Moving guitars safely via Airlines

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rocksully, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Rocksully

    Rocksully Member

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    I am moving 1/2 way around the world from where I currently live, and I need a safe way to bring my Les Paul along with me. I have to leave the majority of my gear here in BC. Any advice on how to safely move my guitar so that it doesnt get damaged on the flight? Is the standard Les Paul case strong enough for the guitar to be placed with luggage? I was hoping to bring an electric and acoustic with me. Is the standard gibson acoustic case strong enough for the acoustic to be placed with luggage? Thanks for the information guys. Cheers
     
  2. sub rosa

    sub rosa Member

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    It would probably be cheaper to box them and ship them via something like DHL than pay excess luggage fees to stash two guitars in the hold - unless you're planning on flying with no other luggage.
     
  3. stuagu

    stuagu Member

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    if it were my les paul & a permanent move id buy an extra seat , but remove the strings as they are a lethal garrotting weapon apparently! if you arent going to do that, then get a flight case & i was always told to loosen the strings when flying as the holds get prrrrrrretty frrrrrrrrrreeeeezin cccccccccccccccold & it can damage the neck? anybody know anymore about this id be interested.
     
  4. J_Carlo

    J_Carlo Member

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    No, standard cases won't do. Have you seen how baggage handlers trow things around? Plus , during flight your guitar would experience pressure , temperature , and humidity changes. I once had a fretboard split after a flight.
    Don't know if SKB still makes these , but I had a SKB guitar case that fitted in side a SKB keyboard case that was approved for flight. The seal on the keyboard case helped counter damage.
     
  5. almondx

    almondx Member

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    Couldn't you simply handcarry it and leave it in the overhead baggage compartment? I brought my first electric in that way without knowing better and in a gig bag to boot. No damages.
     
  6. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Wooden crate then Airfreight is the safest most secure way.
    Even if you took it to the 'plane in a Fightcase you would not be allowed to lock the thing when checked.
    My wife flew back from Dallas to Newark last week and she had to check her very small carry-on at the 'planes door.
    Post 9/11 security plus cut back in flights mean most current flights are running at 100% capacity and there is limited space in the flight cabin - you can always take a chance; 1st Class is a better bet.

    Best, Pete.
     
  7. mrodrigues

    mrodrigues Member

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    This is a long one.... ha. Sorry.

    Hey, I am studying in Boston at Berklee College of Music. My home is Johannesburg, South Africa. So I've been doing the big flights for similar to yours for quite a while. Here's what my experiences have been (I have a PRS Custom 24 that is my main guitar and the only one I really ever take anywhere, need it here for obvious reasons and then in Summer when I go home to pract etc):

    I used to put in the PRS case and get heavy duty bubble wrap (the bubbles are like, 4x as large) and once securing the guitar WELL inside (with anything soft), wrap the guitar case very well. The amount of cushioning given by this Bubble Wrap I feel is much more helpful than certain steel cases that just absorb the shock. This, I would just check in with my other baggage and see it on the other side.

    In terms of carrying it onboard. Here's the deal:
    anything that is domestic (ie flying Boston to Washington for connecting flight to Johannesburg) you will NOT be able to take it onbaord. This is what I did most recently, as I wanted to try do the 'carry on' thing -

    I bought an InCase bag (it's semi-hard semi-soft) [NB check with your airline how many check in bags you are allowed]. And you go through security with it etc. That's fine. If some person gives you crap just tell them you've been doing this every year for the last four years or something and then they usually just nod and let you through.
    DOMESTIC - just before you board the plane, they will check bags and say 'these are too large, we are flying on a very small plane blah blah' so AS you walk on to the plane, they take it and put it underneath the plane. In this case, you get it right after you walk off the plane when you land. I felt the InCase was quite adequate for this purpose.
    INTERNATIONAL - if you are flying a big airbus or boeing 747 etc you can DEFINITELY fit the guitar overhead. But make sure that you are at the front of the line!!! So that you can find one of the overhead bins that is double length and get your guitar in there first!!

    In terms of the strings thing, it is an urban legend. If the baggage compartments under the planes were not pressurised, your bags would be FREEZING when you picked them up on the belt. Have your bags every been absurdly cold when picking them up? ...

    I am going back to the checking my guitar in under the plane. Either way, your guitar is going to get a few bumps. One just needs to accept it. Do the best you can to protect it, and that's that.

    Your acoustic - I would say, don't bring it. Haha. Sorry, but seriously.

    Other option: check out http://www.prostagegear.com/guitarcases.aspx looks good.
     
  8. Lammy

    Lammy Member

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    On domestic flights , even on flights down to SXSW from NY, I have had no problem putting a semi hollow into the overhead in a gig bag. Dont forget there is always coat closet, I have put many a guitar in teh coat closet . Most of the time the attendants are very helpful if you are nice.
     
  9. Rocksully

    Rocksully Member

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    I will contact my airline after I have purchased my ticket and see what their policy is for musicians. I guess I wont be bringing my acoustic with me, which is very upsetting, but my pedal board is definitely coming, and of course I need my electric.
     
  10. Rocksully

    Rocksully Member

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    Thanks for all the advice guys!
     
  11. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    One more thing.

    INSURANCE!
     
  12. richardmikuls

    richardmikuls Member

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    Ok...I fly with guitars 4 to 8 times a month on average. There is no road case made that is going to be of any help, if the TSA agents don't latch it up after inspection. I have huge labels all over my cases which read "PLEASE CLOSE LATCHES AFTER INSPECTION", but every time one of my guitars comes down the conveyer there is at least one latch open and sometimes they are all open!

    I take one guitar on board in a gigbag, but sometimes on a whim an attendant will say that you must check it.

    When you check in, make sure your gigbag is on your back, so they don't notice it as much. Be polite! Check in early!

    The lifecycle for one of my road guitars is about 2 years. I never, ever take anything on the road that I can't fix myself, no matter where in the world I travel ie; Tele, Strat.

    Just for the record, the international carriers are much more understanding and helpful.
     

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