Flying with a Guitar

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by msr13, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. msr13

    msr13 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Upstate New York
    I did a search, but couldn't find an exact answer.

    I am flying on a couple of little planes next week. USAir. I am planing to take a guitar with me. My thought was to put the guitar in a gig bag. Either a Mono case or a Reunion Blues (Guitar Center) version. I want to get a Cronkite bag for future use, but too late for this trip. These are the two bags I have. I will most likely have to gate check. Does anyone have experience gate checking either of these bags? If I take a hard case, I am afraid they will make me check it all the way through. The Mono is lighter and more comfortable. The RB is smaller (more likely to fit into small places), but seems a little firmer. The guitar is insured, but I would still prefer not to break it. Thanks for any insights or advice.
  2. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

    Jul 29, 2005
    K7C 4K8
    Use a hard case to gate check. You're taking a chance with a bag.
    I travel withgig bags all the time WHEN I KNOW I can take it on board.
  3. maxVsf

    maxVsf Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    San Francisco
    If you carry a guitar in a gig bag, do not let them gate check it. Ever.
  4. clc12rock

    clc12rock Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I flew Delta about a year and a half ago and I could bring my LP in a Gibson hard case on the plane with me, but I was in bigger planes. I've heard of the attendants letting you put them in their closets on the planes too, but I've never experienced that myself.
  5. msr13

    msr13 Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Upstate New York
    Hard case it is, then. Thanks for all the advice.
  6. alvarete

    alvarete Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Hard case, when they ask you at the desk say you phoned in advance and they said you could carry it. Ask the flight attendants to check it in the coat rack near the front of the plane. I've flown tons of times with guitars on-board, never had any problems except when flying Air France, and even then they let me carry it on-board after asking to speak to a supervisor.
  7. Martin Reid

    Martin Reid Member

    May 8, 2009
    Are we talking guitars here or The Mile High Club? :banana:banana:banana
  8. lingering_lead

    lingering_lead Member

    Mar 1, 2009
    Denver, CO
    I fly often. Some times I see guys get away with the "closet" trick. If I had a dollar for every time I was GLAD I was not checking a guitar......

    If I really wanted my guitar to show up on schedule and in one piece I would fed ex it!
  9. anais

    anais Member

    Sep 19, 2009
    you can take it as carry on.. they will put it in the coat closet for you- every time I fly I do this on all airlines and it is never a problem.
  10. NBarnes21

    NBarnes21 Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    Bring it to the gate with you in it's hard case, make sure there's nothing in there that won't get through security. Try and get it on the plane, if they won't let you, detune the strings and gate check it. This way you avoid all the conveyer belts and it getting banged around. The bag guy grabs it, gives you a ticket, and puts it under himself, then you get it back when you get off the plane. Done this 15+ times in national and international flights with no issues.
  11. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    i should have prefaced my post by mentioning that i've been flying to gigs, regularly,
    for some 30 yrs, at this point, and still do.
    i may be late to this thread, since the OP has already decided what's best for him/her to try.

    i fly SW "business select", domestically, about every 10 days or so. sometimes more.
    since they only fly 737's w/decent OH compartments, i carry one gtr onboard
    --- on every flight ---
    in a leather Levy's, padded gigbag;
    these are usually my $10k+ instruments.
    flying "business select" on SW guarantees me first shot at the OH compartments,
    since SW's '37's have no passenger-available closets.
    no problems, to date, in 3 yrs of this kinda activity.

    (on int'l flights, i generally check the guitar into baggage, unless flying business or 1st-class --- see below, re: claim tickets, packing, taping.)

    it's all about the plane..... and your new "relationship" w/the flight attendants/check-in folks.
    be charming. be wonderful & communicative w/yer new friends,
    or at very least,
    be completely straightforward w/o causing consternation.
    be early. very early.
    commuter flights
    --- turbo-props & very small jets, etc ---
    can be veeeerrrrry dicey in regards to the length & size of guitars as carry-ons.

    check what kind of craft you'll be flying, OR:
    follow brian's advice, & consider this:
    get a GREAT flight case (w/supplied support for the neck-heel & headstock of the instrument),
    tune it down to "C",
    use threaded strapping-tape around the case fully @ 3 points,
    insure the instrument completely,
    and check it in as baggage.

    and, never ever never leave the check-in area w/o first confirming,
    in view of the check-in attendant,
    that the baggage claim-tix precisely match the bags you're checking,
    and that each bag is at least marked w/the correct destination-city.

    dt / spltrcl
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009

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