Airplanes and guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by hammy, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. hammy

    hammy Member

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    Even small travel guitars are bigger then overhead storage bins, which could result in checking the instrument. Does anyone take them apart (bolt -on neck of course) and pack them in a carry-on size bag? Just thinking
     
  2. thisHEREgiraffe

    thisHEREgiraffe Member

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    I always ask the flight attendants if they'd put my guitar in their coat closet up front. Most of the time they are nice and will do so, if not they normally check it just like a stroller or car seat and I get it back right when I get off the plane. Never had an issue flying with a guitar
     
  3. Jammer2393

    Jammer2393 Member

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    I have a traveller EG-1 which fits in the overhead... but yeah, try the closet first
     
  4. 335guy

    335guy Member

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    I just went through this. According to TSA, all commercial airlines are supposed to allow one to hand carry an instrument on board. But the airlines typically ignore this regulation. On many newer aircraft, the overhead bins are large enough to accept a regular guitar in it's case. During my recent travels, every attendant gave me grief over carrying my guitar onboard, and only one time did the flight attendant find room in the closet for my guitar. I decided that the attendants these days are not about customer service, and many appeared to be over worked and generally pissed off people. What ended up happening was I'd get to the aircraft, and they would stick a special tag on my guitar and then have a baggage handler hand carry it to the storage bay. At the end of the flight, the baggage handler would then hand carry it and have it ready at the aircraft's door for me to pickup. I guess this is a little better than checking it with the luggage, but not much. I could have made a scene and demanded the airline follow the TSA's regulation, but that may have ended up with me missing my flights, or getting kicked off the plane. I have been traveling by air for over 40 yrs, and I tell ya, the way airline travel is today sucks by comparison to what it was 40 yrs. ago. Today, it is just a flying bus.
     
  5. swem

    swem Supporting Member

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    I travel with my taylor gs mini. While technically I think it is bigger than a carry on is supposed to be its been on around 20 flights now without a problem. A couple tips though. 1. Bring it as your ONLY carry on, even if you are allowed a carry on and a personal item. 2. Board as early as you possibly can. If you board later and it looks like overheads are filling up ask the flight attendant nicely if they will stow it in the coat closet. The most recent trip I was on my connecting flight from denver to aspen, and from aspen to denver when I left was on the smallest jet aircraft I have ever seen. The gs mini BARLEY fit in the overhead, it was a bit hard to close. Again, board early put it in the overhead bin and shut it as soon as possible.
     
  6. rjpilot

    rjpilot Member

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    You can buckle it in to a seat, if there is room. you can put it in the overhead, if there is room. I have seen people buy a seat for their instrument. It then gets buckled in to the seat. That's gonna be the safest way to go, but the most expensive. Most folks getting on a plane carry everything on now due to baggage fees so there is not really any room to accommodate some fella's dreadnought monopolizing the overheads. Sorry. 40 years ago flying was a better experience. True. It was a better job too. 40 years ago planes were also less than 50% full most of the time. The cost of an airline ticket between two cities today is exactly the same as it.was in the 1970s (unadjusted for inflation). There is a saying in aviation that applies : Fast, good, cheap. Pick two. The customer buys the cheapest ticket without fail. If you are very concerned, secure the seat next to you for your guitar. Perhaps buy a heavy duty hardshell case and just check it. Most hardshell cases don't provide adequate protection. Perhaps you could ship it FedEx. Don't board a full jet late and expect the gate or crew to give you special treatment. If it ain't gonna fit it dont matter what the tsa says. Btw, you're gonna take advice from the guys who tell you they need to confiscate your tweezers and nail clippers for safety reasons? Eff the tsa. TSA don't fly. That said I personally try to help fellow guitar players. Sorry but from my perspective this is how it is. I could go on and on but there is no need, it ain't gonna change anything. One more thing...making a scene will get you nowhere fast.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  7. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    I'll be travelling with the family this summer and was wondering: I have a beater strat that I'd like to take with me. Would they give me less hassle about taking it (through security, through the cabin, etc) if I had it open, no case whatsoever, and just strapped on my back?

    Edward
     
  8. 335guy

    335guy Member

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    Yeah, I think that's what I said.

    Because competition in air travel has kept prices low, that's an excuse for lousy service and poor attitudes ?

    Yeah, that could be done. But according to the TSA's letter to the AFM, it should not be necessary.

    This is ideal, and if I did more air travel these days, this is the way I would do it. BTW, I did check another guitar and the ticket agent said they accept NO responsibility for damage, and check it at my own risk.

    On a couple of flights, I was one of the first to board. There was plenty of room in the overheads and the "closet" wasn't full yet. I realize everyone's experience isn't the same and different airlines most likely have different policies and levels of service. I just happened to have poor experiences with xxxxx Airline. My 335 in it's hardshell case was no larger in cu.ft than many of the bags my fellow passengers were dragging on board. Because it's a bit longer, the attendants just had an "attitude". You had to be there.

    And I didn't. Thought I said so. BTW, here is a link to TSA's letter to the AFM

    http://www.indie-music.com/downloads/AFM_carryon.pdf

    And an article re: this matter:


    A considerable risk for guitarists is traveling on an airplane with their instrument. Some musicians tell truly horrifying stories - ending with a priceless instrument being stolen, or its neck broken. Airlines do not adhere to strict (or sometimes seemingly any) standards concerning guitars as baggage, and stricter security regulations have complicated the movement of traveling musicians. Indie-Music.com recently solicited feedback from dozens of our readers about how they safely travel with their instrument, and compiled it for your use. We touch on strategies (carry on or check baggage), equipment, packing techniques, flight cases, and regulations.


    By Suzanne Glass
    Preferred: Carry Your Guitar On The Plane
    [​IMG] Airline procedures are extremely varied - one must be prepared for possible argument at each checkpoint or boarding, as well as attitude problems from Airline or Security employees.
    Attempt to carry your guitar on in a gig bag or soft case - the smaller, the better. (See our travel guitar links, below).
    Veteran musicians say you’re better off "not asking" if you can carry on the guitar, but simply approaching as if you always do it this way. (If you ask, they typically say, "No".)
    Arrive early. Try to pre-board, or at least get on early enough so that the overhead bins are still empty. Consider requesting a seat in the rear of the plane, which should board before front seats.
    Carry the AFM Letter (more info). Also try calling the airline in advance of your trip to request a mailed or faxed letter stating that they will allow you to carry the guitar on board.
    Consider flying off-peak. Sometimes night flights aren’t as crowded, and non-stops are ideal. (Peak times: Sunday, Monday morning, Thursday afternoon/evening, Friday, Saturday in summer, Holidays, seasonal events. Off peak times: Monday noon until Thursday noon, Saturday except in summer.)
    [​IMG]Be courteous and processional at all times.
    Pack all wire cutters, tuners, pedals, and other sharp or electronic devices in your checked baggage to increase the chances of carrying your guitar on board.
    Most plane overhead bins will hold a guitar in a gig bag (some even fit hardshell cases). There’s also room in the coat closet near the entry.
    If you can’t get on the plane, and are faced with checking your guitar in its gig bag, you’ll have a real problem. Your guitar is not safe in its soft case in the plane’s baggage hold. You may have to decide whether to fly or not. You can also (gulp) buy a second seat for your instrument as a last resort.
    Insure your instruments. (They are NOT covered on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you need a separate rider or policy.)
    Mare Lennon’s Good Lines for Getting On Board:

    • "Please, it’s my livelihood".
    • "You look like someone with a big heart..."
    • "It fits and I can prove it, if not, I’ll be happy to check it, but let’s see.."
    • "I just got off a flight with the same plane, it fit like a dream".
    • "How can we make this a win-win for everybody?"
     
  9. rjpilot

    rjpilot Member

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    I guess I know too many flight attendants.:pi
     
  10. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Member

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    Here are a few things that work for me.....
    1.Check all of your other baggage except a SMALL bag for your lappletop(computer)...nothing else.
    2.Get in the first class security line.Even if you are not holding a first class ticket!If anyone asks why you are there(they won't) tell them someone "down there" told you to because you are carrying a very valuable electric guitar.This will help you avoid the first person that WILL tell you that you MUST check your guitar.
    3.When boarding the plane smile at the first class passengers and politely ask the flight attendant(loudly so as the first class passengers hear you, but still in your indoor voice),MAY I PLEASE put my guitar in the closet?I may be flying coach,but my GUITAR is FIRST CLASS!
     

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