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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Airline travel with guitar

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Sunrise Blues, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Sunrise Blues

    Sunrise Blues TDPRI Member

    Feb 5, 2013
    Northeast, USA
    I will be flying next week within the US and have read the airline guidelines for traveling with an instrument. What has the experience been? I currently have (1) electric, a 97 American Standard Tele w/ gig bag. Is it worth traveling with? Should I pick up a squire so I won't care if it is mishandled? I would be trying to sneak it in the closet or the overhead, not checking it. Any experiences would be helpful.

  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Take the neck off?

  3. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

    Jun 26, 2008
    I was able to get a Tele in a thermometer case into the overhead. We checked a J200 and didn't have any problems even with a transfer. Of course, we were flying to Nashville.

  4. benhenny

    benhenny Tele-Holic

    Nov 1, 2005
    I've seen musicians carry on cellos. I believe they have a special compartment for such things. I'd like to hear from someone who's done it though.

    I do know you shouldn't check them -


  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Plus, are you making a connecting flight on a smaller airplane? On those, the overhead compartments are tiny.

  6. Chris H.

    Chris H. Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 2, 2010
    Take it as hand luggage, if there is no room in the overhead ask the steward to store it up front. This has never been a problem for me.

  7. bigjed

    bigjed Tele-Holic

    I bought a 2012 Vintage 52 earlier this year and took the neck off and carried it on. No problems. My old man is a travel agent and has booked a number of orchestras on very big tours, usually the bigger cellos and basses have their own seats and pay accordingly.

  8. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Holic

    May 2, 2008
    san diego
    I have a martin backpacker , small acoustic guitar. Going to ohio. I checked the webpage, called the info desk and confirmed that it was ok to bring overhead. The give me some hassle going there but its allowed. On the way back they inform me there are new rules and an faa rep is onboard and there is NO way they will let me bring it on no matter how stupid it all sounded. They made me check my small skinny body acoustic into baggage and I only had an unpadded gigbag for it. It came out ok but I was ready to go postal at the gate. Wouldn't let it in the special magic compartment I hear about or anything. I was convinced the people there were sorry and wanted to do everything they could without getting a $25000 fine or loosing their job.
    Bottom line, the government sets the rules, even the airlines don't know how to deal with it and the government doesn't give a flying f***k how much is screws you up. If its not replaceable buy it a seat anything else is a crapshoot but I have done this 7 or 8 times and this was the only prob.
    Bottom line is

  9. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    As a frequent flyer, and a player, I think it's damned inconsiderate to take a cased guitar on a plane and expect to be able to hog overhead space that probably 3 others could use for their carry-ons. If I had to travel with a guitar, I'd take one of my bolt-on's and remove the neck, making it pack nicely in a standard overhead allotment.

    The simple fact is that a guitar with the neck attached will NOT fit into any of the "baggage checkers" I've ever seen, and so should simply not be allowed as carry-on baggage.

    It does suck, and it's the airlines' greedy fault for not providing some space for reasonable overside carry-ons, but you often see people have to check luggage they shouldn't have to check, that would fit perfectly in an overhead, except some clown has been allowed to carry on his snowboard, or tennis racket in a big case, or big sombrero, or what have you.

  10. chesire

    chesire Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    The Ol' Pueblo
    I actually bought my Steinberger spirit for this reason. I have flown all over with it, without incident. While its not my Tele, it's definitely gig worthy and has been well received.

  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    That reminds me, don't forget the Carvin Holdsworth headless model!


  12. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Tele-Afflicted

    I agreee 100% with this. It is selfish and rude.

    We try and do a trip to Australia once a year. We get charged $60.00 to travel with a guitar as stowed baggage. so the last few times I just undid the strings from the tuners coiled them up and unbolt the neck.

    So easy and fits straight in to my bag/suitcase.

    No boarding problems, no chance of damage, no extra cost.

  13. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Every time I've flown with a guitar, I've checked it as baggage. Flew all over the U.S. without a problem.

    If I had a really valuable guitar, I would just buy a seat for it, it ain't that expensive and gives piece of mind having it right next to you.

  14. Sunrise Blues

    Sunrise Blues TDPRI Member

    Feb 5, 2013
    Northeast, USA
    Thank you for the information. I am a seasoned traveler but have never thought about bringing a guitar until this past couple of months as I have gotten very involved with it. I can relate to all reasonable responses but was looking for some reassurance to go on and do it. I'm not going to take the neck off my one and only but seems like a reasonable thing to do. A second squire like guitar might be in the cards. Thank you for the responses.

  15. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    Get a Martin LXM or a Baby Taylor. I think that the LXM's are $275 now (full price). Find an online coupon and buy one for $225 or so. They feel like a real guitar, they are easy to play, no amp required and you won't have trouble taking it on a small plane. You'll also have a nice little acoustic for writing and couch noodling for the rest of your life.

    I have flown about 30 times with an LXM both domestic and international and I have never had a problem taking the guitar on any flight. They can go from a frozen car trunk to hot airport without worry. It's a great way to go.

    I've had a couple LXM's and one Baby Taylor. I have a black LXM now that I bought on Craigslist for $150 in mint condition. I sold a spruce top LXM about 5 years ago and bought a nice Epi 000 acoustic and thought that I would fly with a "real" guitar and the worry factor drove me nuts at the airports. I never knew what was going to happen with the full sized guitar. I had to gate check it about 1/2 the time. The flight staff members never questioned the LXMs.

    LXM info link has $50 off $249 or more. You could get an LXM with the nice backpack for $239. You could get a black one and have a small Johnny Cash guitar!

    Fun to play anytime anywhere. Easy to fly with. No stress. Spring break family scuba trip March 2013........


    You have probably seen the backpack case but they look like this....


  16. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 28, 2003
    Sonoran Desert

    I was in a band that did about 15 fly dates a year. We would always try and book the least crowded flight we could. Usually something between midnight and 3am, and always get the first boarding. Most of the time the flight would have plenty of overhead space open. Between the four of us we had it down to where all of our instruments, in gig bags, and our little personal stuff would fit in one overhead bin. That was four of us using as much or less than any other four passengers on the plane.
    Sure every now and then we would end up on a full flight, and if there was no more open overhead space, I would gate check my guitar, just so others could use the overhead to stuff those gigantic 49 pound suitcases in.
    I really don't get what these people are doing with those things, you can only get three of them in an overhead and that can be almost 150 pounds of dirty underwear, socks, shoes and what ever they stuff in their luggage. Honestly I think those are the rude travelers. I can get six instruments in an overhead bin and it would weigh 1/3 of what 3 of those mega suitcases are.

  17. barney77

    barney77 Tele-Meister

    Apr 5, 2010
    I fly frequently with guitars and check them every time.
    Get a good flight case and you can't go wrong.
    Don't always expect that they will let you take it as carry on, even if someone from the air
    Line says you can.
    All it takes is a full flight and a crabby baggage checker or attendant, and you will be left high and dry.
    If you have a bullet proof case, you have no need to worry.
    It's a worthy investment.

  18. JCSouthpawtele

    JCSouthpawtele Friend of Leo's

    Apr 28, 2009
    Carry on. The attendant will put it in the closet by them or in an empty seat. The pic is of Brand New Machines last fly date.

    Attached Files:

  19. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I travel quite a bit. I put a metal eyelet like the tie downs on a tarp in the top of my travel gig bag. Then I have a modified coat hanger I can use to hang it in one of the closets. Since I have done this I have never had a problem scoring a closet.
    You can get the eyelets from Home Depot.

  20. DOC DYA

    DOC DYA Tele-Meister

    Oct 4, 2012
    Luçon _ France
    Flew from Tokyo to Paris, then Paris to Nantes (France) on Air France, with my Telecaster without a problem (though the girl at the counter in Narita said: "We'll have to check with the plane crew, if they're OK..." They didn't mind (!!!) and I put the guitar in the overhead compartment (in a lightweight Fender gigbag). Enough room in the compartment of an A 380 Airbus and even an A300 Airbus, even with the "road warriors" massive cabin luggages... The Air France flight attendant even wanted to know about the guitar! So, no problems for me!...

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