Seems like a neat little device McGrath. I'd like to be on-side with Mark on this one BUT too many times I've been lazy....and lucky.....so far!
I wish a few other folks would join in here. As mentioned this is NOT just about stringed instruments. It's to be a permanent thread showing newbies that we discuss ALL instruments on Mudcat.
Cases: You rarely see folks with the old fashioned black cardboard cases any more, as they've generally been replaced by soft gig bags.
There are a lot of different hardshell cases on the market, but if you're travelling by plane a lot you should have one of the "Calton" style. Several companies make really heavy-duty form fitted cases that (are said to) withstand anything that an angry baggage handler can dish out. They're usually in the 500 dollar range.(but if your axe costs 5000 bucks it's worth it) They're heavy though.
Just remember though that an "arched" case is stronger than a "flat" one.
Over the years I've done quite a bit of "psychological preventive medicine" in regards to travelling and safety of instruments. This may sound silly (or tacky) but I put a "Teamsters" bumper sticker on one of my cases that constantly had to go through the hands of baggage handlers. Why? Most handlers are union guys, and are probably gonna have more respect for the property that has that sticker, than a case that says "Flower Power" or "Marx Rules!"
When crossing borders and asked "what do you do?" I've often said "I sing Gospel music"! I have no idea whether this stuff actually works or not, but logic tells me that a uniformed official is going to be less suspicious of a "Gospel singing Teamster" than a "folksinging hippie!" (although personally I'D me more suspicious of the former)