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TravelGround >> Tips on getting a guitar as carry on, on a plane?


8/30/09 3:24 PM
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the venerable dr wu
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So i got a bit of a round the world trip coming up, with loads of flights, i anticipate taking it in the ass with excess baggage over my guitar. i bought myself a Little Martin guitar to bring along, which 3/4 size and should fit in overhead compartment.
i basically wondered if you have any tips or tricks to get it past check in, should i mention i have the guitar to check in or just pretend i don't?
any experiences you wanna share? thanks
8/30/09 3:55 PM
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Mark1
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 Please don't be that guy.

Mark
8/30/09 4:11 PM
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the venerable dr wu
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oh man! no love, this backfired..love the OG.

any guitarists wanna chip in? tips / suggestions?
8/30/09 4:41 PM
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EKPOGI
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8/30/09 4:44 PM
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BEEF & CHEESE
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When I get a piston AR, I'm going to get an old beat up guitar case and do the exact same thing. Musical Militia FTW!
8/30/09 4:47 PM
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FCTV808
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you should ask them if they have any open seats that you might strap your guitar into because she travels so much better when she doesn't have to be put into a closet, LIKE LUGGAGE.

speak of her like a human. they like that.
8/30/09 4:48 PM
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BarkLikeADog
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Always better shipping instruments & gear than taking them on a flight.
8/30/09 4:54 PM
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HERTSWENIP
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Edited: 08/30/09 4:55 PM
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Do you plan on playing it on the airplane flight? I doubt any public airline would allow that. If not, why don't you just check it in as luggage?
8/30/09 5:30 PM
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the venerable dr wu
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Oh man it's depressing having the thought i might have to give up the idea of taking a guitar with me, as i'll be traveling for 4 months and for me playing guitar is like coffee and cigarette for a pack a day smoker.

I can't check the guitar in as it's got a soft case (can't get a hardcase for a guitar this small) the way baggage handlers treat luggage it would get broken first flight.
guess i'll just wing it. :(
8/30/09 6:07 PM
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Captain Woody
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8/30/09 6:20 PM
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clattymine
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I saw a douchebag with a guitar on his back the last time I flew. He just put it in the overhead.
8/30/09 6:31 PM
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Moke
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Edited: 08/30/09 6:37 PM
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I've always found it stressful, because you never know whether they'll let it on or not. It depends on the mood or personality of the crew that day, how full the flight is, what kind of plane it is...too many variables.

Plus, if you try to maximize your chances of getting it on the plane by carrying it in a light soft gig-bag, and they decide you can't carry it on, they'll send it down in their internal elevator into the shipping hold where it'll be completely unprotected in that bag, and you have no claim ticket.

For those of you who don't understand, some people's guitars are extremely valuable, all are fragile, sensitive to the cold temuratures of the baggage hold, and baggage handlers are notorious for purposely damaging guitars or outright stealing them.

What's rude is people stuffing the overheads with giant backpacks or other generic bags simply because they want to avoid checking in any baggage. Guitars are exactly the kind of thing that the overheads are made for imo.

One hint: If they say there is no room in the overheads, ask them if they can store it in the stewardess/crew closet. It'll fit standing up in there without taking up much room at all.

How much did you pay for the 3/4 Martin?
8/30/09 6:36 PM
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Moke
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Just watched that video and LOL'D!
8/30/09 6:37 PM
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the venerable dr wu
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That's such a catchy song! i noted that he had a hardcase for his guitar so i guess i'm fucked! luckily i'm not flying United, i'm flying obscure Sth American airlines, Aeroflot and Cebu air, sure they are much better.

Surprised at all the hate towards guitars on planes, "douchebag,selfish asshole, don't be that guy" fuck the cat! you'd be wearing brown shirts if this was Nazi Germany!
8/30/09 6:38 PM
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robert bentley
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1) Break the guitar up into smaller pieces using a common hacksaw - the pieces should fit into a normal sized carry-on.

2) Buy a hard case for the guitar that is protective from outside pressures (baggage handlers being dicks) and inside pressures (jostling around etc.) and put it in normal luggage.
8/30/09 6:40 PM
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Moke
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lol @ hard-cases being any protection form baggage handlers and freezing temperatures.
8/30/09 6:55 PM
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Moke
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Edited: 08/30/09 6:56 PM
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"There is no reason anyone on the flight should have to suffer because you are incapable of understanding the logistics of baggage and transportation."

lol @ "suffering"...and musicians who fly, understand baggage logistics all too well...that's why they want to take them on the plane. Most people's backpacks and other unecessary carry-ons are far larger, bulkier, and heavier than a guitar. Of course overheads were made for things you'll need throughout the flight and and overnight stuff, but that's not all (obviously).

And btw, I've owned all the top of the line cases possible and they don't help much. About all they are good for is keeping your guitar from getting outright crushed if a giant crate slams into it. But the better your case is, it also notifies the baggage monkeys that this is something worth stealing.

Mind you, I'm talking about electric guitars...they are much thinner and low profile compared with a full sized acoustic. I've even stuck mine between my legs and put the little blanket on my lap and the flight attendants could never even tell it was there.
8/30/09 7:07 PM
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BarkLikeADog
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Moke, you are vastly overstating your case. It's not gonna make anyone any more sympathetic when your argument is loaded with bullshit.
8/30/09 7:08 PM
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FCTV808
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it really is teh temperature and humidity (or lack of) that kills it dead)
8/30/09 7:13 PM
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JackShrimp
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Purchase two seats next to each other, one for you and one for your guitar.
8/30/09 7:37 PM
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Mica Kizbig
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I was watching Dragons Den the other night and some guy and his kid came on looking for money to expand thier guitar making business. They had a patent for this neck hinge that allowed you to fold up a guitar and tuck it into this special case that was basically a back pack.

The thing stayed in tune to.

They rejected the deal so Im not sure if its on the market or if it will be.
8/30/09 7:39 PM
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The Double Deuce
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what airline are you flying? I have travled with high end guitars and will give you pointers, but some airlines are great, others suck.
8/30/09 8:35 PM
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soriel
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props to whoever posted UA breaks guitars. I love singing that at work, especially when people come on with their guitars. Nothing makes them feel more secure about their valuable property when I can sing about breaking it.

As far as carrying a guitar as a carry on item goes on US airlines, you get that and a small personal item (such as a laptop bag or a briefcase). I don't know if you would really be able to claim a guitar as a personal item, but I also know that US gate agents suck at defining the size of personal items as carry on.

If you do carry it on, you are more than welcome to ask the f/a's if they have room for it in a closet or something but that is not a guaruntee. Closets are found in the first/buisness class cabins and are used for coats and our own luggage, so there may not be room. Once again, I am saying this from a US airline pov, things may be different on aeroflot and the others. And then there is always the overheads. It's there for storage of your carry on items.

If you do end up checking it, put it in a serious guitar traveling case. I don't know what those are like, but you want something sturdy. Ramp rats have a rep for slinging around luggage, not to mention that the turbulence that slings around your items in the overhead might also just be slinging around your items in the cargo pit. Just a thought.

The safest method is as someone else suggested - Buy a seat for it. Yeah, we allow you to buy seats for your oversized instruments.

And going back to UA breaking guitars - if you do check it, inspect your guitar at baggage claim. If it is damaged in any way you must take it to the baggage people then to make your damage claim. Do not wait 3 weeks until after the fact. The only way you have proof of damage is if you do not leave the airport before reporting it! Otherwise you have to write a song, and hope it becomes a youtube sensation.
8/30/09 8:40 PM
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Pito Chueco
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I apologize in advance if your "axe" gets broken by me when I try to shove my legit carry on into the overhead bin, occupied by your Betsy.
8/30/09 11:19 PM
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Moke
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Edited: 08/30/09 11:20 PM
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"Moke, you are vastly overstating your case. It's not gonna make anyone any more sympathetic when your argument is loaded with bullshit."

I don't need or care about your sympathy, I only know the facts. If you're not a guitar player I don't expect you to understand nor give a fuck.

...and I would GLADLY check it in with normal baggage if the handlers weren't such fucken MORANS.

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