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Airline "gate-checking" still allowed?

jefrobie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
741
With new security be tightened, just wondering if airlines are still allowing guitars to be gate checked. I'll be flying on Fronier Airlines in February...Anyone weigh in! thanks,
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,293
Why not just carry your guitar on? I've done it dozens of times and never been refused.
 
Messages
8,093
Yes, why gate-check, when you can carry on? Check to see what equipment you will be flying. Almost all modern equipment has overhead storage that will accomodate a gtr, except the tiniest puddle-jumpers.
 

gtrfinder

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,719
Yes, why gate-check, when you can carry on? Check to see what equipment you will be flying. Almost all modern equipment has overhead storage that will accomodate a gtr, except the tiniest puddle-jumpers.
I respectfully disagree. I flew Midwest Airlines from DFW to Milwaukee this summer on a smaller jet, but no puddle jumper. I ended up gate checking because the guitar (Les Paul hardcase) would not fit in the overhead bin.
 

whitehall

Member
Messages
5,256
I always find these threads interesting. I flew 60K miles for work last year. I always fly in/out of six major cities on most of the major airlines. I can count the number of guitars I have seen carried on board on one hand. And mostly they were in gig bags. You have to remember that now the airlines almost all charge for checked bags. So everybody tries to carry on everything. It's a real mess. I pity anyone that flies more than I do , being an air warrior is not fun, even when you fly business class.
 

rjpilot

Senior Member
Messages
2,607
The following aircraft have overhead space that will accommodate a large wallet and thats it.

EMB/ERJ 135,145, (made by Embraer in Brazil) I'm not sure if the 170, and 190 can accomodate normal carry-ons.
CRJ200, 700, 900 (Canadair made by Bombardier in Canada)
Saab 340, Dehavilland Dash 8

There are no overheads or lavatories on a Beechcraft 1900 or a jetstream 31 but I'm not sure if anyone flies the j31 in the us anymore.

Boeing, Mcdonald Douglas, and Airbus aircraft have normal overheads. ..And even the old Fokkers..
 

phoenix 7

Senior Member
Messages
25,730
I was able to gate check my guitar every time I tried (on about 5 flights) around Xmas and New Years, even with the heightened security measures.

I always fly with a good flight case that I'm prepared to gate check because on occasion they will not let you take it on board. And if it's in a gig bag then, you are f***ed.
 

sixstring531

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,221
Flew a few weeks ago -- guy in front had to gate check his little classical guitar (in not so good chipboard case). At least it was gate checked and not thrown in on bottom.
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,293
Yes, why gate-check, when you can carry on? Check to see what equipment you will be flying. Almost all modern equipment has overhead storage that will accomodate a gtr, except the tiniest puddle-jumpers.
Unfortunately it's not that easy. A guitar especially in a case won't fit in the overhead of any regional jet, except maybe an EMB 170 series.

Like he said here:

The following aircraft have overhead space that will accommodate a large wallet and thats it.

EMB/ERJ 135,145, (made by Embraer in Brazil) I'm not sure if the 170, and 190 can accomodate normal carry-ons.
CRJ200, 700, 900 (Canadair made by Bombardier in Canada)
Saab 340, Dehavilland Dash 8

There are no overheads or lavatories on a Beechcraft 1900 or a jetstream 31 but I'm not sure if anyone flies the j31 in the us anymore.

Boeing, Mcdonald Douglas, and Airbus aircraft have normal overheads. ..And even the old Fokkers..

Check with the carrier, but if you're on any kind of RJ plan on checking it.
 
Last edited:

Blues Rocker

Member
Messages
167
I am an airline pilot for a major airline and we are happy to take guitars on board. Having said that, here are some suggestions:

1.) Try to pick flights that are at full capacity. Flight Attendants (and please don't call them Stewardesses, that went out 30 years ago and is demeaning) are much more likely to feel like the guitar isn't taking up other paying customer's overhead space if the flight isn't booked full.

2.) At the gate, if they offer some resistance, tell them you are a performer and your guitar is critical to your profession and very expensive.

3.) I'm not kidding here...buy some candy to share with the ticket agent and especially the Flight Attendants and Pilots. Even if they don't eat it, it is a sign of good will and will earn you immediate attention and favor.

4.) Don't pull out the "I demand to have it placed on the plane" like so many self-serving articles seem to push these days. Playing the "nice and polite" card goes so much further, as does being reasonable. If they like you they may even put it inside their Flight Attendant closet, depending on the size of the plane.

5.) If you can take your guitar in a well-padded gig bag (like the Godin's I like) they will take up much less space than a hsc...consequently keeping the FA's happier!

6.) Commuter planes, whether jets or turboprops, don't normally have the space or appropriate sized overheads to place your precious guitar. However, because it is often a more quaint operation, you can often ask the bag handler or his supervisor to place it carefully in the cargo hold, and even watch them do it. Again, a little candy for them never hurts!

I cannot vouch that these will work for American, United or Delta as they seem to have lost the love and are very unhappy campers these days. However, for Virgin America, Frontier, JetBlue and perhaps others like them, they try very hard to treat their customers well and keep them happy, IF the customer is pleasant from the start!
 

pickaguitar

2011 TGP Silver Medalist
Messages
22,187
I respectfully disagree. I flew Midwest Airlines from DFW to Milwaukee this summer on a smaller jet, but no puddle jumper. I ended up gate checking because the guitar (Les Paul hardcase) would not fit in the overhead bin.
I always put my guitar in the coat rack/bin
 

poolshark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,239
I flew a Strat with HSC from Tallahassee to ATL to Midway in December, and gate checked for both flights. Taped the case shut, just in case, then did my best to sweet talk the staff. Delta policy, as they told me, is to allow instruments to ride in the cabin; my case, however, was simply too big to fit the cabin of either plane. When I saw this, I acted concerned but gracious for any help, and both times the attendants and baggage guys kindly assured me they'd take good care of it. Also, either because I was nice or because of the instrument policy, they checked the case fo' FREE. Lesson: It's all about people skills.
 

msr13

Member
Messages
2,128
I recently posted a similar questions last month. The advice was to use a hard case, gate check. I was flying the small, regionals. I chose a slightly different approach. I went and bought a cheap guitar, put it wrapped up a little (t-shirts) in my Mono hybrid bag. This way, if something happened, I didn't care. I was flying USAir. Two of the regionals had closets. Both times, the flight attendents refused to put the bag in the closet citing FCC rules (I've never heard before). I am a 100,000 mile flier. They are generally very nice to me, so I was a little shocked by their reaction. I was pleasantly surprised that the Mono bag fit into the regional jets' overhead. Two of the four planes were without first class sections. These were all planes with 2 seats per side. The bag would not have fit in in the propeller planes, or the one seat jobbers, but... I really thought I would have to gate check all the way. Not once.
 

HEY!YOU!

Senior Member
Messages
3,795
Today, all flights are full and they won't want your 1 guitar taking up the entire
over head bin.
A few yrs ago my LP in its hsc fit above, but nothing else but jackets and little bags could fit with it. People gave me stink eye bad.

Usually the stewardess will let me put it in their closet so it doesn't take up all the space.
 

NateFreezy

Member
Messages
98
Don't know if other people had done this, but I've had good experience with wrapping my hsc in bubble wrap and taping it, then just checking it as normal (leave the handle free to carry it). The bubble wrap might get a little beat up, but have avoided any wear on my cases this way.
 

rjpilot

Senior Member
Messages
2,607
Today, all flights are full and they won't want your 1 guitar taking up the entire
over head bin.
A few yrs ago my LP in its hsc fit above, but nothing else but jackets and little bags could fit with it. People gave me stink eye bad.

Usually the stewardess will let me put it in their closet so it doesn't take up all the space.
I have seen that work. You really can't count on it though... FAs can be protective of their personal space or it could already be filled. Be polite...Address them as sir or Maam. When I was on the erj-145 I would check the gate area for axe carriers and always offer to put it in the Crew closet. On the larger jets the space for the pilots and FAs is seperate.
 

rjpilot

Senior Member
Messages
2,607
I am an airline pilot for a major airline and we are happy to take guitars on board. Having said that, here are some suggestions:

1.) Try to pick flights that are at full capacity. Flight Attendants (and please don't call them Stewardesses, that went out 30 years ago and is demeaning) are much more likely to feel like the guitar isn't taking up other paying customer's overhead space if the flight isn't booked full.

2.) At the gate, if they offer some resistance, tell them you are a performer and your guitar is critical to your profession and very expensive.

3.) I'm not kidding here...buy some candy to share with the ticket agent and especially the Flight Attendants and Pilots. Even if they don't eat it, it is a sign of good will and will earn you immediate attention and favor.

4.) Don't pull out the "I demand to have it placed on the plane" like so many self-serving articles seem to push these days. Playing the "nice and polite" card goes so much further, as does being reasonable. If they like you they may even put it inside their Flight Attendant closet, depending on the size of the plane.

5.) If you can take your guitar in a well-padded gig bag (like the Godin's I like) they will take up much less space than a hsc...consequently keeping the FA's happier!

6.) Commuter planes, whether jets or turboprops, don't normally have the space or appropriate sized overheads to place your precious guitar. However, because it is often a more quaint operation, you can often ask the bag handler or his supervisor to place it carefully in the cargo hold, and even watch them do it. Again, a little candy for them never hurts!

I cannot vouch that these will work for American, United or Delta as they seem to have lost the love and are very unhappy campers these days. However, for Virgin America, Frontier, JetBlue and perhaps others like them, they try very hard to treat their customers well and keep them happy, IF the customer is pleasant from the start!
Hey BR,

How can you spot an airline pilot at a party?
 

oslo

Member
Messages
307
A couple of years ago, I had a regular sized cheap acoustic with me in a gig bag from LA to Norway. I did not know what gate checking was, so I was forced to check the guitar in a luggage, even though I called in advance and asked about it. Last year, me and my friend flew from NY to Norway. I had a heavy as hell les paul traditional in a hardshell case, and my friend had a Gibson Jumbo acoustic in a gibson hardshell case, and we had no problem taking them on the plane. Go figure...
 

grizzled

Member
Messages
1
I own a Little Martin LX1E which I bought specifically for air travel. Flew on a United Express ERJ 145 from IAD <-> DTW last weekend to visit family. The Little Martin in its gig bag easily fit in the overhead bin. Inside of the overhead is roughly 48 x 10 x 15 but it's not really a rectangular solid inside.

As other posters have said I have no problems with a normal jet (737, 757, 767, etc).

It also helps that I'm Premier on UAL so I get to board close to the beginning of the line.
 




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