Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars - Jemsite
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Hello folks,

Not sure where to post this thread so this seems as good a place as anywhere.

I will soon be travelling from L.A. to London with several classic RG shaped guitars. Four if possible. My plan is to break down two of them and fit them into a decent piece of rolling luggage fitted out with builders strength cardboard tubes for necks, hard roadcase foam (shaped to hold the body), bubble wrap etc. The other two, more expensive models will come with me, hopefully, on the plane. All are bolt-on neck models.

I know there have been a few threads dealing with this before but I'm looking for people's experiences recently, like in the last year.

Who did you fly with? Did you use a gig bag or a regular HSC? Did it fit in the overhead bin? What were the discussions like at check-in, security and at the gate? Any extra charges or fees?

My friend recently flew from Ottawa to Edinburgh and he took my RG350 in an old Ibanez prestige style case. Apparently they didn't give him any issues and he walked onto the plane and stuck it in the overhead bin. No extra charges, nothing. If I knew it was going to be that easy I'd have given him my Floral Jem! It was with an american airline, either American Airlines or United Airlines, I'll check with him and update.

Anyway, any airline recommendations and experiences would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your knowledge!

Here's a handy link to a U.S. government bill regarding musical instruments on planes. Look for section 403. Maybe a handy section to print out and take with you next time you're travelling with your loved one...!

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-1...12hr658enr.pdf

Last edited by GoodVaibes; 08-12-2013 at 03:47 PM. Reason: additional link to relevant info
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 01:14 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Smile Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Flying to North Carolina for a few days and wanted to bring my s570b to knock around with for awhile. Luckily my mother works for united airlines so i slipped pass security no problem found a seat on standby (1st class ) and hopped on with it without having to check it and kept it beside me all the way there. oh and to mention it was a United express plane so its 1 lane of chairs on one side of the plane so they seem to be fairly chill with the guitars whether you hold them or put them in the overhead bin.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 05:59 AM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

I went from LA to London and broke down Squier strat and put into suitcase. I will do the same for similarly priced bolt-on electric if I go to Japan such as a regular priced RG or S type. I keep anything more expensive at home and don't see need to travel with it unless it's a permanent move.

We plan to possibly gig in Japan and I may just buy workable guitar there and leave it with relatives. I will only need one but will simplify any gigging issues it with fixed bridge and heavier strings. I won't do Floyd thing with 9s and risk breaking a string.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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Exclamation Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

The standard recommendation is to buy an extra seat for your guitar. I always fly low cost and have my guitar case strapped into the seat next to me.

Years ago I would break down the guitar into body and neck and take it in the suitcase and just check it in. Until a strat came out severely damaged.

regards,

JP
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Quote:
Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
I went from LA to London and broke down Squier strat and put into suitcase. I will do the same for similarly priced bolt-on electric if I go to Japan such as a regular priced RG or S type. I keep anything more expensive at home and don't see need to travel with it unless it's a permanent move.

We plan to possibly gig in Japan and I may just buy workable guitar there and leave it with relatives. I will only need one but will simplify any gigging issues it with fixed bridge and heavier strings. I won't do Floyd thing with 9s and risk breaking a string.
If you do end up here let me know. Hopefully you'll be here on a sunday/monday so I have time off from work
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 11:35 AM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Sometimes they will let you put the guitar in their little staff room area. Be very nice and also give them a bit of cash. Its not a bribe, its a tip.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatiasTolkki View Post
If you do end up here let me know. Hopefully you'll be here on a sunday/monday so I have time off from work
Our band was going to try Japan back in the 2000s, after I had left, but didn't make it. Later on, one member and I hooked up and if we find a bassist, then we may go there.

I will keep you in mind. We are going to travel light and rent or borrow amps and stuff. He's a drummer so he will have to rent it or maybe buy a cheap set and then sell it off. The main thing is to gig over in Japan and we can pretty much get the same basic sound with less expensive gear than our Marshall stacks, Ampegs SVTs, and higher end guitars we use stateside.

I think with small rented PA I can get by with smallish 25w amp and bassist can go direct into the board. For guitar a GRG 170 DX or LTD PS1 would be a perfect workhorse with 10s or 11s on it.

I don't care if we do open mics and small bars or if we even get paid. It's for the experience and it's not something too many American musicians get a chance to do outside of famous performers.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2013, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Alrighty then, here's how it panned out.

I took two guitars, a strat & a tele, to Mexico in two G&L gig bags. The G&L gig bags are the best I've ever come across. I flew with United Airlines. The first trip was Ohio to Houston. On this leg I was able to take the guitar right onto the plane and stuck them both in the overhead bin, no problem. The second leg, Houston to Monterrey, they asked me to check the guitars in at the gate since the flight was rammed. I let them take the guitars since they were not expensive, have already got some dings and it was an experiment to some degree! I caught the loader's eye and asked him if the guitars would make it and he said he would load them last...! In any case, they appeared at my destination and were unharmed. At a push I'm sure I could have just taken the guitars onto the flight and argued the difference.

I then flew L.A. to London with Air New Zealand. I took two guitars onto the flight with me in the G&L gigbags, (a 570 & a 770). They easily fitted into the overhead bin. I also put two more guitars through checked luggage. I packed them in their Ibanez cases (MC100 style), then placed them in a heavy duty keyboard shipping cardboard box which was further packed out with road-case foam, then thoroughly taped up and labelled.

For information purposes, the size limit for a bag, suitcase or 'box' is about 65 linear inches (Length + Width + Depth). My box was 81"! I was expecting to pay a fee for oversize but since it weighed only 20Kg no-one seemed to notice the size issue. Result!

Basically every guitar made it back home without any hint of damage. The only thing that wigged me out was that the box had been opened, the guitar cases taken out, opened and the guitars had been handled by customs on the U.S. side. I know this because they left a customs search notification card inside each guitar case. They also left their fingerprints on the guitars and a tiny amount of Paul Gilbert's signature had been smudged on the PGM. They did repack the box exactly as I had and also taped it back up sufficiently. I only noticed when I went to open the box when I got back home.

Although I 'got away with it' I wouldn't really recommend taking so many guitars at once as it was stressful trying to decide how to pack the guitars, which ones were going on board or in the hold, and the logistics of carrying all of them! However, I had to get them home since we're away to Australasia soon and having ten guitars on tour as a hobby is just ridiculous.

I hope this info becomes handy to someone somewhere down the line. I recommend Air New Zealand for long haul if you have never flown with them before.

Cheers!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

I always put mine in the hold in pro road cases so no damage issues at all,..BUT....if anyone does use the hold you must never ever open your guitar case for an hour or more!
Guitars are below zero in the hold and if you open the cases before they have slowly warmed up,well you wont be playing that guitar on the tour and may damage it for a long time.The timber contracts and it will have an action like a violin or worse crack.
If you know for sure you can use overhead locker then take a softcase and you will be fine,but if not don't risk it because if the cold doesn't mess it up it will almost certainly get crushed by lots of heavy luggage and its just not good.
Its the worst part of touring,getting gear safely on and off planes because they are all different and there are wankers working in the industry whom have nothing better to do than cause you headaches or try and break your fragile gear. We once watched a baggage handler throw my drummers cymbal case onto the floor cracking a number of cymbals,if we were not 2 stories up he would of got the biggest beating of his useless life.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2013, 11:26 PM
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Who were you touring with just out of curiosity?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2013, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

Corey j grieve's note about not opening the guitar case for a while is GREAT ADVICE! It was well over an hour before I opened my 'hold' guitars and they were still very cold. Just handling them created condensation so I re-closed the cases for another few hours. LonePhantom - I'm not sure who you are asking about touring but I tour with a circus. I don't think we'll be in Canberra this time though, sorry man!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 02:52 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Re: Air Travel - What Are Your Experiences Travelling With Guitars

My experience with traveling with guitars has been rather pleasant.

I find guitars to be quiet passengers, they mostly just sit there and enjoy the flight. They're usually most pleasant and I prefer to sit with them, rather than anyone else.
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