Skip to content

Forum

Notifications
Clear all

Guitar on Airplane

Page 1 / 2

(@pear-tart)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 14
Topic starter  

I've been in Europe (live in the States) for over a month now and I'm going home in about a week. While I've been here, I've picked up a nice acoustic-electric. I've been looking up tips for packing, what to do, etc, but I'd like to hear what you guys think. Unfortunately I only have a soft case. I've been constantly hearing that hard-shells are better but I have what I have. The guy at the guitar store was convinced that it'd be fine, and the weight was an issue. Anyways, what kind of tips/experiences do you have involving flying with guitars?


Quote
(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I wouldn't fly with anything other than an ATA approved flight case.

Also, if I have the time, I ship them to the destination via UPS or FedEx as they take care of the parcels better than the airlines do.

Plus, I loosen the strings to relieve the tension on the neck. I don't know if this is the official way to do it, but it's the way I've always done it (and the guitar players in groups I've played in).

I would never-ever put my guitar, sax, wind synth, flute, keyboard or any other instrument in a soft case (gig bag). They are next to worthless IMHO.

A good flight case will not only get your guitar home safely, but it will take it back and forth to the gig with no worries.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


ReplyQuote
(@strangedata)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 39
 

Last time I had to bring mine home I took it as a carry-on item. I didn't have to pay any extra for it, but I couldn't bring a smaller suitcase with me (one I usually bring with fragile stuff -- anyway, my wife carried the smaller suitcase and I brought the guitar case instead.)

I would never dispatch a good piece of gear... I've had really strong luggage coming destroyed at the other end and the "FRAGILE" signs only seem to make it worse


ReplyQuote
(@laoch)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 143
 

I've flown with guitars many times. Without a hardcase, I wouldn't check the guitar as luggage (even WITH a hardcase, I try to avoid that). You should be able to carry the guitar on the plane and if you ask nicely, the flight attendants will usually store it in a safe place (a closet, etc). An international flight is usually a large enough plane that can accomodate this. I'd recommend calling the airline ahead of time to confirm that you can treat a guitar as a carry-on item and safely store in the plane. Best of luck!

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


ReplyQuote
(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

Frank Ford (the luthier and owner of Gryphon Stringed Instruments) has a great page on packing a guitar on his site frets.com (a lot more too - well worth reading over as he really knows his stuff). http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/GenMaint/Packing/packing1.html

One thing to note about trying to carry a guitar as carry on - it can often work but I've seen cases where on a packed flight where they''ve made people gate check the guitar. It still goes in the hold but it is last in / first out. The guitar will probably survive alright in a good hard case or a flight case but in a gig bag who knows.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


ReplyQuote
(@dan-t)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5072
 

I'd bring it on as a carry on if at all possible:

http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=45330

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


ReplyQuote
(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

I'd bring it on as a carry on if at all possible

You definitely want to try but you may find out as you board the plane that they don't have room on board and he has to gate check it. Best to plan for the worst. If the OP doesn't even have a hard case then if he has to gate check it there isn't much hope for a safe journey for the guitar.

If he doesn't want to buy a hard case the best thing to do would be to pack the guitar like it gets shipped to the music store - in a solid cardboard box with lots of padding. Maybe put it in the gig bag and then double box it with padding. The local music store might be willing to let you have one of the boxes that the guitars get shipped to them in. Then either send it via courier (as suggested above) or take it as a checked bag.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


ReplyQuote
(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2418
 

This most likely and exception, but a guy that I know plays guitar for Bobby Jones on the BET show Bobby Jones Gospel Hour, and the captain actually put it in his cabin for the flight (he offered though, the guy didn't ask for it to be put in there) when he saw him trying to put it in overhead.

I don't think that it could hurt to ask that though.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


ReplyQuote
(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Cover in soft case and take it in the cabin. If he/she doesn't agree, play a nice song for him/her. That would surely do that trick.

How about singing 'Leavin' on a Jet Plane'...won't get any nice than that.

Happy Flying !


ReplyQuote
(@preacher)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 128
 

Also, if I have the time, I ship them to the destination via UPS or FedEx as they take care of the parcels better than the airlines do.

haha, Im sure if you worked with UPS youd be singing a different tune. A few of my buddies work there, and they sling packages on the trucks.

BB King is known to get an extra seat for Lucille. But that can get expensive.

I play the guitar, I taught myself how to play the guitar, which was a bad decision... because I didn't know how to play it, so I was a sh***y teacher. I would never have went to me. -Mitch Hedberg


ReplyQuote
(@laoch)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 143
 

Gate checking is a reasonable option with a hardcase. In fact, a hardcase is harder to fit inside the plane and I would think would be more likely to be forced into gatechecking. I think a guitar would probably survive fine in a gig bag, being gate checked although that would be my last choice option and wouldn't risk it if I didn't have to. Gate checked items are handled by hand and aren't tossed about (at least in my experience). I have found flight crews to be very accomodating to "fragile" items such as musical instruments as long as they aren't overly bulky - I've had my guitar stored on the plane in a closet, in an overhead bin (on top!), and even behind the last row of seats. Again, I'd call the airline to at least see what their policy is and then you can weigh the risks. If you don't want to chance it, get a sturdier case (a hardcase or some more robust packing). Good luck!

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


ReplyQuote
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

i've had a guitar broken checking it.
carry on or gate check at worst.


ReplyQuote
(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1235.shtm

When you speak to the airline, get the person's name and position. If there's any argument, "I spoke to Mr X and he told me......".

Arrive early and speak to the check-in staff and the boarding gate staff - nicely! Never argue, never start telling them how to do things, never say "It's easy, just......", never start demanding your rights. Once you get to the plane, the captain has the absolute final say, not even the CEO of the airline can overrule him - if he says "No!", then "No!" it is. The worst thing you can do is annoy the airline staff. I do know of cases where obstreperous passengers have been refused entry to the plane (generally by the captain) and deboarded.

If you only have a gig-bag, tell the staff that it is a relatively valuable guitar that you don't like to trust it being in the hold (Sorry, we've been together a long time and you know how attached musicians become to their instruments. Can you make an exception?) and you put it in the bag, rather than a solid case, so that it would take up far less space in the cabin.

Be it on your own head, but, as a very last resort, use this :D :D

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?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


ReplyQuote
(@dan-t)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5072
 

Be it on your own head, but, as a very last resort, use this :D :D

That's the same link I was referring to gb.

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


ReplyQuote
(@unimogbert)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 174
 

Sometimes you get lucky (I don't plan for it though).

Last year about this time I took an inexpensive guitar in softcase on a Frontier flight.

I was seated in the back so got earliest boarding.

When I boarded carrying my guitar on the flight attendant was as nice and helpful as could be in finding a spot in the overhead for my guitar.

Returning I brought back a CA carbon-fiber guitar in hard-case. I had no concerns for that one as checked luggage if necessary but my luck held and the carryon routine also went just as nicely as you could want.

I got lucky.

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2