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Gear on airlines

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by RollingBender, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

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    Any working guitar players out there who fly with their gear? What do you take? What do you check as opposed to carry on? Horror stories???
     
  2. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    Most airlines now allow you to carry on a guitar.
    I would carry on an acoustic, to avoid low temperatures checked baggage may endure.

    Years ago, a trip overseas resulted in an area of my acoustic guitar finish getting a "frosted" look, which I assume to be caused by low temp's in the cargo hold.

    A friend of mine recounted to me, a baggage handler roughly handling his guitar (in a case, of course). He watched through the cabin window his guitar unceremoniously thrown and landing on the ground.

    More horror stories to follow, I'm sure.
     
  3. Silent Otto

    Silent Otto Tele-Holic

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    would it have been better if the guitar was ceremoniously thrown? :p
     
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  4. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    I flew with two guitars over thirty years ago...they were both "misrouted/misplaced/we don't know where they are". They showed up in a taxi ~4 days later (hung over with new tattoos...ok, maybe not, but 4 days later).

    Once while flying a twin engine airline along the Gulf Coast (it stopped at every little airport), I noticed a bag just like mine on the luggage/freight trolley as the plane began to taxi away from the ramp...yup, my bag. It caught up in time to go home.

    That said, for the years and years, and bezillion miles I've flown, those are the only two times I've had what could be called an issue. Would I check a guitar again...probably not...I'd probably ship it.
     
  5. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

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    I read somewhere on the internet ( so it must be true) that many airlines will allow a guitar in the cabin area and that the flight attendants will stow it in the same area where they put the screaming child’s stroller.
     
  6. iceman86

    iceman86 TDPRI Member

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    I fly Southwest 6-8 times a year and they allow a guitar as a carry on item as long as it fits in the overhead bin. I have never had an issue with it. I have flown with a gig bag and hard case.

    If there is someone else on the flight with a guitar case, I usually try to coordinate with them and stack our cases together in the same bin so that they take up less room for other passengers.
     
  7. iceman86

    iceman86 TDPRI Member

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    I think that is the case if they happen to have a coat or storage closet on board. I have not experienced that with SW but it may be the case with other "fancier" airlines.
     
  8. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Last summer, my cousin who was then living in NYC was kind enough to bring back my Fender CS that I bought used online, and which the seller did not want to ship to Europe because of CITES limitations.

    Anyhow he had to fight a little bit to board the guitar because they were trying to push him to check it. But as soon as it was on board, it flew onto a 1st class seat while my cousin was enjoying the Economy :oops:
     
  9. ArcticWhite

    ArcticWhite Tele-Afflicted

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    I have flown carrying an acoustic in a hard shell case several times in the past few years. Always carry on. Even if it won't fit in the overhead bins. The flight attendants will put it in a closet, or in their own space for you.
    I have a buddy who is a professional guitarist, and he NEVER checks his guitar, ever.
    Also, you get to preboard with the first class/baby toting people. Just check in at the desk when you arrive at your gate.
    I believe the airlines are required by federal law to allow you to carry on musical instruments of reasonable sizes. Guitars are included. Some guys carry a printed copy of the regulation.

    Edit: my guitar did not fit in the overhead, and they always found a spot for it. In fact they had a great attitude, and you get to be known as the "guitar guy". The captain will smile as you deplane.
     
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  10. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    Well ... NO

    Unceremonious suggests a high level of apathy and neglect, and perhaps a dislike of the job.
    Ceremonious suggests a level of intent and malice. The intent being to cause damage.

    Doing the throwing ceremoniously would probably be more damaging.
     
  11. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm picturing them in hooded robes, surrounded by lit candles, chanting ominously while throwing all the guitars onto the tarmac.
     
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  12. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Eh, to add something constructive, I've flown a few times with guitars between Australia, NZ and Japan, around 10-15 years ago. I didn't think there was an option for carrying on.

    No horror stories but I did get a brand new hard case back with a decent chip out of it which shows you how much they (don't) care. On the other hand, I also checked a beater Strat style in a soft case with a little bubble wrap inside and I was surprised it came through completely fine.

    If I were to do it again I would remove the neck and, either check it that way, or put it in the luggage protected by clothes.
     
  13. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    Standard uniform for baggage handlers??
    I think you're onto something here. (While the passengers watch on helplessly, locked and strapped in the cabin.)

    I can see a song coming out of this. Guitars a sacrifice to their demon-god.
     
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  14. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

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    Anyone ever bring a small amp or pedal board in their carry on?
     
  15. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Only ever flew once, on Allegiant, with a guitar. No questions asked when I put it in the overhead bin, and I did get a few favorable looks from the flight attendants. This was a miracle, as ugly as I am!
     
  16. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

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    I routinely fly between the USA and southeast Asia. I have an American-made Fender, but I've always been too scared to risk being denied carry-on status after layovers outside the States. I would never baggage check a guitar. So what I did was buy a Japanese Tele when I got to the Philippines and keep that guitar there and the USA one back home.

    I think things have actually gotten better recently, with the new carry-on law discussed above. I'd definitely recommend carrying a printed copy of it in your carry-on baggage just in case, I've heard about people getting denied or green flight crew not knowing about the law.

    But when the flight crews honor the spirit of the law, it seems to work. Most of the time the guitar gets put in the closet with the baby strollers, and that's fine with me. All I really care about is not having to remove the neck. I would put a small stubby screwdriver in my gig bag just in case I had to remove the neck and stow it in an overhead bin.

    A few pro tips I read from guitarist Chris Smither (he used to have an article online about it, but it's no longer available):

    1. Always carry the guitar in the best gig bag you can afford, never a hard case. When you approach the desk at the boarding area to inform them you have a guitar to carry on, sling the bag over the shoulder furthest away from the agent (making it look smaller than it really is).

    2. Be unfailingly polite to the flight crew and staff. You are far more likely to get permission to carry on that way, even if it is the law and technically they can't deny you.

    3. After you show your boarding pass and they tie on or hand you the little ticket for your gig bag, start walking down the sky bridge and conveniently get "clumsy" and drop or tear off the ticket on the sky bridge long before you get to the door of the plane.

    4. When you enter the plane, politely ask the flight attendant at the door to stow your guitar in the crew closet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
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