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Flying with instruments - my guide


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#151 Spoombung

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 09:15 AM

I put my Wal in a hiscox case with extra bubble wrap and paid 15 euro to put it in the hold on Ryanair. It arrived on the outsized baggage carousel with no problems.

#152 JapanAxe

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 02:45 PM

I may have a gig in the Med in a couple of months. If so I plan to take a decent but replaceable bass (Sandberg VM4) in a Fender TSA hard case which will go in the hold.

What should I do?
- Leave the case unlocked. The catches are well protected from accidental opening, and it shouldn't be accessible to anyone except airport/airline staff when not in my hands.
- Lock the case. Do all airlines have TSA keys? If not, or if they are lazy, I am worried they would trash the case trying to get into it.
- Take the neck off and put the disassembled bass in my suitcase. Not keen on this option as I use flats, and if they go back on twisted they won't intonate properly.

Over to you seasoned travellers...

Edited by JapanAxe, 28 June 2015 - 04:13 PM.

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#153 goblin

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 11:27 AM

I've got a bit of an update for this thread from today's experience so far.

I'm currently say in Frankfurt airport awaiting a transfer to Miami, at my feet, a Peli 1750 and a Hiscox containing the Infinity and the Fretless. The band I'm with is travelling with Lufthansa whom have a reputation for breaking instruments, so at the desk when checking in all the flight cased gear, I found manners and politeness work wonders.

So far, they've not checked it in, and said I can carry it directly the gate, and there's a chance I will have to put them in the hold there. This was at Manchester airport for the record. We were taken through a separate fast track security gate where they could x-ray the instruments properly, and then we proceeded to the gate. We stood quietly, in view of the desk people but we didn't go accosting them when they were clearly busy... and someone approached us as they spotted the cases, and we were told that they would have a quick word with the captain to see if they could get them on the plane... two minutes later, we were priority boarding ahead of everyone on the plane, with three guitars (two basses) and our hand luggage safely in the lockers.

So far so good, Lufthansa are doing well here! Frankfurt airport have been pretty good with us too, also understanding that they're fragile and we'd like to bypass the handlers, though part of me wonders if they spent less time ogling at the Warwicks, we may have just caught the flight... but ho hum, free feast on Lufthansa and better seats on the next flight. I'm boarding in an hour, so we'll see where we get to getting the gear onto the plane then.

So in a nutshell, turn up for check in as early as you can so you don't hold too many people up, and when you do as it'll happen, be very apologetic. Manners, they work wonders, no arse licking or anything, just general politeness works fine. Just in case they do go in the hold, I'm still covered for them. I have insurance, the Peli... well, it's a Peli, and it has a pair of TSA locks on too, the Hiscox isn't locked and just has a bit of fragile tape over the locks - when security looked at it they even offered to replace the tape with new, better stuff!

#154 Twigman

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 01:06 PM

Just bought muself an SKB iSeries 5014 case.
I really don;t think I will ever again worry about the condition of my bass on a flight.
I've seen youtube video of an iSeries being driven over by a 4x4 and thrown off a cliff and the wine glasses inside have remained intact.
It was not cheap, mind.
Peace of mind never is.

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#155 colgraff

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:28 AM

View PostTwigman, on 08 December 2015 - 01:06 PM, said:

I've seen youtube video of an iSeries being driven over by a 4x4 and thrown off a cliff....
http://www.skbcases....fset=&c=84&s=75
Just bear in mind that a case only works up to a point. Any movement that involves rapid acceleration and deceleration will shake things loose over time, regardless of what they are packed in. That notwithstanding, you have a super case that could double as a coffin when you are done with it!
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#156 12stringbassist

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:33 PM

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#157 goblin

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 01:15 PM

Okay so here's another update. I really cannot fault Lufthansa after my return flight from Miami! Getting the final leg of the journey was a bit interesting, they happily let me take them on the flight from Frankfurt to Newark, but when we transferred to a United flight, they weren't so good. Everything went in the hold, and when we got to Miami, they dropped the Peli off the plane (luckily it did it's job and only a tiny bit of shock damage to the Infinity), and then they managed to lose the guitars for about an hour!

On the way back however, the guys at Frankfurt on the flight from Miami to Munich were great, they actually moved our seats on the flight along with someone elses, so we could have the three cases on a double seat next to us, no questions asked. Then we got on the flight from Munich to Manchester, and they gave us priority boarding again, allowing the instruments to go in the overhead lockers.

#158 mybass

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 12:46 PM

I take it you meant that United were not so good in the USA (and not Lufthansa)? Often happens though that airlines have different thoughts on what is fragile and what can be thrown from plane hold 8 feet onto a baggage trolley...(I never told our guitarist as no damage was done on that Easyjet flight to Italy!).

#159 TrevorR

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 02:35 PM

Scott Devine is giving his top 10 tips for flying with a bass in this week's Scott's Bass Lessons video blog...



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#160 mimsy89

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:12 PM

Hi guys

Bands playing in Sweden in June and we're just looking to book flights taking a guitar and a bass with us

Everywhere has conflicting information. Should we be booking the instruments as extra baggage or as extra seats?

Everywhere seems to have conflicting suggestions

Thanks
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#161 pendingrequests

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:17 PM

 mimsy89, on 29 February 2016 - 09:12 PM, said:

Hi guys

Bands playing in Sweden in June and we're just looking to book flights taking a guitar and a bass with us

Everywhere has conflicting information. Should we be booking the instruments as extra baggage or as extra seats?

Everywhere seems to have conflicting suggestions

Thanks

Check with the airline man. They will tell you what to do. The musicians union allows it to come onboard as baggage. If I'm not mistaken?
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#162 BigRedX

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:22 PM

 pendingrequests, on 10 March 2016 - 04:17 PM, said:

Check with the airline man. They will tell you what to do. The musicians union allows it to come onboard as baggage. If I'm not mistaken?

Checking with the airline is useless. The ultimate decision rests with the cabin crew at time of check-in.

IIRC the MU have got some motion in EU parliament to get the major European airlines to agree to allow musical instruments to be carried in the cabin. However this is still some way off being policy.

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#163 pendingrequests

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 03:32 PM

View PostBigRedX, on 10 March 2016 - 04:22 PM, said:

Checking with the airline is useless. The ultimate decision rests with the cabin crew at time of check-in.

IIRC the MU have got some motion in EU parliament to get the major European airlines to agree to allow musical instruments to be carried in the cabin. However this is still some way off being policy.

Not necessarily, Aer Lingus are clear on their stance on it. And I have experienced that personally: https://www.aerlingu...ical-equipment/

Edited by pendingrequests, 11 March 2016 - 03:32 PM.

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#164 mimsy89

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 08:41 AM

Cheers guys. Ryanair were the only ones that did the flights at the right times. Had to pay extra 50 per instrument per flight. Apparently the extra charge is because 'they get treated better because its an instrument' here's hoping it doesn't get smashed up. Now to find a flight case...
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#165 Wonky2

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 08:16 PM

Hey guys.....

Im in the process of buying a bass.... 76 jazz...
Im in liverpool, the bass is in belfast. Flights are rediculasly cheap, £9.99 there, £20 back..
My options are £20 to put it in tbe hold, or try and blag it onboard...

I looked to see if i could buy it a seat but airline (flybe) says only violins/trumpets onboard or cellos as they can be strapped in.

Im confident i can take enough tape/ bubble wrapp over in my hand luggage to do a good job but if i can have it not leave my sight at all, then all the better. Its in an skb type fender case, rectangle. Ill tape clasps up and put a strap around.

Questions.
If i book for my 20kg of hold luggage, it cost the same as a seat ! But will i turn up and then them say no its got to be booked in specifically as an instrument?
If i ask can i board it at the gate, is this the final check point before the gantry ? Im concerned of more risk of it being left behind being set aside and dealt with outside of the norm ?

Short flight, small plane, unlikley to have large storage actually on board ?

Any hoo, its a bit of an adventure :)



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Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:59 PM

Thats it, im committed! Flights are booked.... Ive bought many basses over the years, never flew overseas to make the purchase before !

Whats more, i can be there and back in less time than i usually soend when i disapear to the guitar shop on a saturday afternoon !

Edited by Wonky2, 31 March 2016 - 12:00 AM.

Fender jazz bass - 1976 (black on black, rw fb with bloc inlays)
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Musicman sterling- ernie ball USA (trans gold)
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Mesa - walk about scout 15"combo
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#167 Twigman

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Posted 02 April 2016 - 05:22 PM

I have flown with my SKB iSeries case a couple of times now.
At EVERY customs I get pulled > they think it's a firearm.
Be warned.
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#168 Wonky2

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 11:39 PM

I dont mind them wanting to see it, hell ill even play it for them :) just as long as they dont loose or squash it !

Next saturday is d day ! Im going armed with a roll of gaffa and as much bubble wrapp as i can stuff in my rucksack/hand luggage.


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#169 Wonky2

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 10:40 PM

Thought id give an update on my trip should anyone find them selves traveling on a plane with a bass for the first time, well, this is how my trip went....

The flight there (without the bass) was practically empty, 10 passengers all with hand luggage. I began to wonder if the flight home (with the bass) would be the same, and if so, would my bass be sliding around in the otherwise empty hold ? I'm sure they net it down or something to avoid damaging the plane of course but still... I'd didn't quite know if I preferred a hold full of baggage or an empty one ?

I had paid in advance to board the bass in the hold as all indications from flybe advised the would not allow it in the plane.
But given the number of empty seats I thought it worth trying.

I checked in early as the bass purchase went smoothly. I asked the lady nicely if there was any possibility I could board the guitar on the plane and mentioned the empty outbound flight, she advised there would be even less people on the return flight but was firm that it would be the flight cabin crew who would decide were my bass would go. I asked if all else failed could I at least board it at the gate. This was agreed without any real resistance.
I sat in departures for 2 hours with my bass resisting the urge to get the bass out and have a "feel" of it... Mostly through fear of looking like the sad guy in the corner of an airport noodling pretentiously on his jazz bass........

Anyhoo, time passed quickly and I got he call to the gate.. I gingerly walked down, making sure I was at the back of the line of passengers so's not to cause any undo pressure on the decision of the cabin staff , owing to a line of passengers waiting to board why I grovelled and held every one up.
Well, it paid of. . . The lady at check in had put a note on the screen for them and they already knew about my request before I had to ask. They come down and said I could board it with me providing it could be strapped in easily enough.
The pilot met me at the entrance to the plane and said " ahhhh , what have you got in there then ? " .... I proudly replied " it's a 1976 fender jazz bass" ..... "Ooo nice " he said, "strap it in the seat next to you if you would".....

And with the aid of that little extra bit of seatbelt strap they mortify fat people with on planes, it was in. Even got the window seat.

Meanwhile I sipped on some isle of Jura on ice whilst looking at the sun on the tops of the clouds thinking, shitttttt... Life doesn't get much better than this.


Good luck people.
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Schertler Set-B dab pick up/ pre-amp
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Posted 14 September 2016 - 05:43 PM

I've just flown Nashville - Philadelphia - Manchester on American Airlines with a Jazz in a gig bag as carry-on, and their staff were all completely helpful. The check-in lady gave me free priority boarding (without my asking), and the cabin crew on both flights stowed it carefully in the overhead bins for me. I did de-tune it, but probably didn't need to.

My musician friends in Nashville tell me it is probably the most guitar-friendly airport in the world, but the ground staff in Philly were fine too. (It did help at that point that I had just easily stowed the bass on a smaller plane for the first flight.) Naturally I was all politeness and appreciation - completely sincerely, it is at their discretion and they were lovely to deal with.
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#171 Wayne Firefly

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 01:13 PM

I dragged a Warwick around the USA in an anvil style case which drove me mental with its size and weight. It still came away with a hole punched straight into it like a bullet hole and a corner almost busted off.
Got SKB / Gator / Just In Case, ABS style lightflight things as lighter alternatives. Much easier to deal with, but have been through four of them in the last few years as they get crushed, corners smashed off, dents, deep gashes and allsorts of horror damage BUT the basses so far have always survived intact and undamaged (so far ....ahem).
I usually lock and gaffa tape down the latches, even the ATA rated ones.
I usually try an get a couple more flights out of them by making merry with a fibreglass car body repair kit.
Thats when they go in the hold on BA flights from London airports.
Now, we flew to Serbia on Air Serbia last year and my current surviving SKB case was 13 centimeters too long by their ruling, so would have cost £300 to go in the hold.... I took my old '91 Ibanez SR600, neck off, neck in a rugby sock, in a gig bag, folded over and luggage strapped up, took on as hand luggage, went under my seat, no problems whatsoever.
Also, Serbia have some kind of ruling about customs and equpiment that they could impound your gear if they have any inkling you may have tried to sell it in their country or may have bought it there and not paid them import / export tax.
It made sense to take my oldest workable bass just incase...... It was fine anyway.
Another daft thing I do is put large long case-length strips of bright yellow gaffa tape either side of the case so it can bee seen 200 or 300 meters away down Heathrow's cavernous halls if its put out by baggage handlers somewhere odd. I also have 8 long strips of gaffa withoiut having to carry a roll of heavy tape.
I guess its easy to say when you have an older, bit battered semi decent bass too. I have a hammered USA Sterling which will end up being my 'flight' bass from here on as I wouldnt want the Zon taking a hit or lost.
A decent maple neck with a non angled back headstock also helps with being able to take a good clout when thrown by an unscrupulous baggage handler.

Edited by Wayne Firefly, 11 November 2016 - 01:27 PM.

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#172 Lozz196

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 09:24 PM

A bassist I know who plays for a rather well known punk band lives in France, so has to fly to get here for all his gigs. I asked him about what he does re flying and his advice was take it as a carry-on item, but stressed put it in a gig-bag, that it was unlikely if in a hard-case it would be allowed in the cabin. He did say every now and then you get someone being overly officious that won`t allow it on, but that at that point all the luggage has been loaded so the bass will be in on top of everything else in the hold.
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Posted 23 November 2016 - 09:44 PM

View PostLozz196, on 19 November 2016 - 09:24 PM, said:

... his advice was take it as a carry-on item, but stressed put it in a gig-bag, that it was unlikely if in a hard-case it would be allowed in the cabin.

My musician friends in Nashville - who fly with guitars or basses a lot - also all advised me to take mine in a gig-bag. Not only the above, but also it's much less likely they will insist on putting it in the hold. Worked for me :)
"The bass guitar is the honourable instrument. It is understated and unappreciated, yet it plays the most important role. The bass is the link between harmony and rhythm. It is the foundation of a band." - Victor L. Wooten, The Music Lesson

"The best musician is not the one with the best chops, but the one who best knows how to contribute to the whole." - Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

"Never anthropomorphise your guitars. They don't like it." - Anon

#174 Normski

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 10:41 PM

I would like some advice please. I'm flying with Thomas Cook to the States to play some gigs so I'm taking a bass & my Aguilar Tonehammer. They seem very strict on one item of luggage in the hold & they also don't want me to carry the bass on as hand luggage (in a gig bag) & put it in the overhead lockers. So they want me to pay 55 each way for an extra item i.e. my bass in a hard case! Has anyone had any similar issues recently with this airline?

Edited by Normski, 01 June 2017 - 01:04 AM.


#175 DDR

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 03:18 PM

I looked in to this a lot and have come to the conclusion that I will be making absolutely sure I can take my bass on the plane with me in a well made soft case. If I ever can't I will be purchasing an expensive skb tank of a case.

Edited by DDR, 22 June 2017 - 10:59 AM.


#176 Bassjon

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 07:17 PM

I recently flew my Fender jazz to Geneva for A gig. Put it through oversize baggage in its hard case wrapped in gaffa and had no problems. It was easier than I thought it'd be

#177 davegriffiths91

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:57 PM

The SKB bass safe is the only choice for me. I can't imagine taking a bass in a softcase and having to check it in, too risky!





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