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Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

Guitar on the plane 

Hey Guitaristas

Has anyone transported a guitar on an international flights...or on nay flights for that matter??
I'm traveling and I have to change three planes, some may be small, one is over Atlantic. Is it a normal occasion to bring the guitar on the plane, or do they give you hard time?
Do they try to make you check in the guitar? If so how do I fight that?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 3:02:09
 
John O.

Posts: 1720
Joined: Dec. 16 2005
From: Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I wouldn't take the chance. Even if the plane's empty you could get some stickler who wants to take it from you and put it with the luggage. Call and ask the airline. I know with Ryanair you can book a seat for your instrument, with Lufthansa you can reserve it over the phone. Better safe than sorry.

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Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 3:08:24
 
photog

 

Posts: 24
Joined: Feb. 19 2004
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I've taken my guitar several times on flights to Spain, as hand baggage and had no problem. It's best to be first on as storeage is at a premium, although on one flight a kind flight attendant had a handy little cupboard spare.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 3:26:45
 
Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I flew twice and everyone seamed to be fine with it but that was way before all the airlines turned into safety conscious wolves. I will call them before about it like John O. is suggesting, but I'm not paying for an extra seat. It should fit nicely in the bin. But I'll fight them to death if they try to check it. I wonder if there is some kind of policy as to the musical instruments.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 3:35:31
 
Hugh

 

Posts: 130
Joined: Jul. 27 2006
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I took an acoustic(ovation) in a hard case over to Canada from Glasgow last year.
You have to put it in at the large baggage area, and pick it up at the same place on the other side. It survived the trip just fine, I packed it with a couple of small towels and it was ok.
I saw a guy at the same time as me putting an acoustic with a soft bag in the area, and his survived the journey, although I'd never take the chance on that.
I got asked a million questions at immigration as to why I was taking it into the country in the first place. Are you going to be playing at folk festivals? are you going to be playing professionally at concerts? Are you selling the instrument over here or are you taking it back with you? That was the bit that I lied to them, I said I was taking it back when my holiday was up, when in actual fact I was selling it over there to someone I knew.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 3:46:43
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1672
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I once picked this document up from internet,

Maybe you can print it out and it is some use for you.

Peter.

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 5:38:36
 
Stu

Posts: 1941
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Hey man, I've taken my guitar abroad twice this year and both times I was very nervous about it. Both times I put it in with what they call "oversized luggage" for things like surf boards/pushchairs etc. The first trip was from UK to America with virgin and it was fine. the second was UK to Spain with easyjet and it didnt show up until a day later!! a rather nervous first day but it did arrive. Both occasions there was no damage to the guitar or even my case. this is my experience only. I cannot offer and sound advice.

stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 5:42:46
 
John O.

Posts: 1720
Joined: Dec. 16 2005
From: Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

quote:

I will call them before about it like John O. is suggesting, but I'm not paying for an extra seat.


RyanAir charges €15 I think, Lufthansa about the same.

With Lufthansa you have to call and order, they'll bill you for 2 tickets but after the flight will reimburse you for the ticket cost of one, leaving you paying about €15 for the tax for the second ticket. Don't know why but it's the only way they can do it.

I wouldn't mind bringing an old guitar, but bringing my good one on a plane I want it next to me at all times.

_____________________________

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 6:25:35
 
Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Gerundino63
That document is awesome. I hope it works still, if that's the regulation then they can kiss my *^$. I'm not checking it in.

I'm just now getting a new guitar that I wanted to bring with me. But I also have an older student guitar that I may bring, and if something happens to it it's not the worst thing ever. I am flying with United I think, and American airlines are usually the ones being pretty picky about things you can bring.

When I flew with the guitar security didn't even mention anything. But that was in 2001, I'm sure npw will be more problematic.

Thanks guys for all your advice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 7:00:57
 
El Craic

Posts: 164
Joined: Jul. 28 2003
From: Atlantic battered NW Ireland

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Hi, I'm flying aer lingus at the weekend and they "might" let you take the guitar on "if you can fit it in the overhead locker" but they also might make you put it in fragile hold, if the flight is full and they don't think they can spare the luggage space in the cabin. It's up to the guys at check in. Be nice to them or they'll dig their heels in! It always pays to phone up and check their current policy.

You shouldn't have to treat it like a surfboard (i know coz I regularly fly with one of them too). Often they take it off you at the steps and give it back to you at the other end so that it does not go through the carousel. If they refuse to let me take it on, I ask them if I can walk it to the steps and collect at the steps at the other end and this has never been refused. They have to do this for prams and wheelchairs.

Sometimes they mess this up too, we weren't popular the time two surfboards a canoe and a guitar bunged up the carousel. All I could think to say was "Where's my drum kit?"

Despite the chaos, touch ceder or spruce the guitar has survived unscathed so far. someone will have a horror story now and I will have to leave it behind! :-(

_____________________________

You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 8:25:02

Tomás Jiménez

 

Posts: 235
Joined: Feb. 24 2006
 

[Deleted] 

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Mar. 13 2008 22:58:10
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 9:54:02
 
veet

 

Posts: 231
Joined: Nov. 29 2004
From: L.A.

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to El Craic

Hey, Emma!
My it's been a long time -
How the heck are you? Playing again, I take it!

Suerte,
Vytas
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 12:57:52
 
El Craic

Posts: 164
Joined: Jul. 28 2003
From: Atlantic battered NW Ireland

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Hello how's u! Didn't stop, just slowed down coz various things came up to distract me. Can't stop playing though it keeps me sane. Are you going back to Jerez next year? I'd love to go back or try some other experience, but probably not this time. I had a lot of fun. Hope we meet again.

_____________________________

You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 20:07:26
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 728
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

If you fly from or within the USA have a look at http://www.tsa.gov/ and search for “musical instruments”.

There is also good advice at http://www.menc.org/information/infoserv/traveltipsformusicians.html

Things do seem to be improving in the USA – even Delta that has previously been accused of trashing instruments seems to have a reasonable policy. http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/baggage/special_baggage/fragile_bulky/musical_instruments/index.jsp

For the UK, concessions probably extend beyond membership of the Musicians’ Union as you will see at http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/site/cms/contentviewarticle.asp?article=653 just try to dress like a serious musician and not a tourist!

My recent experience flying to and from the UK has been good (Brazil and Spain) but a few years ago (Poland, Malta, Italy, Spain, UK) it was much more hit or miss. The most problematic can be when you are permitted to walk to the plane with your guitar and then it is loaded into the Fragile section of baggage. You are supposed to be able to pick it up as you walk off the plane – unless someone has already shoved on the wagon and sent it off to the carousel. This happened to me and I just caught my guitar before a heavy suitcase descended on it from a great height.

Do your research by contacting each airline before you fly (or check websites for policy). Get good specialist musical insurance for a valuable guitar and check that it covers what you need before you fly. If your guitar is irreplaceable - that is, if you think that even with good insurance money you would never be able to get anything so fabulous - leave it at home or buy a seat and a bodyguard!

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2007 22:28:25
 
Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Hey RobJe, thanks for all the info. I'm prepared now.

I'm actually flying with Delta, so I'm gonna use their policy to work my case. I wanted to bring my good guitar, that I just got to show it off. But I'll just stay safe and bring the old Yamaha, which is replacable.

Is the hard case hard enough to withstand other suitcases on top of it if they ask me to check it in?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 14 2007 6:39:57
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 728
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Hi Bogdan

I use a flight case when I can - you can jump on this! In most situations you should be fine - make sure that you have 'fragile' stickers on the case and if there is any unexpected problem about taking in onboard, insist that you walk it to the plane and have it loaded and unloaded separately from the rest of the baggage. Good luck! It would be good to post your experience for the benefit of others.

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 15 2007 1:08:01
 
Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Will post after I come back. Maybe I'll post the pictures of pieces of guitar after it's been squashed in the luggage section
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 15 2007 2:35:03
 
Hugh

 

Posts: 130
Joined: Jul. 27 2006
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Take a tube of superglue and gaffa tape with you
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 15 2007 3:20:43
 
jrabbani

 

Posts: 192
Joined: Jun. 28 2006
From: Los Angeles

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I've flown with my guitar a few times. and, as a matter of fact, I was able to bring on board every time. the trick is at check-in. make sure to have someone with you while you check in. when you are actually at the counter checking in, have your friend or family member stand AWAY from the counter with your guitar. check in whatever you have to, then go to security BUT DO NOT MENTION YOUR GUITAR. once you get to the security line, get your guitar and go on in. The security people figure that it has been checked in and will never question it. the only other time you might have an issue is when you actually get on the plane. once youre on the plane, a flight attendant might ask you about it, but if they do, kindly ask to put your guitar in the flight attendant's area, where they hang out and keep their personal belongings. worse case scenario, when you already have your guitar on the plane, is that the flight attendant will ask to put your guitar below the plane, but they will hand carry down there with the other fragile cargo. trust me, this works and I know many pro's that do this same thing. when someone first told me this, i was weary about it, but ever since, it has worked. oh yea, i also had that letter with me, just as a back up just in case security or flight staff would try to question me. good luck.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 15 2007 3:58:48
 
papi_rf

Posts: 15
Joined: Sep. 19 2007
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I have not had any issues on any flights. I usually fly American Airlines or United in the US. This past July I flew direct between Chicago and Madrid on Iberia and carried my guitar without any problem. I don't mention or hide my guitar when at the check-in counter. And I take my beater in a basic hardshell plywood case. I would never use a gig bag. I have seen people forcefully shove their suitcases in the overhead.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 16 2007 2:37:12
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to jrabbani

quote:

ORIGINAL: jrabbani

the trick is at check-in.

BUT DO NOT MENTION YOUR GUITAR. once you get to the security line, get your guitar and go on in. The security people figure that it has been checked in and will never question it. the only other time you might have an issue is when you actually get on the plane. once youre on the plane, a flight attendant might ask you about it, but if they do, kindly ask to put your guitar in the flight attendant's area, where they hang out and keep their personal belongings. worse case scenario, when you already have your guitar on the plane, is that the flight attendant will ask to put your guitar below the plane, but they will hand carry down there with the other fragile cargo. trust me, this works and I know many pro's that do this same thing. when someone first told me this, i was weary about it, but ever since, it has worked. oh yea, i also had that letter with me, just as a back up just in case security or flight staff would try to question me. good luck.


You pretty much got it, but now you have to declare instruments in Europe. Heres the routine.
1.Loosen the strings on the guitar. Make sure there is no liquid nail hardener or penknife etc. in the case. Security will remove them.
2. Cheap airlines like Ryanair charge for instruments. Make sure you have booked a seat for the instrument or paid the surcharge.
3. Better airlines are more easy .Check in your luggage, make sure your guitar is your only piece of hand luggage. The job of the check in clerk is to try to stop you taking it on. Tell them you want to put it on by hand at the door of the plane.They will tag it.
4. At door of plane the attendant will normally let you stow it overhead. A flight case will fit in a 737 overhead locker, it will not fit in an airbus locker.
5. If it wont fit, the attendant will put it in a locker or stow it by hand below with the childrens prams/buggies.
6. Make sure you label Front and back
FRAGILE- PLEASE HAND TO PASSENGER AT DESTINATION
7. Occasionally a snotty attendant will ask you to recheck the guitar as luggage. In this case, remind them they are not fully insured to stow the guitar in the luggage hold. If they insist, threaten to leave the plane. They will have to delay the flight an hour looking for your luggage from the hold before take off and the captain will be very unhappy. I only tried this once and they grudingly found a space for the guitar.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2007 23:06:47
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pimientito
threaten to leave the plane.

I'm shocked! I'd no idea you could be so stroppy and manipulative!!

Anything to protect your guitar tho....
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 17 2007 23:16:36
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

I have only once had a problem fiying with a guitar, it was from London to the States on British Air. I brought the guitar back from Spain as it was returned to the maker for some repairs and the owner is a friend of mine. Anyways the flight attendent was very sure the guitar would not fit in the overheads. I told her it would and when she demanded I check the guitar I demanded to speak to the captain of the plane. She was very offended by my lack of respect for the chain of command and would not allow me to go over her head. I then told her that I would be catching another flight with a less snotty airline (as if) and I wanted my luggage removed from the plane. It worked but I made sure to mix my own drinks and not eat anything they served me.:)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2007 2:20:41
 
Bogdan1980

 

Posts: 370
Joined: May 23 2007
From: Frederick, MD

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Pimientito, thanks for the detailed explanation.
When you say flight case, is that just a guitar case or do you have something specifically for the flight?

If it's stored with kids buggies wwon't it get crushed by them?

Aaron, that seams pretty forceful. I'm flying with Delta, and on the trip back I'm flying through London, and I was told they are pretty snotty there in terms of security. Delta has a policy which I can print out, but I'm assuming that some flights are operated by other airlines for Delta, so the policy may not have much effect. But I'm prepared to fight.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2007 2:47:57
 
vasileos

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Jan. 19 2005
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Two years ago I flew Delta to Greece from San Francisco and later flew from Athens to Madrid on Olympic and then I flew from Madrid back to San Francisco with a stopover in Atlanta on Delta. Not a problem at all. I did as others have said and checked my big bag without mentioning my guitar and just carried my guitar aboard and stowed it in the overhead.

I always use a gig bag and have flown many times with a guitar. Only once I had a problem right at the gate. An attendant demanded that I tag my guitar and have it stowed when I boarded the plane. As I walked down the boarding ramp, I removed the tag and boarded the plane and stowed the guitar in the overhead. Didn't have any problems. Just go for it!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2007 3:41:34
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bogdan1980

When you say flight case, is that just a guitar case or do you have something specifically for the flight?



When I say flight case, I mean a case that is designed to transport instruments in a plane. A soft case is fine for carrying your guitar round town but it is extremely unwise to travel with a soft case. An ordinary hard case will sustain the odd bump and drop but the catches may open in transit especially if it is thrown about. A flight case has a tough outer shell like a samsonite suitcase with several layers of styrofoam between the guitar and the shell. This acts like a crash helmet so that even if the case get crushed it will still protect the guitar inside.
One of the best makers in Europe is Hiscox which retail at around 120 pounds. They have a website at www.hiscoxcases.com
The buggies are stowed in a special compartment under the cockpit. It is pretty small and stuff doesnt move about. The guitar is very safe there.

Vasileos got it right. If you manage to get to the door with the guitar, the attendants assume you are a professional musician and tend to help out. Its rare to get one that wont help. Remember that if you remove your tag, keep it with you until you have stowed it inside the plane. If they move the guitar to below, you have to put it on again.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 18 2007 6:11:30
 
Mark

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Aug. 19 2007
 

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Bogdan1980

Just to throw in my 2 cents, I was on a 9 hour flight with my guitar in a soft case in the overhead and it was perfectly fine. I probably wouldn't do this if I had a very expensive guitar but it didn't seem to be a problem and I always just shove my guitar in the overhead and try to position it in a clever way with the other luggage up there.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 2 2008 16:41:28
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Mark

That will be Ok sometimes, but its risky and if you get an @sshole passenger who tries to stuff a hard travel case on top of your guitar, it will get damaged. The main problem is if the airline wont allow you to put it overhead and it goes in the buggy hold....there is a risk of it going through bagage recalaim and you can end up with a guitar omelette.
If you pay an extra couple of dollars for priority boarding, you get to be first on the plane which allows you the chance to find an empty locker and stow safely.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 2 2008 20:10:53
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Pimientito

Guys, I'm a bit confused by this - when I fly they won't even let me on to the plane with any bag that is bigger than the standard measurements - always having arguments at security (perhaps I just look dodgy?). I mean, how do you even get as far as the plane with your guitar? Do they never try to stop you at the x-ray machines?

I've gotta sort this out tho - can't manage a whole week in Jerez in March without my precious!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 2 2008 21:14:30
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: Guitar on the plane (in reply to Ailsa

quote:


I mean, how do you even get as far as the plane with your guitar? Do they never try to stop you at the x-ray machines?


The security guys are only worried about security. They are not concerned with baggage sizes since each airline has its own policy. They probably will want you to open the case. You will only have a problem if you forget to take things like nail hardener (liquid- possible explosive) tools, nail fail or scissors (weaponry - possible hijacker) and then you will have to throw away those items or check in the guitar.
The very cheap airlines charge you now to carry instruments but if you book early you can sometimes get a seat for the guitar as cheaply as paying the surcharge. Not that you CAN NOT take on extra hand luggage for your "guitar passenger"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 3 2008 0:31:08
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