

One summer when I was home for college I took a summer job at JFK loading and unloading airplanes. Driving those baggage trains around. It was an eye opening experience from the point of view of someone who had never before seen the rift between managment and union labor.

Things were fine until a "tie", as they were called, came round to berate the union guys. Treated them like garbage. Put them on "report", for rediculous things. It was at that point that luggage handles had a way of becoming separated from the luggage. Learned a few things that short summer. 1. American Tourister makes the best luggage. 2. How not to treat the people who worked for you.

Michael

Playing an instrument is good for your soul


   
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the sarge
(@the-sarge)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

I was able to stow it in the closet on the first leg of the trip, and had to gate-check it on the second. Thanks to everyone for helping me out!

Living is easy with eyes closed--misunderstanding all you see.


   
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