Baggage checking a box containing two guitars in OHSCs?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dieselJosh, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. dieselJosh

    dieselJosh Member

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    Picture this:

    Two guitars, firmly nestled in their OHSCs, stacked on top of each-other, covered with some foam cushioning, and then slid into a firm custom-built cardboard double-box. I'm pretty certain this can be done weighing in under 50 lbs. I believe this would meet the ATA guidelines for a single piece of allowed checked luggage.

    I would like to take my guitars abroad, so I am thinking that I could take as many as 6 in a trip. Two would be in a double-guitar/bass gigbag as my carry-on. Two would be in one box of checked luggage as described above. And then maybe another two would be in another box, for a total of 6 instruments without having to pay the $50 per piece overage charge my airline (american) charges!

    Has anybody done anything like this; checked as luggage two guitars, in their cases, in a box? I'm flying to London.

    (And before you say it, I can fit everything else I need for my stay into a small backpack allowed as a "personal item" in addition to my carry-on dual gigbag).

    Thanks,
    -Josh
     
  2. indytruckboy

    indytruckboy Member

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    I'm sorry. But there really can't be a reason that you need 6 guitars, but only 'personal' stuff that fits into a backpack. :worried

    Most people have problems with one guitar. Let alone 6. I wouldn't want to chance the loss either. I'd never trust a baggage handler.
     
  3. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    Weight isn't your problem, as it is only 25 dollars extra for overweight luggage (I've played in the carribean at youth conferences and had to check my Jubilee head in a suitcase that was to heavy).

    Your problem will be that it will be too big size wise with 2 guitars, foam, and an oversized box. And thats a 100 dollar upcharge right away. Carrying a bass onboard is iffy also. I doubt it fits in the overhead compartments. I carry my Les Paul on when I fly with it, and it barely fits and they usually make me stick it in the coat closet up front.
     
  4. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    Whatever you do, make sure they handle the baggage as oversized, which means it gets hand carried and loaded differently than the normal luggage.

    No guarantee of safety but it is much less likely to get crushed under 12 suitcases.

    I wouldn't focus so much on the weight as on the protection. I just checked a Breedlove acoustic for a trip from the US to Singapore and I used a ton of bubble wrap and other packing inside the case and around the case in a packing box. It made it just fine....WHEW!!!!
     
  5. j_m_s

    j_m_s Member

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    wowzers. cool what are ya in singapore for?

    @ the TS, ive checked in my strat for flights and its been fine. SKB 66 hardcase. Well they were not long d flights so. yeah. Longest was from Hong Kong to Singapore.
     
  6. dieselJosh

    dieselJosh Member

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    Why can't I need 6 guitars? I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that Customs wouldn't let me through?

    And what do you mean when you say that "most people have problems with one guitar"? Please clarify.

    Many pro players on this board have indicated that they regularly travel on international flights with instruments.

    -Josh
     
  7. Nelly

    Nelly Member

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    I've never had a problem putting guitars through the oversized baggage system. I would guess 90% of bands fly with OHSC, rather than flightcases. The excess weight is more expensive than replacing the instrument if you fly a lot.

    Only time I've tried taking 6 guitars was from London to Tokyo for Live 8. There were enough of us to get through security, but even traveling first class we had to hand them all over at the gate. Got them back straight after we arrived.

    I'd be worried about packing two cases together. Chances are it will be one guy lifting the package, if it's heavy they are more likely to throw it.
     
  8. dieselJosh

    dieselJosh Member

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    Nelly,

    Did you yourself check all 6 guitars as oversized baggage, just in their OHSC's? Did you tape the latches or handles or anything? Lock them? Etc etc?

    Did you get hassled at customs upon arrival?

    Thanks alot for sharing your personal experiences; I want to do this right, and as affordably as possible.

    Gratefully,
    -Josh


     
  9. swimrunner

    swimrunner Member

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    I hardly have any experience in this but a "HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE PLEASE" written all over the box probably would not go amiss.
     
  10. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    You're not allowed to lock checked luggage anymore. It has to be available for inspection by security. I've checked my flight case a few times and it's been opened and inspected every time. They leave a tag inside telling you about it. On two occasions they also gave it back to me with only one buckle latched (out of the five buckles). I finally gave up on the flight case and now try to carry the guitar on board if possible or gate check it if necessary. If you're going alone, then trying to fly with six guitars seems like a nightmare to me. I would think the odds of something going very wrong are approaching 100% no matter how you approach it.
     
  11. indytruckboy

    indytruckboy Member

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    Are you planing on moving or something? I don't understand how you have to have 6 guitars and only a couple of personal things in a backpack. If you are visiting somewhere and you take 6 guitars, well that just seems obnoxious to me. If you are moving, why don't you just mail them? It just sounds absurd. To me any way.
    And by problems, I mean everytime I tried to carry on a guitar, they say its to big and has to be checked. I am not to keen on checking a guitar in case unlocked and all.
     
  12. Nelly

    Nelly Member

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    Josh, the instance where we took 6 onboard was a bit of a weird one. There were 8 of us in the party, and as the band was pretty famous they escorted us through the fast channel of security. Still wouldn't let us take them on board though. None of the cases were opened during X-ray.

    I always detune the guitars, gaffa tape every latch on the case. Chances are you will have to check it in anyway. Don't bother locking them, it only takes a screwdriver to open a locked case.

    If you do check it into the oversize baggage they come out a different carousel. Hopefully they take a bit more care!

    Never had any problems at customs with guitars, had plenty of questioning going to the USA when I've not been working. Check if you need a work visa if you are coming to London to gig.
     
  13. dieselJosh

    dieselJosh Member

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    Nelly,

    Thanks for the great info! I'll check on a work visa, and see how it goes! Your advice and experience sharing is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to know. Thanks again; it's priceless!

    Jim Soloway,

    I appreciate your concerns, and sharing your thoughts. I'm aware of the locked luggage prohibition, but there are TSA-approved locks you can buy which can be opened with TSA universal keys. Anytime a guitar is out of hand, it's a risk. I'll do everything I can to minimize the risks to the instruments; over-size baggage specification, gate-checking, super-careful packing, etc etc. I've got the instruments fully insured with a separate policy as well.

    Indytruckboy,

    The airlines allow instruments to be a carry-on item; if you search the threads on this subject, you'll even find a letter from the airlines to NAMM specifying such. Also, it's clear in the rules you can read on the airline's websites; at least for the airline I'll be flying. As for the absurdity of 6 guitars, I've got no good answer for that!

    Thanks, everybody! This board continues to provide me with priceless insight and info that helps me better function in the world!
     

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