Do airlines allow travel guitars as carry-ons?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by dscottyg, Aug 1, 2021.

  1. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    I want to get a travel guitar like a Martin Backpacker, but I think they are longer than the little frame that airlines have near their check-in counters that tell you how big your carry-on can be.
     
  2. saleake

    saleake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I carried a Martin LXI on vacation in 2018 and put it in the overhead compartments on several different airlines.
     
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  3. Chuckster

    Chuckster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've carried my full-sized Yamaha acoustic in a padded gig bag on Southwest to/from Milwaukee for the last 8 years. Put it in the overhead... never even a question.
     
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a stick Ministar Castar with a Strat HSH pickup array and 25.5" scale in its carry bag and never had an issue. It's so slim it fitted easily into 777 and Porter Bombardier planes in Canada.

    images - 2021-08-01T221432.794.jpeg
     
  5. andy__d

    andy__d TDPRI Member

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    If you’re on a busy flight with limited overhead space, try going up to the flight attendant in the first class cabin, and ask if you can stash it in the coat closet. If you ask nicely, they are usually very accommodating.
     
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    If it's bigger than the allowance the item becomes risky. As soon as you have a full flight you will be told to ramp-check it where it gets tossed into the regular hold. If you make it through the ramp but people are struggling to fit big winter jackets and everything into the overheads then often the attendants grab stuff and throw it in the hold.

    There was a time that extra bags were getting a $100/flight, $200 round trip, fee added on. So it would be cheaper to fly somewhere, buy a used guitar from a store or local Craigslist to play while you are there and just leave it behind with friends or on consignment at the store.



    .
     
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  7. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    They make an allowance for musical instruments to be outside the normal dimensions. Check the airlines policy but it's pretty universal. I just flew with cross country with a tele in a gig bag, carry on both ways, no probs and those were over-full flights where they were asking folks to check some carryons. Just be cool and you'll be fine.
     
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  8. 62 Jazzmaster

    62 Jazzmaster Friend of Leo's

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    Here's hoping this never happens:

     
  9. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I feel like Voyage Air should start paying me for free advertising, as I post this every time someone here asks about travel guitars. I'm honestly not affiliated, just a fan.

    https://voyageairguitar.com/

    I've got an acoustic and electric and I got an acoustic for my daughter. Actually daughter commandeered the electric too, lol.

    Worth it if you travel or gig in tight spaces. Full size guitar, folds at neck, opens and closes in under a minute, strings stay on and when you open it, it is pretty close to being in tune.

    I gig mine, and usually get a little interest from bar patrons who want to check out the folding guitar. Gives you an opening to work the crowd a bit and get people near the tip jar, lol

    Edit: forgot to say, they're specifically designed for air travel overheads, thus the name :)
     
  10. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    I wouldn’t try it if you have one of these, though:

    upload_2021-8-1_6-59-57.jpeg
     
  11. Cpb2020

    Cpb2020 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    This. I used to travel extensively pre-March 2020. I routinely (dozens of time) saw folks with guitars ask the flight attendants nicely whether they could store it in the coat closet. I never saw them say no. That’s not to say that you won’t get turned around earlier if you have an ornery gate or security attendant.
     
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  12. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Last I traveled on an airliner (and hopefully my very last time) I carried the guitar with me, and checked it wing-side.
    No problems.

    ;)
     
  13. lil scotty

    lil scotty Tele-Holic

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    A backpacker should be fine. If you look at the other bags people bring on, that guitar is much smaller. I would not bring another roller bag tho. Maybe a backpack that fits under seat. When I travel with a guitar I keep the carry-ons to minimum to increase odds that the guitar will stay safely with me.
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Generally they allow full size guitars in cases and will often place them in the back of the hanging locker. It used to be an issue, but the airlines finally got the message a few years back. You never know though........
     
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  15. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Afflicted

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  16. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve found it you greet the flight attendant right as you board they are usually quite willing to help. Just ask. Sometimes they’ve moved bags to make a safe space on top or in the coat compartment up front.
     
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  17. dscottyg

    dscottyg Tele-Meister

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    What does checked it wingside mean?
     
  18. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    Airlines allow guitars, even full size guitars on board on a space available basis. You may be forced to check it at the gate. Then it will fly in the hold with the rest of the baggage but will at least be carefully loaded. I was able to fly with a dread in a case from LAX to JFK but there are considerations. There’s more room in the front of the jet, both overhead and in the locker in the entryway used by the crew. A first class ticket gets you more than a bigger seat and wine from a bottle with a cork. Status counts twice. Airlines are kinder to their high status flyers. With status, you’ll board first and have first access to overhead carry on space if your case will fit. Don’t worry about long. Depth and height still matter. If you don’t have status, pay the upgrade fee for an extra leg room coach seat. You’ll get the same benefits as a lower tier status passenger.

    The law says you can carry on a guitar if space is available. Be nice. You may be surprised how much more a please with a smile gets you than a demand with a scowl.

    This is a gear forum last I checked. Why not use flying as an excuse to get a new parlor guitar?
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  19. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Afflicted

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    My daughter brought a Telecaster in its gig bag along with a G-Dec Jr. amp back from LA to Houston with no issues taking it aboard the aircraft cabin.
     
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  20. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    Pack it for this:

     
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