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Guitars on flights

02 Oct 03 - 12:51 PM (#1028082)
Subject: BS: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

I'm off to Maine and Nova Scotia in about a week Yahooooo!
Here's my question. I was thinking of taking my old banger guitar with me (a hardy old Yamaha) for the odd session. I don't have a proper flight case and, although it's just an old banger, I wouldn't like to get it damaged. Do baggage handlers, these days, respect the fragile stickers or do they see this as a challenge?
Anyone had good bad experiences?


02 Oct 03 - 01:49 PM (#1028123)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Midchuck

You have four options:

1) Buy a Calton case, or maybe a Pegasus. (Those cost a good deal more, new, than the present value of your old Yamaha.)

2) Travel with a guitar that you consider expendable, in a normal hard case, packing it carefully with a lot of padding inside the case, especially around the headstock.

3) Don't travel by air.

4) Don't travel with a guitar.

Sorry I'm not more help. But yes, airline luggage handlers go into a blind rage at the sight of a guitar case. I don't know why. Maybe a guitar player bit them at some point.


02 Oct 03 - 01:57 PM (#1028128)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: RichM

Just one suggestion to add to Peter's:
Visit your local music store, see if you can get a packing box that was used to ship a guitar case to the store... pack your guitar in its case snugly, and put the whole thing in the packing box


02 Oct 03 - 02:21 PM (#1028147)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: GUEST,andrew

And as John James sang ... They search everyone.... with a suitcase shaped like that


02 Oct 03 - 02:33 PM (#1028152)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Amos

According to a research survey -- in 7.4 out of 10 luggage handlers the trauma-induced obsession relative to guitar cases is induced by pre-natal experiences of the (luggage handler's) mother, who typically was overwhelmed by a guitar; the standard profile indicates the occasion of overwhelm was not acoustic but highly amplified, usually occurring between 18 and 25 years of age, between 8:00 and 11:59 pm, with a normal presence of saturation in the atmosphere of hallucinogenic or related toxins of some 35 parts per million. The consensus of the analysts on the study is that the high atmospheric concentration of these chemicals in the typical event accounts for the failure of the study subjects to differentiate between acoustic guitars and noxious electric acid rock and roll instruments laying claim to the same name.



02 Oct 03 - 02:52 PM (#1028164)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Ebbie

What Amos said.

02 Oct 03 - 04:34 PM (#1028238)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: John MacKenzie

Look for a cheap one on E-bay in the US Andy, collect it in situ, and chance bringing it back afterwards.

02 Oct 03 - 05:43 PM (#1028288)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Now yer talking John. I think I might try that! Bet your envious - Naw second thoughts, you wont be; you can't get the Archers in Cape Breton!

Ok all you New Englanders and Eastern Canadians what would I expect to pay for a "drinking" guitar?

Hey this thread has got promotion Thanks joe!

02 Oct 03 - 06:14 PM (#1028306)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Phil Cooper

When I was a student a long time ago, I went to England for a semester and bought a guitar in London, rather than fly with the one I had back home. That one was an Eko Ranger 6, cost me 46 pounds, sold it back to the music store for 10 when I returned home (this was 1975). Since then I have flown with some nice guitars and they have come out unscathed. I do have one "flying guitar" with a Mark Leaf case with the interior custom fitted to just that guitar. You can put that case through a lot of abuse and nothing will hurt the guitar (usually).

If I were flying to the states now and thinking of buying a session guitar, I would look at yamaha or alverez or sigma price range. Do you know someone that you're visiting well enough to ask to borrow a guitar while you're here? We're going to Ireland in November to visit some old, dear friends and I was thinking of asking to do that, rather than fly (and carry) one over with me. Good luck.

I've heard the air handler horror stories and do not doubt their truth.   On the other hand, the late great Jethro Burns told me that he never asked for special handling when flying with his mandolin, always checked it in with his other baggage, and it always came out ok.

02 Oct 03 - 06:16 PM (#1028307)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Lane

What DID Amos say?

Hey... first of all - if its an old banger like my Yamaha FG 140, its worth taking care of. The old thing plays pretty darn well.

I travel on Southwest Airlines often and have never had a problem with taking my guitars on as carry ons.... I dont think all airlines are as liberal, but SW has never given me a problem...


02 Oct 03 - 10:02 PM (#1028466)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: freightdawg

I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments. Because of my vocation I can tell you that the word "fragile" is just an invitation to fold, mutilate and destroy just about anything. You have to remember that most baggage handling is down out of sight - and that means out of mind as well. Also, a lot of baggage sorting is done with automatic sorters these days - and they have a real taste for expensive objects (how they identify them is a top industry secret.) My only addition to the suggestions so far is to check into the possibility of buying some insurance on the guitar. That way, if the instrument is damaged or lost, at least you can get some cash to replace it.

02 Oct 03 - 10:19 PM (#1028474)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: bflat

Neverhad a problem. Have taken one on board and also in the luggage hold. Requested special handling and received it.


03 Oct 03 - 04:53 AM (#1028617)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: John MacKenzie

Elderly Music have got a cheap Martin Backpacker for sale, now.

03 Oct 03 - 05:19 AM (#1028630)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Hovering Bob

Done a few tours abroad with Dorset Triumph Folk Dancers, taking my much loved, 'brick built' twelve string guitar, in a very solid fibre/resin case. The only problem I had was the weight of it severely limited the amount of other luggage I could take. Fortunately, the sides 'Squire' negotiated a group weight allowance and the excess was shared among the group.
I'll admit to a few qualms as I saw it disappear down the conveyer heading for the plane's hold. The case did get a couple of small holes punched in it, nothing serious but the guitar was fine. Even stayed in tune, well as much as the damn thing ever did!
(I've got and old Eko Ranger – I just wonder, could it be?)

03 Oct 03 - 05:49 AM (#1028646)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: kitchen piper

I always take my pipes on as hand luggage.
If I'm only allowed one piece of hand luggage then pipes sit on the floor by my feet and the check in person never even sees it.
By the time you get to the plane you walk on confidently and I've never been questioned.

I would never let my pipes go in the hold or even out of my site!

happyguitar can't get away with that though!
So he carries his guitar on board and the cabin people put it somewhere safe, he then carries it off again.

Letting either my pipes or HG's guitar get into the hands of baggage handlers puts a shiver down my spine.

Get a hard case and then carry it on yourself!!!
Don't trust them, don't do it!!!!


03 Oct 03 - 06:06 AM (#1028653)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Gurney

I travelled half way around the world, two airlines, with a 'good' guitar in a hard case and an 'old banger' guitar in a soft fabric case.
The good guitar was squashed, the oldie unmarked. you pays your money....
I've seen them unload bicycles, and I wouldn't wish that on a tractor.

03 Oct 03 - 11:34 AM (#1028896)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: s&r

There was a recent report in (Ithink) the Telegraph (Sorry) about a plane that had take-off problems due to an indicator light not extinguishing.

This could have meant the wheels would not retract. The pilot sorted it by haring down the Taxi-ing runway, and jamming the brakes on. This it seems is known to reditribute the baggage in the hold, which cures all sorts of things....

03 Oct 03 - 12:08 PM (#1028919)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: GUEST,Spot the Dog

I always ask for the Guitar to travel in the aircraft. I have taken mine to Holland and Spain both without a refusal. They take it off you at the cabin door and give it you back on departing the aircraft at your destination. Check with them first. My experience looks to be more favourable than the norm.

Or come and borrow mine for the duration. I am in Manchester and could easily do without my hard case for a month or so. It's got a 26 years old Yamaha FG355 in it right now so the fit wouldn't be a problem. It's a Hiscox hard flight. You're welsome if you can come and get it.!!

Dave W

03 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM (#1028921)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes

Having read my posting I meant to say "I always ask for the Guitar to travel in the aircraft with me rather than the hold"

Either way if you can arrange collection etc just let me know.

Dave W

03 Oct 03 - 01:07 PM (#1028968)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: John MacKenzie

Ah Strupag's in Skye, might be a prob.

03 Oct 03 - 04:12 PM (#1029128)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: GUEST,Sibelius

I took a Manson dreadnought on a year-long RTW trip a few years back, using three or four different airlines over about 15 separate flights. It was in a Hiscox case, which is better than your average 'hard' case but not up to the standards of a Calton. The guitar never seemed to suffer.

On the first few flights I did try to take it on board with me, and I think that's usually the best bet. One piece of advice I was given was to go up to the departure gate very late, because by then the hold has been closed, and they have no choice but to let you and guitar on the plane. I don't recall ever being refused. On bigger planes, the overhead luggage bins always seemed to be roomy enough to take the guitar. If you've got no flight case, you could insist on taking it on board with you precisely for that reason - it clearly wouldn't be safe in the hold.

On the later flights I just checked it in with the luggage. The only problem I had was at LAX luggage collection, where my pack re-appeared but no guitar. An overworked and clearly exasperated attendant told me that guitars were classed as fragile (good so far!) and came in through a separate collection point. Where was that, then? "Over there!" she said, opening both arms out straight and pointing in completely opposite directions. Thanks.

It was a crap guitar, by the way. About as subtle as a concrete mixer; loud and brash so it worked for busking but not a lot else. Ooops thread creep!

03 Oct 03 - 06:19 PM (#1029223)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Dave W, What a kind offer ! - worthy of a true mudcatter. The flight is from Glasgow to Amsterdam and then to Boston so it makes it kind of ackward to get to Manchester. Very much appreciated nevertheless.
I'm now coming round to the view that I might pack the guitar, especially the neck and head with bubble wrap in the old fibre case and take my chances. My "proper" guitar is a Takamine and that's staying firmly on the croft.
The guitar that I'm taking is an old Yamaha FG-345 which has done ok over the years but not absolutely cherished.
Tell you what guys, I'll keep you posted of my progress and give appropriate credit or derision where it's due. KLM is the operator so the challenge goes out!
I've just remembered that this very same guitar survived honourably on a return LOT flight to Poland about 16 years ago.
Are the Dutch as careful as the Poles? In my day job I often worked on both Dutch and Polish fishing boats. I wouldn't like to guess!

Thanks youse all


04 Oct 03 - 08:07 AM (#1029496)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Maryrrf

I've taken my Martin numerous times transatlantic in just the regular Martin case. They've never allowed me to carry it on. The case has some dents in it but the guitar has always come through okay - knock on wood!

06 Oct 03 - 05:19 PM (#1030813)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: frankie g

THink you got a bad deal.
Try being a drummer!

06 Oct 03 - 06:01 PM (#1030835)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Murray MacLeod

I hope your Martin comes through safely this time as well, Mary. If it doesn't, you can always borrow mine ....


06 Oct 03 - 06:07 PM (#1030837)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Maryrrf

Thanks, Murray. I'm always so relieved when it finally shows up on the conveyor belt. Thanks for the offer and I sure hope I don't have to take you up on it!

06 Oct 03 - 07:24 PM (#1030872)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Guess what Mary,
Cuillin FM have been awarded funding and are starting soon. I'll be playing your album when I get back from Alba Ur.
And Murray! I've got a list of people who swear that the Beatles palyed in Dingwall the night after the Pav.
Were you around there at the time?


07 Oct 03 - 07:34 PM (#1031485)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Well folks the time is nigh, the old FG345 has got new strings and the case is done up with new Gaffer tape. Care was taken not to cover my favourite stickers.
There's a bit of bubble wrap around the neck and every thing seems secure.
I'm driving down to Glasgow in the morning, spending the night with frends and geting the plane out on Thursday.

Come on KLM, I've always liked the Dutch. I've got my big mate Henk in Ullapool to proove it! Please pretend that it's a great big tulip!

I'll keep you all posted!


07 Oct 03 - 11:29 PM (#1031565)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Maryrrf

Andy, that's great that your station got funded and have a wonderful trip !

08 Oct 03 - 04:56 AM (#1031654)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Sandy Mc Lean

Perhaps we'll meet when you are in Cape Breton Strupag.
   Have a great trip ! ( agus failte gu Cheap Breatuinn !!! )

08 Oct 03 - 08:31 AM (#1031705)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: fiddler

If you are risking it try and persuade them to let you take it in the cabin!

Although smaller I got a violin and a melodeon this way to Germany earlier this year.

sometimes the crew will agree to put it in their clothes locker, jst remember to get it out at the end of the flight!!!



08 Oct 03 - 12:58 PM (#1031842)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Murray MacLeod

Andy, I am afraid I can neither confirm nor deny that the Beatles played Dingwall after their Strathpeffer gig. My feeling is that they did not, as I don't remember the gig being advertised, but then again
they may have played at short notice.

Good luck on your trip to Nova Scotia, and hope you and your guitar return safely. Cape Breton Island is a marvellous place to visit and I get envious every year round about this time. Do make sure you catch JP Cormier at least once ....


20 Oct 03 - 02:27 PM (#1038503)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Well folks, seo sinn a Cheap Bhreatuin
I'm now in Baddeck. We got here in Tuesday just in time to see Tommy Sands in Wagmatcook. He was, as always, great. We went to the club afterwards and, after that, dates and times are just a happy blurr.
I got to the Pickers Paradise concert and my jaw is still touching the ground.
I also went to the Guitar Summit and the first person I met was my mate Bob Massie. I stood there nervously with him as his daughter, Anna, played along with these greats. I was delighted and proud that she proved that she is up there with them. J P said, after her second set, "Don't let that girl get on the plane. She is going to be an honourary Calien"
The celidh in Christmas Island was just like something you would find in a Uist or Barra hall.
The Square dance in Baddeck was just beyond description.
I have probably rubbed shoulders with Sandy and George and not known it but what the hell! I'm coming back next year.
I still have to say that, despite the great music, what made it for me was the friendliness and hospitality of the people. I want to thank everyone for that.
Now what about that guitar? Well it survived the flight ok but I'm a wee bit reluctant to take it out of it's box after seeing J P.
I'm now heading down to Pictou to see the Hector.

20 Oct 03 - 02:35 PM (#1038510)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

I did forget to say that, as I was walking down the street yesterday morning, a TV team (ATV) came up and asked if I was a visitor and how I enjoyed the festival
I then saw myself on the tellie at 10 PM
At least three people have come up to me today and said "Are you the guys from Scotland?" and that they were glad that I enjoyed the festival

28 Oct 03 - 03:45 PM (#1043358)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Strupag

Well here am I back on the Isle of Skye and my guitar is none the worse for wear. A big cheer and thanks to the Northwest airlines and KLM luggage handlers.
After a superb time in Cape Breton, I went down and stayed with friends in Scotsburn near Pictou. They proved that the hospitality carries on into the other parts of Nova Scotia. Big highlight of my whole holiday was when our hosts put on a kitchen party in our honour on the Friday night. We had local musician Spyder Macdonald and Dave Gunning there and also Roy and Steve from PEI plus many more. I've heard a lot about these kitchen ceilidhs but being there is beyond description.
One more thing - the beer there is excellent. My favourite was Keiths closely followed by Propeller.
It's a great part of the world and full of great people.
Thanks everyone

04 Nov 03 - 04:37 AM (#1047473)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: GUEST,Jennyfitzguest

My cheap Yamaha was broken throught the case by Cathay Pacific. A guitar making friend said replacement was more cost effective for them than fixing it, as the back was crushed.

The issue is still being resolved, but the person they put me through to in Brisbane to arrange the fixing showed me that the conditions on my ticket were that they had only a liability to fix or replace it to a maximum of "20 US Dollars per kilo of weight" !!! I think they are gonna fix/or replace it but the point is - if it was a $2000 guitar, they are in their rights not to, it seemed.

Now for a Yamaha that's not the end of the world, but anything else - don;t let it out of your sight! On the same flight, another blokes guitar in a super case was damaged too. THey must have had some music hating handler on that flight!

04 Nov 03 - 04:46 AM (#1047478)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: harvey andrews

Had the neck on my Gibson Blue Ridge custom broken three times. Now I borrow a guitar at the other end if I have to fly. Thanks Rick for that lovely Martin I borrowed in Ontario last month!

04 Nov 03 - 10:51 AM (#1047661)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Fortunato

American Airlines told me two weeks ago that I could carry on a soft bag on American Flights and stash it in the storage at the front of the plane on Domestic Flights. They also told me that my full size hard shell case would fit overhead on current Transatlantic flights.

10 Aug 06 - 01:24 PM (#1806440)
Subject: RE: Guitars in planes
From: Murray MacLeod

Well, I guess todays events have put paid to any chance of carrying   your instrument on board for the foreseeable future, at least on Transatlantic flights.
    Threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
    -Joe Offer-

17 Oct 07 - 05:07 PM (#2173189)
Subject: Tech: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,Phil Graham -

Does anyone have any knowledge/experience about guitars in gig cases carried in holds on flights. Someone once told me that the drop in air pressure in an airplane hold can seriously damage the instrument if the strings aren't loosened pre-flight. Another guy poo-pood the notion saying that he'd flown thousands of miles without loosening strings and had experienced no trouble.

Anybody have a view or opinion?



17 Oct 07 - 05:09 PM (#2173192)
Subject: RE: Tech: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,Rich A

Have been to Canada a couple of times with a guitarist and there's been no problem at all. Came out in tune mostly.

17 Oct 07 - 05:34 PM (#2173208)
Subject: RE: Tech: Guitars on flights
From: Maryrrf

I have traveled with a guitar several times and did not loosen the strings, but the guy who repaired my Martin told me it is still a good idea to loosen them. It can't hurt.

17 Oct 07 - 05:36 PM (#2173210)
Subject: RE: Tech: Guitars on flights
From: John MacKenzie

I always loosen mine, and I pack stuff round the head, to avoid it snapping if they drop it from a great height.

17 Oct 07 - 08:46 PM (#2173308)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,Big Mick

I would NEVER put a guitar in the cargo hold in anything less than a Calton case. I would especially not put it in there in a gig bag. At minimum, a good hard case is a must, but as Giok points out, you MUST immobilize the head. I have heard both sides of the loosening of strings from different luthiers. I fly with a guitar on 4 flights a week. I loosen the strings, but for the reason that my favorite red head (Maryrrf, whom I simply must sing with one day) says. It simply can't hurt.

If you can afford it, get a very good travel case, especially if it is an instrument you love. I often tell the story of my favorite guitar. Although I play Larrivee now, my favorite sounding guitar ever was a Seagull S6 with a Cedar top. It was just one of those that had the right wood, put together on the right day, under the right conditions, by the right luthier. It was plain looking, but when you struck a chord your body just tingled. Great players would pickup this little red beatup instrument, and invariably, when they handed it back to me they would ask where the hell I got it. I usually carried it onboard aircraft with me, but on one occasion United forced me to check it. I had it in a hard case, but somehow they managed to get it caught and busted 7 braces. It has never been the same since. I now use a Calton case on any instrument that I have a relationship with.


17 Oct 07 - 10:04 PM (#2173344)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: georgemann

For future reference, the American Federation of Musicians got the FAA (or I believe it might have been the Dept of Transportation itself) to issue a letter stating that musicians bringing instruments onboard should be given preference over other carry-ons-- it's available on the AFM website though you might have to be amember to print/download the letter, I can't recall if it's "restricted access"...

They fought a big battle with Delta over this, as Delta refused to recognize the letter-- AFM launched a successful boycott that led to Delta backing down earlier this year.

Now. there's no way I'd let ANY guitar of mine out of my site or left to the mercy of baggage handlers. ALWAYS insist that you carry it to the plane, negotiate with plane crew if needed (they are usually fine with it, it's the peopleat the counters who give you a problem) and as a last resort, "gate-check" it so that you hand it to someone as you are getting on the plane and can see it placed into baggage.

I've had some nasty fights with personnel at the counters over this issue in the past, but haven't lost one yet! Insist that you carry it onboard-- it's worth much more than someone's underwear.

17 Oct 07 - 10:12 PM (#2173348)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Big Mick

George, nice to see another AFM member here. I agree, but I got tired of the fight. I invested in a Calton case and have never looked back. It is indestructible and protects my guitar incredibly well. A few years back I was in a car accident that put me in the hospital for a few days and totalled my Grand Cherokee. It rolled several times and the guitar case went through the front window. It was found over a 100 feet from the vehicle. When I got home, I took my Larrivee out of the case and it was still in tune.

And I think the letter you refer to is in the restricted area of the AFM website.


17 Oct 07 - 10:25 PM (#2173357)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: harpmolly


That's just great--thanks for the update! I'm going to inform everyone at work, as I'm sure our customers will be happy to know this. :)


17 Oct 07 - 10:53 PM (#2173369)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Amos

I use a less expensive Oyster case which is tough fiberglass sheets braced with heavy durable foam. It won't take the beating a Carlton will, but it is designed to hold the guitar's usual hardcase suspended in foam braces, and it has not failed me yet through three Getaways -- well, two plus this one coming up.


18 Oct 07 - 04:00 AM (#2173440)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Splott Man

British Airways let me take my guitar into the cabin this week. Their policy states one item of hand luggage plus a musical instrument.

On the outward journey I was offered the facility, and on the return journey I mentioned this and it was no problem.

Splott man

18 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM (#2173501)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,chris


18 Oct 07 - 07:05 AM (#2173503)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Les in Chorlton

I have a Tenor Mandola. With some companies they state how long your in-flight bag can be. The Mondola case is too long, although they have not challanged me on that.

I have thought of putting the mandola in my hard shell cloths case in a soft gig bag. How does this sound?

18 Oct 07 - 07:21 AM (#2173507)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: John MacKenzie

The main problem with guitar cases it the shape. They don't stack well, and get left till last on the baggage trolley, then thrown on top. The trolley then zooms off at high speed, and as it goes round corners, the small odd shaped bits on top slide off. That's what happened to mine, and the next trolley in the train ran over the head of the case. Luckily it damaged the case, and somehow missed the guitar PHEW!!
The best thing case makers could do, is make a case with parallel sides, and coated with a non slip material.
I have seen aluminium cases like large attaché cases, but only for electric guitars, but while they stack OK, you still have the slippery aspect of polished metal.
I'd like an oblong carbon fibre case with hard rubber edges, but it would cost a fortune.


18 Oct 07 - 07:47 AM (#2173519)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Splott Man

On the plane I was on, they had wardrobe-like storage in the posh bit that they used. My guitar case has rubber studs on the fat end so that it can be stood upright, this was an advantage.

It would appear that the hand-luggage size restrictions don't apply to guitar cases, though I suspect that anything bigger would need a seat to itself (I know a harp player who does this. I don't know whether he gets the harp's meals as well, though).

Splott Man

18 Oct 07 - 11:15 AM (#2173657)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Mark Ross

The last time I flew, and it is the last time I will fly with instruments, was to Chicago to play for IWW Centenary a couple of years ago. When I checked in I asked if I could take my guitar on board and I was assured that I could. If they had told me that it would have to be checked, I had my Mark Leaf case out in the car, but having been told that there wouldn't be any problem I proceeded through security with my guitar in a good gig bag. Of course, I took out anything that be construed as a weapon and placed it my checked bag. Well, on each of the four planes that I flew on on that trip my guitar had to go underneath in the baggage compartment! Even on the one plane that had large enough overhead bins that my guitar would fit in. To add insult to injury, when I returned home as we taxied to the terminal gate it was announced over the PA that any anything that was gate-checked could be picked up at the baggage carousel... meaning that my one of a kind, custom made instrument(which I've had for over 30 years)would to have to ride the conveyor belt. Needless to say, I threw a fit. Fortunately, the pilot of the outbound flight waiting at the door of the plane took pity on me and rescued my most prized instrument, and after determining that there was no damage(it's a very good, well-padded gig bag of my own design)I swore that this was the last time I would get on one of those things. As my friend Kuddie says "If God had wanted man to fly, our bones would be as hollow as our heads."

Mark Ross

18 Oct 07 - 12:49 PM (#2173741)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Tweed

I flew to Memphis for the King Biscuit Festival and took an old Harmony electric with me in a gig bag. First leg to Atlanta was a big type Delta jet and there was no problem with carrying the guitar on and stowing it in the luggage bin above my seat. From Atlanta to Memphis we took a smaller commuter type jet and the bins were not so big, and they took it from me and placed it in the hold. The way that worked out was alright as you can watch 'em load it in and when you reach your next stop, you hang around the ramp and they'll bring it back to you without running it through what ever happens on the back side of the baggage claim carousel. My Harmony is no more screwed up now than it was when I left for the Holy Delta Lands.

I say, yes, take the old beater in a gig bag. Check all your other luggage and carry it with you. I figured

"What's the worst could happen? It ain't like it was a Martin, and if they break the neck off, it'll give me something to mess with later."

19 Oct 07 - 09:40 AM (#2174450)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Roger the Skiffler

I don't travel with anything larger than my kazoo and voice (both classed as lethal weapons) but I would guess you'd have problems on UK based charter and budget flights (like Lowzyjet- you know who I mean) no 1st class "wardrobes" to put things in and limited handbaggage allowances by size and number. Having seen items drop off trolleys here and in Greece between plane and carousel I think hardest possible case advice is soundest. Or take Michael Winner's advice-"Always travel by private jet, dear.


25 Jun 08 - 11:22 AM (#2373992)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,Murphy

So there I was, checking in my guitar and getting the ususal lecture about excess baggage and extra cost. I turned to the wife and said, "I should have brought the piano". "Why would you do that, isn't the guitar trouble enough".   .... "It's just that I left my passport on top of the piano".

25 Jun 08 - 07:14 PM (#2374362)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Leadfingers

Who said " The Old Jokes are the best " ??

25 Sep 08 - 09:42 AM (#2449693)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: eddie1

Next week I'm flying from Heathrow to Detroit then on to Memphis. If I buy this guitar to take with me, what are my chances of taking it as carry-on. It is quite narrow after all!

Find it here


(If this works, I've done my first ever Blue Clicky!

25 Sep 08 - 05:14 PM (#2450258)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: tradpiper

Well For years I flew with a guitar over my shoulder, either in a soft case or open.... just carried it on as hand luggage. but dont know if this would work for you, any more.

26 Sep 08 - 08:32 AM (#2450746)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: Charmion

This discussion is all about the main reason I took up the mandolin.

17 Dec 08 - 05:54 PM (#2518340)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: GUEST,Kim

Ok, I'm totally new to this guitar worry world....
It's almost 2009 and I'm going to Italy...... American Airlines and British Airways.   I have a Martin Dreadnaught and the old heavy duty, cushioned 5 latch case.    Of course, I want to keep it as close to me as possible, espcially since I will be playing the day following my arrival and don't want to worry about misplaced luggage.

Is it possible that I may be able to carry it on?
Has anyone tried most recently?

17 Dec 08 - 11:43 PM (#2518581)
Subject: RE: Guitars on flights
From: IvanB

Dunno about AA, but BA almost certainly not. I have to say that BA really babied my Martin New Yorker on two different transatlantic flights, hand carrying it to the loading area and hand delivering it to me at the baggage claim areas.