Gear on Airplanes

Grand Moff Tim

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I'm going home for a couple weeks pretty soon, and due to the exorbitant markups on most gear here, I'm going to be mighty tempted to buy a new bass while I'm in the US.

The issue is, I'd have to take it back on the plane with me. Any of you fellas take guitars or basses on flights? If so, are "standard" guitar cases usually strong enough, or do you think flight cases are the way to go? Any tips for packing the case if a flight case isn't an option?

I suppose I could always just ship it home via post if I want to make extra sure it's packed well, but the shipping and customs fees will likely be higher than any fees I'll have to pay if my luggage weighs too much at check-in.

So uh... thoughts?


EDIT: I hope cases count as Gear and/or Equipment, otherwise this is the wrong subforum :lol:.
 

asher

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I have flown with gig bags as carry ons numerous times (domestic US only) and never had any problems. I always ask a flight attendant when I get on if there are any coat closets I can put it in; sometimes I get lucky and they'll stand it in one for me. Other times I just find a mostly full bin with clearance on top and slide it in on top of other people's stuff when possible so it can't move around as much, but even when it's in its own bin I haven't had any problems.

One time I checked a guitar in a Jackson SKB TSA-lock flight case. I had no problems with it but I'm honestly more comfortable carrying it on.

Have not carried on a small hard case or acoustic (I don't think?).

I don't know if international flights are going to handle this differently. Honestly I'd just get a nice gig bag case and carry it on.
 

Alex Kenivel

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I tried to carry on a gig bag with a standard size guitar but they made me check it. Wasn't a happy camper. Different airlines have different rules.
 

asher

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I tried to carry on a gig bag with a standard size guitar but they made me check it. Wasn't a happy camper. Different airlines have different rules.

Like a gate check? I've never volunteered my guitar, I don't think I've ever had them try to force me to give it up.
 

Given To Fly

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I have been able to take my guitar onboard most of the time and store it in the overhead bin (it fits with plenty of room to spare actually :scratch:) or store it in the flight attendant closet. There have been a few times I had to gate check it though. Those are the times when I'm thankful I have a flight case. is it overkill? Probably, but its better than having broken guitar.

On international flights I have always been able to take my guitar on the plane and store it in the overhead bin. Although, one time a flight attendant took my guitar and stored it somewhere on the plane. It was a little strange but he had it ready for me when I was walking off the plane so no complaints.

Just to be clear, what do you consider to be a flight case?
 

fwd0120

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I flew with my RG520 in a normal padded gigbag in the overheads. As long as you try to first in line in your class (business and first get first dibs on seating of course). I even got it to fit on a regional flight (a CRJ200). The other plane was an MD88/MD90.
They also have closets for jackets and coats and stuff and will usually do that.
Always ask and stuff. I forgot to speak up and my guitar got gate-checked the first leg up, so it was put in the top of the cargo hold (I begged them to be careful), but it was ok. This was on a trip from Albany Georgia, to Atlanta Ga, to Boston MA, round trip. Delta Airlines.

EDIT!!: Gig bags are more likely to fit in the overheads than hard/flight cases.

CAPSLOCK!!: It also may depend on the plane you are on. A 747 will have a ton of room, of course. Your ticket or the internet for your leg (check flightaware), should tell you.
 

InFlames235

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I've flown with gear before and it's been fine without worry. I do keep it in a hardshell case, though, so I'm not sure about a gig big but it looks like others here have down the gig bag route just fine
 

mnemonic

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Check out the airlines website, there should be a mention of musical instruments and how they're treated. A few years back I flew British Airways and I took a fender strat in a hardcase from San Francisco to Dublin with no issues, stuck it in the overhead compartment. But the next year they had changed their terms, so guitars had to be checked luggage, so I didn't bother taking anything back with me.
 

lemeker

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The last time I flew with my guitar it was a regular hardshell case and it fit in an overhead bin. Many of the times, when I was younger, they put it in the stand up bins near the front of the plane.

This was all before 911 too. Now I just bring what I have to, less to deal with.


.......... This was on a trip from Albany Georgia, to Atlanta Ga,.......

They have an airport in Albany? Wow, I used to have to drive from Americus to Columbus if we didn't want to drive to Atlanta.
 

StevenC

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I've taken 6 guitars from the USA to back to Belfast/Dublin. 5 were checked in with stops in either Atlanta or Newark, and they were all fine. All in Gator hard cases. The 6th, Aer Lingus let me take on as carry on. It was in a EBMM BFR case and fit comfortably in the over head bin of an Airbus A330.

Nothing was ever damaged, thankfully.
 

fwd0120

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They have an airport in Albany? Wow, I used to have to drive from Americus to Columbus if we didn't want to drive to Atlanta.

A fellow SOWEGA SSOer? :spock: :bowdown:

Yep, the airport is sorta small, but has a Delta Connection, and (it blows my mind) has a 737 that flies for UPS (must be a VTOL... :lol:).

When were you in the area? Things here haven't improved much in the last 30 years. :ugh: There was a guy on JemSite that used to live in Albany... was the first city he got mugged in. :lol: Fortunately, I'm going to Middle Tenn. State in 6 weeks. :yesway:

EDIT: There used to be people in Americus? :scratch:
 

mongey

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I've taken guitars in standard cases before many times and its fine .they put it in the oversize/fragile bins and it probely gets knocked around less than when I lug my stuff to the studio or gigs

I would do it with a gig bag for a cheap guitar but not one of my faves .
 

xCaptainx

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I've done a lot of international touring through australia, asia, japan, america.

I would not never presume that you would be able to carry on equipment, ever. Huge gamble and even if they are in the wrong, tough, you can't stand there and argue about it.

Get a hard case, check your luggage in. I've travelled with standard cases with plenty of protective foam inside with absolutely zero issues at all. Tape up the locks, request specifically to check it in as an oversized/fragile item and personally deliver it to the fragile area check in. You'll be find. I've spent the last 7 years flying with equipment and have only had one item damaged, which was a standard backpack.

Plan to check it in, if you are able to carry on, that's a huge bonus, BUT with a standard guitar case, you'll be very, very lucky and I wouldn't push the matter. There's an entire line of disgruntled, frustrated customers waiting to check in behind you and you're going to cause a headache for all if you try and dispute anything. It's a high stress situation and presumptions will cause dramas.
 

Grand Moff Tim

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Yeah, the bass I'm thinking about grabbing is a $1700 bass, so I'm in no particular hurry to bring it in a gig bag, in case the do make me check it. The case it comes with is one of those Fender wood and tolex vintage-style affairs, not molded plastic like Ibby prestige cases or whatever. Does that make a difference?

What I meant by flight case is one of those fancy molded ones SKB makes that is supposed to be able to take a lot of abuse. They specifically market them as being safe for checking in flights.

I can see how guitars in gig bags or small cases might fit in an overhead, but I kinda doubt a bass case will. My BTB5's case is large enough to use as a small shelter in case of emergency :lol:. I'll try to look in to whether the airlines I'm using will let me take it as carry on, but I'm flying with a couple different carriers on a couple different sized planes, so it might be a bit complicated. The long leg from Dallas/FW to Seoul will certainly be on a jumbo jet, but the small connecting flight from Peoria to Dallas will be smaller.
 

MrPowers

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I'd go ahead and grab the SKB case to be safe. We flew with some guitars to Europe and back last summer and when we arrived in Riga, Latvia one of the standard roadcases latches were all open and we were lucky that the lid didn't open and dump everything everywhere. My personal guitar was in a Gator ATA case and it was fine.

If you do go with a standard case, make sure you tape up the latches. But personally, I'd get a TSA/ATA case to be safe.
 

mongey

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I have one of the molded gator flight cases for my 7 and its a great case

only flown with it once but I felt fine with it
 

Nik_Left_RG

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I have traveled overseas with a couple of guitars. Both in gator hard cases..not the skb and it has been fine.. Whether they'd allow you to carry it on or check it in is kinda luck. Be safe, at least get one of those $100 gator case or something similar..
 

Grand Moff Tim

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Yeah, I'm thinking if I get a guitar to bring back with me, I might as well just splurge on the SKB flight case while I'm at it. It'll be pricier, but better safer than sorry, sounds like.

Random question about baggage checking: When an airline's website lists the dimension restrictions for the baggage you can check without incurring a penalty fee, is the weight limit they list usually the limit per bag, or the limit for all of your bags combined? IE if the site says the weight limit is 50lbs/23kgs, is that 50/23 allowed for each piece of luggage, or 50/23 for the combined weight of everything you check? I sure hope it's the former :lol:.
 


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