Flying with a Strat. How?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tremolo Arm, May 10, 2016.

  1. Tremolo Arm

    Tremolo Arm Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2014
    Location:
    Windsor, UK
    Apologies if this has been discussed (I would be surprised if it hasn't been) but I could not find any info through the search engine.

    What is the latest policy on taking an electric guitar on board a commercial aircraft?

    I have a gig in Paris and need to take my Strat. I am flying British Airways from London Heathrow and have allowance for a single checked baggage but I'd hate to check it in.

    Can I take the guitar on board? Worse case scenario, can I leave it at the gate for someone to carry it on manually (as they do with baby push chairs and buggies)?

    How do people fly their guitars generally?
     
  2. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,979
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Location:
    Bethany, OK
    Ideally, you would want 2 strats. One in each hand. I suspect this is a main reason why buyers always need to know the weight.

    No really, I recommend a solid gig bag like a Mono as your carry on and try to board first. Small chance you would need to gate check.
     
  3. Dr. Jimmy

    Dr. Jimmy Member

    Messages:
    4,065
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Location:
    Connecticut
  4. doc

    doc Member

    Messages:
    6,036
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Don't know the European policies, but I'd start by looking over the British Airways website and maybe give them a call. One option some use is to remove the neck from the body and pack them in your bag padded by clothes. In the US, TheoDog's response is the usual approach, although some go the route of taking it in a seriously robust flight case and checking it.

    (off topic - I have a dog named Theo).
     
    Dashface likes this.
  5. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,550
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Pembroke pines-Santiago-Greenville
    there are new regulations.
    If you step on the plane and there is space they have to let your guitar on board.

    What i do is (when i fly jetblue) i pay for more leg room. That way i am one of the first people to board the plane and there is always space.
    That way i always take my guitar on board with me.
     
    MrLahey and 1224 Lee like this.
  6. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

    Messages:
    2,108
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    I've done it many times. If you can, book yourself a seat right at the back of the plane. This should mean you get boarded first. Then just pop it into one of the overheads and relax. Dead easy.

    I've never had to check a guitar in 10 years of flying across the Atlantic with them.
     
  7. zeffbeff

    zeffbeff Member

    Messages:
    1,743
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    I flew from NYC to Asia for a tour. I took my Stratocaster in the stock Fender hardshell case.

    I checked it as baggage. Off it went, down the conveyor belt. When I retrieved it in Asia, it was still in tune.

    I really don't think these things are as fragile as some people worry about.
     
  8. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

    Messages:
    2,062
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2004
    Location:
    Fog City
    I put it right in the overhead bin, as I sleep.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    leonard d rock likes this.
  9. Jonny G

    Jonny G Member

    Messages:
    1,396
    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Location:
    London + Moscow
    BA is pretty user friendly - ask them nicely and they're usually great. Some good advice above about getting on early to make sure there is space for it - I also tend to ask for them to put it in the coat locker up front - usually they do and have it out waiting for me when i get off.

    One point that makes me curious though - almost no-one flies London to Paris any more, the Chunnel (Channel tunnel) is quicker door to door (2hr 15 minutes centre to centre so no centre to and from airport time or having to be at the airport early). If its already booked, it is what it is, but if its still open suggest you check out the train
     
  10. old goat

    old goat Member

    Messages:
    1,991
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Location:
    Donner Lake
    Boarding policies vary by airline (and by continent I'm sure) --nowadays if you aren't in a loyalty program or pay extra you'll be in a late boarding group. I haven't been on a plane that boarded back to front in a while. There's always the option of showing up in a wheelchair and preboarding. Just don't forget and stand up to put your guitar in the overhead.
     
  11. bob-i

    bob-i Member

    Messages:
    8,049
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Central NJ
    It depends on the aircraft and overhead bin type. Most long haul planes have separate overheads that pull down. the problem is that they are too short for a strat. EVH did the 4/2 small headstock specifically so it would fit in these overheads.

    On the plus side, overheads and closets on overseas flights are not as packed as domestic flights so you'll most likely find an empty space.
     
  12. Dashface

    Dashface Member

    Messages:
    4,113
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    I just unbolt the neck, fold the strat in half, and put it in my bag for the overhead.
     
  13. enocaster

    enocaster Member

    Messages:
    5,097
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    The Berkshires, MA
    I'll be flying from the US to Berlin with a Strat this summer and have been researching this quite a bit.

    It seems most of the EU-based airlines (Lufthansa, SAS, Air Berlin, etc.) have very recent, strict policies limiting carry-on items to 55cm maximum length. They want you to buy it a seat or pay extra to check it as a second bag (assuming you have a suitcase.) Unfortunately, they have the best prices at the moment, by far.

    My German friend insists that if I bring it in a gigbag and ask nicely, they'll allow it onboard,. But if I do this and they are strict to the policy, I'll have the worst of both worlds – pay an extra $100+ to check it AND it will be in a gigbag.

    Just so there's no surprises, I'm leaning toward removing the neck and putting it in my luggage, but then I'm really screwed if the luggage is lost or late (I have a gig the day I arrive.) Plus I'll have to scramble to reassemble it and deal with any setup issues while jetlagged.
     
  14. zeffbeff

    zeffbeff Member

    Messages:
    1,743
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Jesus, man. Just check it as baggage in a hardshell case.
     
  15. enocaster

    enocaster Member

    Messages:
    5,097
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    The Berkshires, MA
    Just double-checked the fees and that'll cost an extra $300, roundtrip. I'd like to avoid that if I can – I'm not playing stadiums over there!
     
  16. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,718
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    Sure, Fender's are pretty stout, but IMO you've been lucky. The guys that load stuff off the plane are called "chuckers" for a reason...
     
  17. JPF

    JPF Member

    Messages:
    8,654
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    I've done it plenty of times. Just keep in mind that some planes' overhead compartments will NOT be long enough for a strat in a gig bag. In this case, either the cabin crew will place it in a closet for you, our else it'll be gate checked. This has never happened to me in over 30 such flights, but it can happen. Another possibility is to take the neck off and simply pack it in your suitcase and check it or carry on. I did this recently to bring my telecaster from Spain to the U.S. and it was painless. The perfect solution would be to keep a screwdriver in your gig bag for an emergency like when there's no closet space, but good luck finding one that'll do the job and is legal to carry on the plane...
     
  18. zeffbeff

    zeffbeff Member

    Messages:
    1,743
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Perhaps. But I also threw it into car trunks, into bus cargo holds, and dragged it through the subway. Not a single problem.
     
  19. doc

    doc Member

    Messages:
    6,036
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    That's the rub with the taking the neck off option - you have to have a screwdriver to put it back together. We need an international network of peeps that we can meet up with who will hand us a screwdriver as we leave the airports. Actually, what would be very cool is to have it setup where we all provide guitars to each other as we travel - then not only painless travel, but get to meet each other. Unfortunately, we're musicians, and we know how reliable they can be.

    Actually, I just checked, and apparently you can take a screwdriver if its less than 7" - unless your TSA agent doesn't like it, in which case you lose it.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
    enocaster likes this.
  20. leonard d rock

    leonard d rock Member

    Messages:
    1,442
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Location:
    malaybalay city, bukidnon, philippines
    Somebody before suggested asking first if you can take it on board and if not, remove the neck and out it on a carryon bag and put the screwdriver in your checked luggage.that steinberger in post #8 should be the standard guitars for flyers
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice