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Flying with guitars - a close call!

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Maryrrf 28 Nov 03 - 07:57 AM
open mike 28 Nov 03 - 11:59 AM
breezy 28 Nov 03 - 12:59 PM
Hollowfox 29 Nov 03 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 29 Nov 03 - 11:30 AM
Alaska Mike 29 Nov 03 - 12:04 PM
Big Mick 29 Nov 03 - 12:38 PM
Jeri 29 Nov 03 - 12:54 PM
Alaska Mike 29 Nov 03 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,William Pint 29 Nov 03 - 02:46 PM
breezy 29 Nov 03 - 08:48 PM
DebC 30 Nov 03 - 10:58 AM
open mike 30 Nov 03 - 12:26 PM
Geoff the Duck 30 Nov 03 - 12:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 30 Nov 03 - 06:24 PM
Lanfranc 30 Nov 03 - 08:25 PM
Melani 01 Dec 03 - 12:51 PM
Steve Parkes 02 Dec 03 - 09:00 AM
DADGBE 02 Dec 03 - 04:40 PM
Naemanson 02 Dec 03 - 08:08 PM
wendyg 03 Dec 03 - 02:35 PM
Seamus Kennedy 04 Dec 03 - 01:10 AM
Naemanson 04 Dec 03 - 02:01 AM
Seamus Kennedy 04 Dec 03 - 02:50 PM
Dave Bryant 05 Dec 03 - 12:02 PM
PoppaGator 05 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM
Mark Ross 05 Dec 03 - 05:05 PM
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Subject: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Maryrrf
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 07:57 AM

I got in from Scotland last weekend via British Air from Glasgow to London and then Icelandic to Baltimore. My Martin guitar didn't show up with the rest of my luggage. The last time I had seen it was when I took it over to the "fragile and oversized" baggage counter in Glasgow. Well, a week later it finally turned up and it looked like it had been tossed around like a football. The case is ruined and when I saw it I feared the worst - there was a deep and sizeable dent in the side. However, I opened it up and due to the thick padding the guitar itself was not harmed.

I had asked to be allowed to carry it on but was told absolutely not. However, on two flights I saw somebody carrying on a guitar! Maybe they insisted until the attendant gave in. I've flown many times and checked the guitar but now I'm reluctant to do it again unless I get some kind of a "supercase". What in God's name to they do to musical instruments on airlines - have they no consideration????


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: open mike
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 11:59 AM

only wway to be sure is to buy it it's own ticket!
there is a document avaialbe from one of the mud cat threads
which gives you permission to carry your instrument.
it is from the musicians union or sometine.
there have been threads about this many times
'before. glad your guitar made it thru
perhaps a backpacking guitar would fit in the luggage compartment?


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: breezy
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 12:59 PM

you're permitted one piece of hand luggage!
Flew back from Canada last week with a crap guitar
Refused to sign diclaimer
Insisted on walking it to the plane as with buggies/strollers/pushchairs, then walked it on and stowed it in the overhead compartments after rearranging the bags already stowed.
Was I just lucky.
no, insistant, then cheeky.
Its still a crap guitar, 'cort' without grphic equaliser , so its got its own 'foldback' into your face.
Great action for a beginner.
Sounds crap.
But then I do play Brook, Chris Cross and a D28
They're not crap
But the crap one is for sale, brand new £200
Its all happening in St Albans, tonight Comfort Hotel with George Papavgeris


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Hollowfox
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 11:22 AM

I seem to recall, perhaps from an article in Sing Out! magazine years ago, that Michael Cooney suggested putting the guitar, case and all, in one of those hang-up bags they use for men's business suits, and having it hung up in the closet at the front of the plane. I don't know if you can do this, but it might be worth asking. Then getting insistant. Then getting cheeky. Then getting...


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 11:30 AM

After having the worst possible flight scenario happen to his guitar my friend has decided to remove all the heads from his guitars. He installs tuners that rest at the lower bout (near the end pin) where a tail piece would normally be. He has had custom tuners made by others and has created a few designs himself. He says that with the shorter length he is more easily able to fit his guitars in the overhead compartment.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 12:04 PM

If its that much of a worry to you, go ahead and get a good flight case. You don't have to be insistant and you don't have to worry. My Calton case protects my Martin when I fly. Simple as that.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 12:38 PM

First, bring your guitar to a luthier and have them inspect all the bracing. I lost my most cherished guitar the same way you describe. The case came through beat up, but when opened it seemed fine. A week later I am playing at a festival, and it won't hold a tune. My luthier checks it out and it has seven broken braces.

Second, if the guitar has value you to you (sentimental is just as important as actual) spend the bucks and get a Calton. Those Canadian folks just flat out make the best product available. I have one for my Larriveee D-05, and will have one for my new bouzouki when it comes in. Hard on the wallet, but worth every penny of it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 12:54 PM

I thought Calton originated in the UK (?). Here's their European website, designed by some guy named Dick Gaughan. :-)


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 12:58 PM

Calton is a Canadian company Jeri, here's their website Calton, Inc


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: GUEST,William Pint
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 02:46 PM

If you decide to go with a Calton case (and they ARE terrific) you might want to pack a light weight gig bag rolled up or used as an extra backpack for clothes. The Calton is HEAVY!!! I think that it runs about 25 pounds or more empty. I had to drag my guitar all over Portmouth Naval Yards for the International Festival of the Sea a few years ago and I can tell you that I got a gig bag right after that.

Also -- I have been choosing American Airlines recently because they have allowed my guitar in the cabin every time without question or fuss. In fact when I first asked about 'gate checking' they told me that there's a $50 charge for gate checking, but I was welcome to carry it aboard and stow it in the coat closet. It blew me away and I have been flying American ever since at every opportunity.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: breezy
Date: 29 Nov 03 - 08:48 PM

regards to Felicia


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: DebC
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 10:58 AM

I must second the Calton case suggestions AND William's gig bag suggestion. Many times I take a gig bag with me on tour and leave the Calton stowed with who ever collects me and drops me at the airport. This is also assuming the flight is a round trip one. But since I have the Calton, I fly with my Martin and I don't worry about it. I must admit that I have not had the experience of the guitar not turning up at the airport. I suppose that day will come as well eventually.

The letter from the AFM that is posted on the Local 1000 website and as Joel Mabus wrote in the Folk Alliance email list, "The "letter" is a security issue, and nothing more. It is a policy statement for the TSA that taking an instrument is no longer a security issue. Each airline can determine what goes in the cabin as a space or safety issue. Fiddles, trumpets, ukuleles, etc. don't take up the kind of space that a guitar does. Again, you can always have the guitar go underneath as an oversized carry-on, and you can maybe take it on board, but if the airline says it has to be stowed due to perceived space limitations, they can make you do it, letter or not. So think about how thick the padding in that gig bag needs to be."

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: open mike
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 12:26 PM

here is a thread where we discussed this a year ago
thread
and here is a friend's company
Flight Form


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 12:53 PM

Is Flying with Guitars a bit like Swimming with Dolphins?

I'll get my coat then...
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 06:24 PM

I'm still trying to figure how many guitars you need to fly..

1) You sit on it and flap your arms...

2) Strap one to each arm....

3) That third one could be painful...

The "Thread Creep" has Struck!


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Lanfranc
Date: 30 Nov 03 - 08:25 PM

Has anyone out there any experience with Fort guitar cases? They are Canadian (marketed by LaSiDo, who make Godin, Simon & Patrick, Seagull, etc.) and made of an expanded plastic material as used in crash pads in cars.

Derek Brimstone has acquired one and says that his irreplaceable guitar survived BA to Hong Kong and back (the guitar equivalent of the Burma railroad) with never a dent to guitar or case.

What is even better, it weighs in at less than 10 percent of a Calton case!

Alan
(Owner of an old, battered but intact Calton Case, but weary of carrying it!)


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Melani
Date: 01 Dec 03 - 12:51 PM

I have a very old, very heavy, thickly padded case which seems to be made of plywood. I don't know the make; it was a present for my 16th birthday, and is shabby on the outside, but still fine inside. It has flown many times without mishap. For that matter, it fell down a four-foot ddep gully with me in the dark a couple of years ago with no damage to the guitar.(I healed up in a week or so.) It does weigh several thousand pounds, but it sure works good.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 09:00 AM

Hiscox Liteflite are very good, and maybe not quite so heavy.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: DADGBE
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 04:40 PM

I've got the Calton vault for flying with my D-28 but use the Fort case most of the time. It weighs a few ounces more than a gig bag and is amazingly protective. (Don't think I'd entrust it to the airlines luggage gorillas, though.)

So far I've found two drawbacks to the Fort. First, the Velcro closures wear out and fixing them is a pain. Secondly, the case doesn't seal well enough to be really water resistant - especially when the Velcro is weak.

On the positive side, the Fort is wonderfully designed. The handle is partly on each half of the case. You can lift it safely without sealing up the closures. The guitar can't fall out because holding the handle keeps the top closed automatically. Sure wish they made 'em in other than dreadnaught size.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Naemanson
Date: 02 Dec 03 - 08:08 PM

I just got back frm Australia. I had no trouble with Contintental Airlines. I carried my guitar and a backpack on to the plane and the guitar fit easily into the overhead bin. Then in Cairns Qantas insisted that I check the guitar. I objected, complained, whined, and otherwise tried to explain that the case was not designed for luggage use. All to no avail. They did allow me to carry the guitar to the plane and check it there. they also commented that they are understanding of the fragility of musical instruments. We pasted FRAGILE stichers all over the case.

It arrived in Sydney intact and unscathed.

Flying back we went through the same routine. It flew on Qantas as checked baggage and arrived in Cairns unhurt. I retrieved it and headed for Continental. They tried the same routine on me there but I had several more hours before the flight left and I wanted to play it in a corner while I waited. As such I carried it up to the gate and on to the plane. It went back into the overhead bin and arrived in home in Guam safely. Whew!

When I go back to Australia I will have a proper flight case.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: wendyg
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 02:35 PM

People flying to Europe may not realize that there is a significant difference between the baggage regulations (FAA) that apply to US-based airlines and those (CAA) that apply to UK and Europe-based airlines. US-based airlines allow: one piece of hand luggage, 45 inches in aggregate dimensions (plus I think a max weight of like 40 or 50lbs) *plus* a "personal item". I haven't flown with a guitar in a long time, but I routinely fly with a laptop backpack and a rolling case sized for carry-on with no trouble on US Airways. "Personal item" is defined as handbag, briefcase, or laptop case, as examples.

UK and Europe-based airlines, however, allow ONE PIECE of carry-on luggage and it must weigh less than 6kg. I think you can still carry on a handbag or laptop in addition, but they're much fussier about its size, and you may find that if you have one of those they make you check any other item you're carrying. They will *definitely* make you check an addition item if it's more than 6kg, and expect them to weigh it.

Just FYI. I always checked the guitar when I toured because I was also carrying a banjo in a soft case -- I could manage one instrument in a hard case and one in soft but not both in hard, too cumbersome. I always wrapped the guitar neck in foam to make sure there was no empty space around it, and secured any loose items inside the case itself. These were the ordinary hardshell/padded cases that came with the guitars; I always found the Calton cases just too heavy for the kind of carrying I had to do (think European railway stations).

wg


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 01:10 AM

I modified my Calton by adding 2 more 'D' rings, so I can use padded clip-on shoulder straps for carrying it on my back, leaving my hands free.
I always check it. It has always arrived, with a few nicks and scratches - what I would call normal wear and tear.
The airlines did manage to knock off the little round metal bumper/feet, but the case still works perfectly. It's one heavy mama, though, and I'm glad of the shoulder straps.
I bought a Fort this very afternoon for my new guitar, but as DADGBE up above said, the straps (no latches) are a pain and the case doesn't seem to close perfectly.
I checked out the Hiscox site above, and I'll give one of them a try for my new guitar.
I'll also probably modify the Hiscox (if I like it) by adding 'D' rings for backpackery.
Seamus


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 02:01 AM

Seamus, how did you add the D rings? Screws? Glue? Tattoo?


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 02:50 PM

Naemanson, I got the actual 'D'Rings from Calton.
I drilled holes through the guitar for the rings, carefully sliced through the velvet and padding on the inside with a razor, and riveted the rings in place. Then I used contact cement to close up the padding and the material.
Two of the 'D"ring rivets were inside the string/capo compartment on each side, so they weren't any danger to the guitar.
The other 2 rings were at the lower bout part of the case, but the rivets were so well padded there was no problem there either.
I find it a lot easier to carry the guitar on my back, especially at festivals.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 12:02 PM

The other year, I flew from Prestwick to Stansted with my old Yamaha. RyanAir would not let me take it as hand baggage, but put a "Fragile" label on it. When we arrived I went to the point where I should have picked it up. Suddenly I saw it coming down the shute onto the carousel - nut end first. There was about a 12 foot slide and it then hit a very solid plate at quite a speed with a big bang. Thank god it was in a Hiscox Liteflite case - it wasn't damaged at all. I complained to the staff and was told that they havn't got the staff to deliver fragile items separately at night.

Since then I have taken my small "Art & Lutherie" guitar with me (it fits in a 3/4 size case) and have never had any trouble getting it on as hand baggage.

On a previous thread about flight cases, there were quite a lot of posings about how good Hiscox cases were.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:08 PM

Dave's horror story about watching his case come plummeting down the slide nut-end-first reminded me of this pointer I've read before, either in some past thread here or at the wonderful site www.frets.com.

Pack the top end of your guitar inside the case with whatever you can --wadded newspaper, foam rubber, strofoam, etc. Just make it tight and fill the space (the entire space above the pick-box) completely. This area is where the guitar is most vulnerable to shock, where it can be most easily damaged by blows that do not penetrate the case.


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Subject: RE: Flying with guitars - a close call!
From: Mark Ross
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 05:05 PM

If God had wanted Man to fly, Our bones would be as hollow as our heads!!

Mark Ross


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