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Flying with instruments - my guide


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#31 WHUFC BASS

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 06:24 PM

View Postleftybassman392, on Jul 13 2009, 11:59 AM, said:

Got a question if anybody feels able to answer.

I've bought a couple of basses from sellers in the US, and there's a chance that I'll be able to go across to pick them up early/mid August. Anything I should know about bringing them into the UK by air?

Any helpful hints would be much appreciated.

Go over with some empty cases!
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View PostJean-Luc Pickguard, on Dec 13 2010, 07:04 PM, said:

Sorry but that is utter sh*te & an idiotic thing to write

View PostVibrating G String, on Mar 17 2011, 05:58 AM, said:

It's not casual, it's for repeated and very racist comments.

#32 leftybassman392

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 08:14 PM

View PostWHUFC BASS, on Jul 16 2009, 07:24 PM, said:

Go over with some empty cases!


Thanks. Appreciate it.
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#33 WHUFC BASS

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:27 PM

Seriously, if you do, you'll have alot less explaining to do at customs. Depending on which airline you go with you should be ok - invest in one of them double cases. How many basses are you brining back?
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View PostJean-Luc Pickguard, on Dec 13 2010, 07:04 PM, said:

Sorry but that is utter sh*te & an idiotic thing to write

View PostVibrating G String, on Mar 17 2011, 05:58 AM, said:

It's not casual, it's for repeated and very racist comments.

#34 leftybassman392

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:51 AM

View PostWHUFC BASS, on Jul 16 2009, 10:27 PM, said:

Seriously, if you do, you'll have alot less explaining to do at customs. Depending on which airline you go with you should be ok - invest in one of them double cases. How many basses are you brining back?

Two.

Double cases?

Edited by leftybassman392, 17 July 2009 - 12:52 AM.

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#35 WHUFC BASS

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 02:04 PM

Yes mate, something like this

http://www.thomann.d...olley_ebass.htm
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View PostJean-Luc Pickguard, on Dec 13 2010, 07:04 PM, said:

Sorry but that is utter sh*te & an idiotic thing to write

View PostVibrating G String, on Mar 17 2011, 05:58 AM, said:

It's not casual, it's for repeated and very racist comments.

#36 leftybassman392

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 09:04 AM

View PostWHUFC BASS, on Jul 17 2009, 03:04 PM, said:

Yes mate, something like this

http://www.thomann.d...olley_ebass.htm

Aha! Now there's a good idea!

Again, I do appreciate it. Thanks for the excellent advice.

Andy
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#37 WHUFC BASS

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 09:56 AM

No probs mate. Looks like Thomann are the only people who supply these so you'll have to buy it from them.
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View PostJean-Luc Pickguard, on Dec 13 2010, 07:04 PM, said:

Sorry but that is utter sh*te & an idiotic thing to write

View PostVibrating G String, on Mar 17 2011, 05:58 AM, said:

It's not casual, it's for repeated and very racist comments.

#38 therealting

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 10:17 AM

Fly with an inexpensive, easily replaced instrument that you wouldn't panic about losing / getting damaged.
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#39 jakenewmanbass

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:36 AM

View Posttherealting, on Jul 18 2009, 11:17 AM, said:

Fly with an inexpensive, easily replaced instrument that you wouldn't panic about losing / getting damaged.
Thats fine when you are just taking an instrument for a bit of a blow but when you are working with a platinum selling artist you might feel a bit underserved by an OLP or some such other cheap gear, and you risk appearing unprofessional and therefore losing the gig.

(and before you ask, yes, the last gig I flew to was with a platinum selling artist)

Edited by jakesbass, 21 July 2009 - 11:03 AM.

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#40 chrkelly

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:44 PM

Good thread,

Jake's right on the lock thing. If it's locked and they want to open they WILL break it. The other problem is if they do open it, they're usually not too careful about closing it properly again. Last year on tour in the States they had opened my double bass case. They looked behind the bass and then didn't bother doing up the straps again before closing it. Got to the gig and I had a few open seams and a detached fingerboard! Fortunately there was a great luthier 10mins up the road and he lent me a great bass for the gig, repaired mine over the weekend and than delivered it back to my hotel! Great guy.


You just have to accept that it will go all wrong the odd time. Touring wouldn't be as fun if everthing works out perfectly all the time

Edited by chrkelly, 22 July 2009 - 10:56 PM.


#41 jim_at

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:23 AM

I have travelled all over the world with my basses and my best advice to anyone is to get a fitted flightcase for your instrument. Best protection bar none, all wood and metal like. Expensive and heavy but worth it, a life time of protection on the road / in the air. Just pad it out a bit with nearest bubble wrap / rags if you're flying, just to make sure.

DON'T PADLOCK YOUR INSTRUMENT. I have had my basses opened multiple times by Customs (they usually leave a note in the case saying its been checked) And I wouldn't want to piss them off with the hassle of having to break your padlock.

If you have any catches or loose parts on the case make sure you go over them with gaffer tape, to create smooth edges that won't get caught on things. If you do a decent job it will also act as a deterrent to any sneaky baggage handlers that want a quick peak at your instrument too!

And of course make sure you give the instrument a decent downtune before flying to prevent any warping/neck breakages (though unlikely on well made instruments)

Example of last time I went flying with gear:
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#42 Davemarks

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:26 AM

Hey chaps - if any of you would like to read the full details of my bass flight horror story, you can check it here:


http://s63821.gridserver.com/?p=457



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#43 Faithless

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:44 PM

Am I missing somethin', or your gig was 'declined', Dave? :)
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#44 Davemarks

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 07:45 PM

View PostFaithless, on Aug 2 2009, 02:44 PM, said:

Am I missing somethin', or your gig was 'declined', Dave? :)

Yeah.. the manager told me because I was late.. to get stuffed basically...

poo.


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#45 The Goatreich

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:45 AM

I've flown all over the world with my bass. I've always taken my coffin case which is now so battered it's held together by gaffer tape and magic alone. Once, in Indonesia I saw my case coming along the conveyor belt with the side split and my bass half hanging out. That wasn't fun, but all was ok luckily. I swore then that I would never fly with that case again and would get a proper custom fit flight case, but due to the expense of them I haven't managed yet.

Normally I put my bass, pedals and leads in the case, wrapping a few T-shirts around things so they fit snuggly. I never lock my case as security have complained about this in the past, but I put one of those luggage straps around the case which stops it falling open if the catches get popped.

With more flying and touring on the cards next year I really do think that a proper flight case should be on my list, anyone know of any companies that offer endorsements/artist discount? :)

Thankfully I never have to take my amp-head.
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#46 Stingray5

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 01:54 PM

View PostThe Goatreich, on Nov 25 2009, 11:45 AM, said:

I've flown all over the world with my bass. I've always taken my coffin case which is now so battered it's held together by gaffer tape and magic alone. Once, in Indonesia I saw my case coming along the conveyor belt with the side split and my bass half hanging out. That wasn't fun, but all was ok luckily. I swore then that I would never fly with that case again and would get a proper custom fit flight case, but due to the expense of them I haven't managed yet.

Normally I put my bass, pedals and leads in the case, wrapping a few T-shirts around things so they fit snuggly. I never lock my case as security have complained about this in the past, but I put one of those luggage straps around the case which stops it falling open if the catches get popped.

With more flying and touring on the cards next year I really do think that a proper flight case should be on my list, anyone know of any companies that offer endorsements/artist discount? :lol:

Thankfully I never have to take my amp-head.
I also would never lock my cases and always use luggage straps for extra safety but, frankly, I'm a little surprised that someone who has 'flown all over the world' with their bass (with more flying and touring on the cards) is not using a decent flight (or even semi-flight) case. Used ones do come up on ebay or check with companies like Flightcase Warehouse for old stock.
Hiscox lite-flite cases are also incredibly strong and retail new from around £70. One of mine was bought used from ebay for £40. (I've done the stand-on-it test, too, with my bass inside! :) )
Have fun and stay safe, wherever you go! :rolleyes:

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#47 The Goatreich

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 03:52 PM

Yeah, it's all thanks to the magic of gaffer tape. I'll look into those cases though, that's a very reasonable price!!

Cheers.
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#48 danny-79

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 08:04 PM

Thats what i want for christmas.

http://flightcasewarehouse.co.uk/music/lis...sp?modelid=3984

Then a caring baggage handler to load it on ....... yeah exactly dream on :) but gotta do what you can cause at the end of the day there is no ammount of insurance that can replace a guitar that you are attatched to , there are 100s like the one you got but no two are the same, its yours an you wanna keep it that way
But thank you to all who have put up idears and sugestions in this thred, been a great read an helpful (just wish could say the same about airports :rolleyes: )

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#49 bassbluestew

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 04:38 PM

I gotta give a HUGE +1 to the SKB Bass Safe mentioned at the beginning. I've done 200 plus flights - mostly Ryan Air and Sleazy Jet within Europe but have also flown into and out of Moscow a few times, the SKB was/is the mutts !!!

What they also offer is a lifetime insurance that if your instrument is damaged whilst in transit in one of these they will either replace or give you $1500 towards repairs. There are probably all sorts of horrible legal loopholes that they can employ to never actually pay out, but its a hell of a claim !!!

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#50 Huw Foster

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 12:19 PM

I wish I'd read this before a 3 week stint in Warsaw - we flew via Munich, the instruments got left there when delays caused us to miss the scheduled connecting flight... Thankfully they arrived in one piece the next morning, but it was a stressful few hours!

Will take note of these tips next time. :)

#51 AgentCooper

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 03:51 PM

Coming home in a few weeks and in quandry as to my cheap OLP :rolleyes: bought out here. BA have no problem allowing 'guitar' sized instrument as free extra hand luggage. Unfortunately Taipei to Hong Kong leg is Cathay Pacific and online policy is very anti instrument :) So looks like it's coming home in 2 pieces.
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#52 Dave Coxell

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:22 AM

I wish I'd known about this website a few weeks ago. I have just collected a EUB from the Tuscan Luthier Biarnel (www.Biarnel.com), and had lots of worry about how to get it home from Pisa to the UK. To cut a very long story short, I eventually came home with it on Ryan Air, having bought an extra seat for it. BA refused, saying it was too long (I really didn't want to dismantle it). It was in a soft gig bag; was not dismantled - i.e. nearly 5 foot long and more delicate than a bass guitar as you can imagine with the bridge etc., and they didn't make me remove the strings. I have to say that Ryan Air were really very good about it, and Pisa airport security were very understanding also. It's now safe and sound at home, where no doubt I'll break it through my own clumsiness somehow :)

#53 Stingray5

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 05:34 PM

View PostDave Coxell, on Mar 13 2010, 11:22 AM, said:

I wish I'd known about this website a few weeks ago. I have just collected a EUB from the Tuscan Luthier Biarnel (www.Biarnel.com), and had lots of worry about how to get it home from Pisa to the UK. To cut a very long story short, I eventually came home with it on Ryan Air, having bought an extra seat for it. BA refused, saying it was too long (I really didn't want to dismantle it). It was in a soft gig bag; was not dismantled - i.e. nearly 5 foot long and more delicate than a bass guitar as you can imagine with the bridge etc., and they didn't make me remove the strings. I have to say that Ryan Air were really very good about it, and Pisa airport security were very understanding also. It's now safe and sound at home, where no doubt I'll break it through my own clumsiness somehow :)
Welcome to Basschat.
I'd say you did the only thing you could do with your bass and that was to buy it a seat on the plane.
But what a joke BA is increasingly becoming. Given their current wranglings with more strikes looming, it's hardly surprising they're getting a reputation now as "the worlds least favourite airline"...!
Main thing is you got your EUB home in one piece. Now don't go and bend it! :rolleyes:

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#54 Twigman

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 10:27 AM

I got a new flight case before going to Greece this weekend.
It was custom made by ABS Flight Cases and is the dog's danglies of flight cases.
thanks ABS
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#55 olipaulo

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 01:24 AM

I've flew to Russia, Azores and Brazil with several instruments, within orchestras and a Big Band. When arriving to Russia, we saw the guys taking the cases off the airplane. We even made a film that served as evidence for insurance. Probably 60% of the instruments where damaged (or their boxes). Luckily I wasn't carrying my bass, I was with the clarinet. But I saw tubas, an accordian, saxofones, etc, all in proper flight cases and with TONS of fragile stickers and the guys where throwing them away off the airplane into the land transporters (no treadmills)!! From that point on, I always carry my bass in a gigbag, with me into the cabin. I never had to buy an extra seat or had to pay extra money. I just put it in my back and never asked anything to anyone. Last month they made me put it in the scale to see its weight, but that was it. I never flew low costs with it. I always try to get a proper airliner when travelling with my precious…
To Brazil we bought some space in a container. At the end it was a whole container for the big band. You know those containers, with the side inclined to fit the airplane cargo area?... A guy just brought the container to us in a forklift thing, in the check-in area in Lisbon airport. We loaded it ourselves. And when we arrived they brought the containers to us to unload. Everything was untouched! That was the only time I flew with my bass in the cargo bay. I have no idea how much the container costed…
But I’m going to check that extra seat option, in case I need it. Seems a good thing to do!
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#56 danny-79

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 08:15 PM

Brought a Stingray back from America a few weeks ago in its original case and it survived the trip in the hold just fine, it was still in tune let alone damaged in any way (the only scuffs were on the fragile stickers that they put on it when i checked it) but still working on getting a flight case just for my own peace of mind (its a long flight as it is with out worrying about, did it get changed to the correct connecting flight? is it OK ? etc)

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Fender - USA Jazz Deluxe, 2007 Sunburst (refinished Nordic Blue)....
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#57 Twigman

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:23 PM

I now have a custom made ABS full flight case for my bass and can whole heartedly recommend it...even Easyjet could only manage a few light scuffs on the exterior.....it may even be bullet proof???
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#58 jazzyvee

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 10:48 AM

I have travelled a lot abroad with my guitar with bands whilst touring and have in the main had very few problems at all. Most of the time I was travelling I took the guitar in a custom fitted flight case and a few times they have been damaged or covered in water but never damaged the instrument inside. What I have found is that in the USA they always open the cases and check. After doing so they leave a message inside to let you know it's been security checked and information if you need to contact them about it.

My preference would always be to carry it in a gig back or semi flight case and carry it on board with me into the passenger compartment. But it has always been difficult to get it confirmed in advance that it is ok to take the guitar on board so you take the risk when carrying it in a non flight case that the airline will insist it has to go in the hold. This happened on a tour to the states when the outgoing flight was cool about on-board guitars but on the way out the USA officials said NO!! So we had to put the guitars and basses & Saxes in the hold. Fortunately nothing was damaged but it does make travelling less relaxing.

Strangely I find if you are carrying a guitar or bass in a guitar or bass shaped case the check in people are more likely to let you carry it on board than if it's in a rectangular case.

btw I can recommend flightcase warehouse flight cases.
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#59 erisu

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:02 AM

Hi guys,

Just reviving this thread a little! I have a gig in Barcelona soon flying with Iberia and I'm going to buy a Hiscox hardcase to check-in my jazz bass with. I've heard the recommendations of don't lock the case but do put bubble wrap/old clothes in the case for protection and also to de-tune the neck.

But what about travel insurance incase the bass gets damaged/lost?

I've been looking around and see there are travel insurance for baggage and I've found Tesco to be the cheapest at just £6 for a single trip! Should I go with this? Or should I go with music instrument insurance specialists such as Musicguard? I'm not sure if you can cancel Musicguard after a month? It's really just a one off trip I'm doing so won't Musicguard it annually.

Thanks all! :)

#60 OmeDunk

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:08 PM

In July I will be gigging in Belfast.
So I'll be flying from Amsterdam with EasyJet.

Do you guys have any experience with taking the neck off the bass and transport it in two parts in your regular luggage?

Edited by OmeDunk, 18 February 2011 - 10:39 PM.

P4 & Chisonic'd Frankenfender
Shuttle 9.0, Kelly all valve PA
Genz Uber 115 & Barefaced Midget

IEM: Rolls PM 351 & Orchid DI
MS-60B

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