A Survey - survival rate of guitars in gig bags placed in an airplane's cargo hold



  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 426
    I was afraid to travel with my guitar, as you are, so I bought a hard, flycase (just in case they would ask me to put the guitar in the classic hold). But fortunately it was useless. I had two different planes a small one and a transatlantic flight (big), both were Delta-AirFrance-KLM. In the first one, initially they ask me to board first and to put it by myself in a special part of the hold (and I would have taken it back by myself after landing). But the pilot was a guitarist too, so he asked the flight attendant to find a place in their personal cabinet to put my guitar!
    And on the second flight (really huge plane 3 seats on each side + 4 seats in the middle part), they had special cabinets (between Economy and Premium class) for instruments, sport stuff etc.) so my guitar was always in sight and I was the only person to touch it.
  • In the years I was flying with guitars I used a moulded plastics hard shell case that was pretty crush resistant and gate checked it. There were a few stories from that but fortunately no damage to guitar. If you are travelling a lot for playing get a case like Martin Taylor's or a Karua CF one.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    A Hiscox case is a budget version of a flight case that works very well. Their Pro II and Artist line are very very good and will save you grief in the long run.
  • I flew Delta once and they wouldn't even let me gate check it. When I got it back there was a black score mark where a side roller from the conveyor belt had actually eaten into the plastic.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    You find that when you transport under the plane that the flight case earns its keep. I was repairing the exterior of the case often but never the guitar , so thats winning , yeah ?
  • Sort of
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    I bought a Taylor hard gig bag for flying. That way, it not only fits easily in the overhead, but if by chance they make me check it, it is pretty safe.
    And then I pack a softer, lighter gig bag in my suitcase for carrying it around DIJ.
  • reprobatemindreprobatemind Texas
    Posts: 2
    Somewhat tangentially related: I know there have been numerous posts in the past about the 2012 legislation that mandated people be allowed to store musical instruments in the overhead bin on US Airlines (including int'l flights) if the instrument fits and there is room at the time you board the flight.

    What I don't think most people know is that administrative rules (even though passed by congress) only go into effect 60 days after they are promulgated in the Federal Register. For some reason, USDOT took forever to issue the rule on instruments and only recently promulgated it in the Federal Register on January 5, 2015. So it has only been in effect for a few months and any airlines that observed the rule prior to that only did so voluntarily. However, it's not discretionary anymore so it may be worth printing out and sticking in your guitar case.

    The final, published rule is here: instruments_FR_final rule.pdf and some FAQs are here:

    See you all at Django in June!
    pickitjohnbohemewarblerBucoBob HoloNejc
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
    Posts: 243
    I had an interesting experience on the way home from my trip to Samois on Canada Air that's worth noting for those concerned about taking their guitars as a carry-on.

    It has been pointed out on this forum that hard cases are almost never accepted as carry-ons, and the cargo hold does not have a good reputation with guitars unless one has it in a "flight case," which is not good for lugging around on one's back! So after reading the insightful posts on this thread about traveling by air with a guitar, I decided that the best strategy for me (who would be lugging the guitar on my back on occasion in my travels) is to travel with a secondary "traveling" guitar stored in a gig bag, allowing it to be accepted as a "carry on" without hassle.

    Thus, armed with this knowledge, I purchased the Boulder Alpine CB-360 gig bag from Michael. I measured the outer dimensions at 17W x 43L.

    But my guitar traveling arrangements changed dramatically. While at Samois I found myself with a new guitar, including a gig bag of thicker padding (19"x45"). My wife was nice enough to take it upon herself to travel back home with the additional guitar as her carry-on, and would place her carry-on bag in the cargo hold when the time came.

    After crossing the Atlantic, we had a transfer in Toronto, which meant a much smaller plane, an Air Canada E-75: two seats on each side of the plane. Anxiety rose when I realized that the upper storage compartments were obviously smaller than expected. Luckily, the width of my Boulder gig bag was just able to fit in the carry-on compartment; however, the new guitar in its more padded bag could not! Seeing this, the attendant said that the gig bag would need to go in the cargo hold. Of course, that would not do! With my powers of persuasion and a good deal of earnestness, I was able to convince the attendant that the guitar would not survive in the cargo hold. She told me the rules that would have allowed her to send my guitar to the cargo, but she nonetheless found space for it in one of the vertical business class compartments at the front of the plane. This required her to rearrange some items at some inconvenience, and both guitars made it home safely above board.

    Here is my takeaway: if you plan on traveling by airplane, and you don't want to have your guitar stored in the cargo hold, and you anticipate traveling with a guitar on your back in your travels, get a gig bag no wider than the Boulder gig bag (17" W). Airlines can change planes on you without notice and put you on a smaller than expected plane, and I don't think the E-75 is all that unusual in its compartment space as far as regional flights go. Although I would prefer more padding than the Boulder gig bag offers, I believe that as long as you treat your guitar and bag responsibly, your guitar should be able to travel along with you in the carry-on compartments without incident or hassle. A decent, but less expensive, "traveling" guitar can provide even more peace of mind.
  • edited July 2015 Posts: 4,708
    @bohemewarbler now what I wanna know is what did you bring home with you?
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2024, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2024 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.046633 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.653351 Megabytes