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BS: Airlines Hate instruments

28 Jul 07 - 07:55 AM (#2113227)
Subject: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: GUEST,divilthebit

I've not long returned from Washington after two good weeks of music. Sadly on arrival I noticed the neanderthals in Airport Security had almost wrecked my banjo, a 1928 Weymann. (Granted there are a few who will say that this is a good thing after having heard me play but that isn't the point)! Added to this they put a little leaflet in with the damaged instrument to say, tough luck oul' han' we've checked it and wrecked it and there's not a big lot you do about it!!
What can we as musicians do, if anything, to combat the blatant violence toward instruments on the airlines? If any of you have similar tales of vandalism please post them up...Perhaps we can get these idiots to take more care of the tools of our trade!

28 Jul 07 - 08:35 AM (#2113248)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: John MacKenzie

Claim claim claim, tell them their exclusions are rubbish, if they accept it for shipment it is their responsibility to take proper care of it.
Easyjet damaged my guitar case, luckily they managed to do it without damaging my D28. I notified the ground staff of the damage, and they took note of it, and I filled in the form they gave me and sent it off. In the meantime I needed to fly again with the instrument so I invested in a Calton case which cost twice the price of a Martin case, I sent them the bill expecting them to leave me to pay the excess for the dearer case, and to my amazement they sent me a cheque for the full amount.
Moral of the story Easyjet are not as black as they're painted, and push push push for compensation for your damaged goods.
Good luck with it.

28 Jul 07 - 09:32 AM (#2113276)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Big Al Whittle

there were some new guidelines from the Musicians Union last year, or the year before - after all the 9/11 business. it was all pretty incomprehensible though, and it seems to amount to the fact, they claim they can do what they want.

Congratulations on your victory Giok. Wayback I remember Brian Golby had the neck snapped off a D35 - he went about muttering about 'Thief row' - but I don't think he got much joy.

28 Jul 07 - 11:06 AM (#2113327)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Rapparee

It's hardly the first time. I've even heard stories of brass instruments -- trumpets and trombones and even a sousaphone! -- being damaged by the airlines and/or TSA.

28 Jul 07 - 11:30 AM (#2113346)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: artbrooks

Not limited to instruments warning: if you are traveling in the US, do not lock your bags! The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) people will bust the lock off. In fact, I think that their "random selection" of bags to search picks out the locked bags first! They do tell you that locks are fair game, unless they are TSA-approved locks for which they have a pass-key, but they don't go out of their way with the warning.

28 Jul 07 - 12:03 PM (#2113368)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: gnu

Giok is quite correct in saying, "... if they accept it for shipment it is their responsibility to take proper care of it."

I don't want to start a big row about disclaimers and such, but, the point of law is that as soon as they take your money, there is a contract which includes the expectation that you baggage will be cared for. If damage occurs, the party that caused the damage or allowed the damage to be caused is liable for that damage... PERIOD!

They can say all they want. They can even put it in writing. But, they cannot change contract law.

Unless you sign something. I don't. They still take my money.

28 Jul 07 - 12:19 PM (#2113375)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Alaska Mike

On a trip several years ago United Airlines demanded that I sign a form releasing them of liability for damage to my guitar. I had flown down to Seattle on Alaska Airlines and was connecting to Denver on United. The clerk at the United check in was not going to allow me on the plane until I signed the form. With very little time to argue, I had no choice but sign their damn form and leave. Fortunately, I always travel with a Calton case and there was no damage to the guitar, but from that point on I have never flown United.


28 Jul 07 - 04:42 PM (#2113555)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Boarding in the international airport in my city (western Canada), no container may be locked. I thought this applied to all flights everywhere.

Be sure and have ample insurance coverage for carried items, purchased from your insurance agent. I have this floater coverage on my cameras, etc., with each item described, and current valuation, in the policy description.

File a claim with the airline. In case of loss or damage, a record of the claim will be required by the insurer providing the floater.

28 Jul 07 - 04:56 PM (#2113562)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: gnu

Shipping same can be a nightmare. Ask Sorcha about her fiddle bows! Apparently, the US Post asks a King's ransom for insurance and, if you don't pony up......... poor Sorcha!

28 Jul 07 - 05:32 PM (#2113581)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: GUEST,meself

And if it's anything like the insurance Canada Post offers, the fine print says, in effect, that the insurance will not cover any kind of damage that could possibly result from your having trusted Canada Post with the item ...

28 Jul 07 - 05:46 PM (#2113592)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Purolater, FedEx, etc. are best for shipping valuable of fragile items.

U. S. Postal Insurance stops at the border; in other words the insurance is not applicable to foreign shipments (including to Canada). Some postal employees do not realize this.
Again, use Purolater, etc. which provide adequate insurance coverage.

A shipper often used here in Canada is Greyhound; very good, maximum coverage you can buy is $999.00.

28 Jul 07 - 08:15 PM (#2113664)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Greg B

One reason why it's great to be a squeezebox player.

Two carry-ons. One melodeon, one concertina. Melodeon case has
enough room for the mandatory change of underwear, Travel Smith
Shirt, and toiletries in case of some overnight diversion. Fits
under seat.

Concertina in fiberglass case, goes in overhead.

28 Jul 07 - 10:05 PM (#2113725)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Gurney

At risk of being pedantic, I think it is baggage handlers, not airlines, who do the damage. They work for airports, not airlines.

I've watched them throwing guitars up onto their overloaded little trains, and then throwing bycycles on top of them.

"The things you see when you haven't got your gun with you" as hunters say.

28 Jul 07 - 10:45 PM (#2113745)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Rapparee

Everyone can identify with this song:

Thank You, Republic Airlines
by Tom Paxton

Flying through the Michigan skies
with a song in my innocent heart
I placed myself in professional hands
Masters of the traveler's art
When I opened my guitar case
at the end of a beautiful flight
I'm sure you can imagine my feelings
as I beheld this beautiful sight

Thank you Republic Airlines
for breaking the neck on my guitar
I arrived to do a concert with the Kingston Trio
opened my guitar case with a smile "con grio"
Thank you Republic Airlines
What a joy to a musician you are
What a zest you've added to pedestrian skies
It was boring to be flying where the wild goose flies
But the tedium was broken by your wonderful surprise
when you broke the neck on my guitar

Thank you Republic Airlines
for treating my instrument with care
There can be no greater happiness for a musician
than to find his instrument in this condition
Uh-oh, Republic Airlines
in the firmament of travel, you're a star
for you treat each piece of baggage like a child of your own
When you come across an instrument, it's dropped like a stone
May you waken every morning with a new broken bone
like you broke the neck on my guitar

Now I've been traveling most of my life
and the thrill is a long time gone
and the sight of another DC 10
just fails to turn me on
But I feel my heart start pounding
when I get to the baggage claim
and when I see how you handled my instrument
the thrill is still the same

Thank you Republic Airlines
for splintering the neck on my guitar
My guitar case was so strong that nothing could go through it
Way to go Republic, only you could do it
Crash bang Republic Airlines
in the field of demolition, you'll go far
for you took it as a challenge when I turned in my case
and you saw the fragile stickers glued all over the place
May a team of mad flamenco dancers do to your face
what you did to the neck on my guitar

There could no satisfaction greater than if
you should be the next to go the way of Braniff.

28 Jul 07 - 10:45 PM (#2113746)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

U.S. Dept. Homeland Security recommends that stringed instruments be transported as carry-on items.
Check with airline before going to the airport. If the case exceeds size limitations, ship by air express or buy a ticket for the instrument.
Each country has its own regulations, so transport cannot be guaranteed.
"Air travel is a privilege and not a right."
The traveler should stay with his instrument while it is being checked, which usually requires adding 30 minutes or so to suggested arrival time. Do not pack any tools, etc. with the instrument.

Hitch-hiking is safer! Or travel by private plane.

28 Jul 07 - 10:51 PM (#2113750)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Sorcha

I don't know for sure and can't prove it, but I'm sure it was the conveyer belts in Denver Intl Air that shattered my bow case. It was the heavy cardboard liner from a roll of carpet.

Now, I have a 1/4" wall PVC pipe with one end glued on, the other is threaded. Permanent marker with arrows that say >>>>> OPEN HERE.

Yes, USPS insurance is outraegeous. $8 per $100. And I had to fight like hell to even get the $100 that I paid for. Package was returned to me by the shop I'd sent it to, they refused to accept it. I took my camera and had the PostMistress open in and took pics of her doing so. They still argued! I finally got the lousy $100 tho.

Have 2 new 'ok' bows, but will never be able to afford to replace one of the ones that was shattered.

29 Jul 07 - 12:22 PM (#2114044)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Bert

The thing that causes the most damage is a device called a pusher which knocks the bags from one conveyor to another.

It is a fierce device 'cos bags can weigh 80 pounds or more and are moving at high speed. It doesn't know that your guitar only weighs a few pounds so it gives it the same heafty clout as it would a big bag.

Purolator do not use pushers in their handling hub, they use gravity slides.

29 Jul 07 - 12:32 PM (#2114049)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Donuel

I made a crate that suspended my cello in mid air inside the crate by wire and twine. It was the strangest contraption that handlers had ever seen but they were unable to desstroy the cello.

29 Jul 07 - 10:48 PM (#2114403)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe

UPS severly damaged a 120 bass Piano Accordion sent from USA to Aust. They refuse to accept damamge, even though the damage to the case was clearly visible externally - the f*wit assessor claimed it had been shipped like that...

So now I tell everybody for revenge,,,

30 Jul 07 - 01:20 AM (#2114457)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Bev and Jerry

We once boarded a plane, sat by the window, and watched as a baggage handler unloaded baggage from a truck onto a conveyor which carried it up to the belly of the plane and out of our sight. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until he came to some instruments apparently belonging to a band we had seen in the waiting area. He carefully lifted each instrument case over his head and then slammed it onto the conveyor. When he reached the end of the instruments, everything returned to normal.

We can't explain this behavior. Maybe he hates musicians because they check more stuff and make his job harder. Maybe he was frightened at a tender age by a banjo player. We don't know.

Bev and Jerry

30 Jul 07 - 03:30 AM (#2114480)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Gurney

Bev and Jerry, my point exactly. It may not even be partly the actual airline's fault, because when it is loaded,-by handlers- then the airline can hardly be responsible for damage, since they can't get at the cargo. When it is unloaded, again by handlers, any damage is laid at the airline's door.
Carry-on instruments don't get damaged because the vandal would have to do it in front of the owner.

30 Jul 07 - 03:57 AM (#2114491)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Donuel

Use those cell phone cameras next time.

Then we will send the video to Keith Oberman.

30 Jul 07 - 06:42 AM (#2114567)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Crystal

I'd be tempted to take pictures of the instruments and case before travelling, then if you get back a splintered wreck insted of your beautiful instrument you can point out that it WASN't that way when you shipped it! Of course I can forsee problems where the airlines claim it is a different instrument, taken at a different time but still, at least you tried!

30 Jul 07 - 07:02 AM (#2114582)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Grab

Rap, you beat me to it! :-)

The Hiscox case for my spare acoustic has a nice bish on the headstock end from some baggage handler. Never bothered to claim because the rest of the case was still OK, the instrument was undamaged and I couldn't be doing with the hassle. Luckily I only fly with instruments I can afford to lose. I sometimes travel with a mandola instead of a guitar, because the mandola can go as carry-on.

IIRC, the problem with claiming for damage is that because there's no way of proving who caused the damage (two sets of baggage handlers plus damage on the plane itself), there's some international convention on claiming for damaged baggage. It's based on weight not value, so a Stradivarius is going to get you a lot less compensation than a tea-chest bass.


30 Jul 07 - 05:34 PM (#2115045)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Shakey

Flying with easyjet they charged me twice as much for the guitar (in the hold) as my seat ticket.

30 Jul 07 - 06:34 PM (#2115071)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Big Mick

If you love the instrument, beg, borrow or steal, a Calton case. There is not now, nor will there be justice on this issue. I have told the tale many times of the destruction of my very favorite guitar at the hands of these f*&(^ing goons at United. They make you sign a waiver, then treat your instrument like a football. Since the Calton came my way, nary the first problem. Pricey things, but if you have a relationship with your instrument, pay the price.



30 Jul 07 - 11:27 PM (#2115224)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: KT

I always take my instrument on board with me. When I fly, I carry a letter with me from TSA that says a third personal item may be carried on board if it is a musical instrument. I don't ever have a problem with the airlines...only with the TSA folks. When they see the letter, they usually get it. take a look at this.

31 Jul 07 - 03:37 PM (#2115858)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: DebC

Calton, Calton, Calton, Calton. Or any other flight case that will withstand the airline abuse.

Yes, I have a Calton and always check my Martin. I also have insurance through the AFM (I am a member of Local 1000) for the replacement value of the guitar.

From the TSA site:
"Owners should be present when an instrument is removed from its case for screening. For this reason, musicians are advised to add at least 30 minutes to the airline's recommended arrival window when checking their instrument."

Very interesting...I have NEVER been present when my guitar gets inspected. Just the wee bit of paper that says that they inspected it.

Now I know. Jeez.

Deb Cowan

01 Aug 07 - 12:48 AM (#2116175)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Gurney

Deb, they made me PLAY mine, once.

Just once though. Word must have gone around.....

01 Aug 07 - 05:11 AM (#2116270)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Cats

We flew by Air Canada a couple of years back when we brought Jon's Gibson back from Vancouver. They had a reputation for really looking after instruments well. I don't know if they still do but they looked after it immaculatley. The resaon we flew with them was because they had been recommended for their instrument care by loads of musician friends.

02 Aug 07 - 01:28 AM (#2117108)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Liz the Squeak

Manitas insists his melodeon travels as hand baggage because often the pressure in the hold will burst the bellows.

I keep trying to persuade him otherwise, but he has some attachment to the wretched instruments! : )


02 Aug 07 - 04:30 AM (#2117186)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: Peace

Recently returned from Montreal via Air Canada.

Going, they had me place my guitar on the security thingy and then transfer it to a special conveyor belt that doesn't have the drops the normal one for suitcases does. I was aboard and saw the fellow who loads stuff into the plane. He was very careful with the guitar. On the return leg it was similar. They had me take the guitar to a separate area and go through the same process. Back in Edmonton my guitar was the last luggae off the plane and I was getting a bit concerned that the 'breakfast in London, lunch in Montreal, supper in Vancouver and luggage in Bangkok' syndrome had occurred. NOPE. My guitar was brought out BY HAND and was being carried by some dude wearing a suit! I love Air Canada.

02 Aug 07 - 09:33 PM (#2117893)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: cookster

Hi Peace!!!

03 Aug 07 - 12:25 PM (#2118359)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: GUEST,282RA

When I last went to South Carolina, I took my fiddle and I carried it with me. No way was I going to check it in. I saw another guy board with a guitar in a gig bag on his back. He wouldn't check it either. They do make these big transport cases for guitars--look like the old style wooden coffins--but they shield your instrument. I wouldn't check a guitar in without it being in one of those. I'd definitely rather carry it with me.

03 Aug 07 - 01:27 PM (#2118402)
Subject: RE: BS: Airlines Hate instruments
From: cookster

I'm sorry.