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Flying with instruments - my guide

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None from the Liverpool end, put it on the scales with my back pack and off it went.

Schipol, I had to take it to a seperate booth because it was an irregular size but on either journey there were no excess charges.

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I've recently taken my Roscoe LG3500 with me over 2 short haul flights (Manchester to Heathrow,with BMI)
and 2 Transatlantic flights (Heathrow to LAX,with Virgin). I turned up with my gigbag slung over my shoulder,
and had absolutely no problems at all.On 3 of the flights my Bass went into the overhead locker,and on the
other the stewardess asked if I would like to be kept in the first class closet.
I've had people question me at the check in desk on previous occasions,but this time there was no hassle
whatsoever.

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Manchester to Heathrow? Ten minutes in the air ? (just wondering ?)

Edited by daz

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My experience was very positive....

Flying Finn Air to Helsinki and back, brought my bass to Heathrow in a proper flightcase. Asked to gate-check the bass and see whether the cabin crew would let me take it into the cabin. IT IS THE CABIN CREW'S DECISION!!!!!!!! Not a decision made by a check-in clerk.
On the outward journey, both the guitarist and I were told the flight was not busy and we might stand a chance. We therefore had our flight cases tagged and proceeded to the the gate. The cabin crew didn't bat an eyelid and let me stow it in the overhead locker above my seat. (FYI... Bass flight case fits easily into overhead locker of Airbus A320!)

On the way back we were told that the flight was full, and that it was highly unlikely... Check-in clerk told us we could try our luck, but that she could not guarantee success. We made sure we were near the front of the gate queue, where we were greeted with, "ah, you must be the guitarists, you will need to ask the cabin crew..."

At this point two things seemed to help...

1) The guitarist with a short case went first.
2) We both wore ridiculous pouting smiles.

We walked aboard and we asked to leave our cases in the galley area where you enter a plane, and went to find our places. On exiting the plane we found our flight cases had been easily stored in a large locker area.

The fact I had a decent flight case reassured me that even if they refused it access onto the plane, it was going to be safe. They would take it from me as I entered the plane and return it as I left the plane, just like a pushchair.

One man's experience of flying with his prize possession with Finn Air...I'll do it exactly the same way next time!

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[quote name='Doddy' timestamp='1329916143' post='1549591']
I've recently taken my Roscoe LG3500 with me over 2 short haul flights (Manchester to Heathrow,with BMI)
and 2 Transatlantic flights (Heathrow to LAX,with Virgin). I turned up with my gigbag slung over my shoulder,
and had absolutely no problems at all.On 3 of the flights my Bass went into the overhead locker,and on the
other the stewardess asked if I would like to be kept in the first class closet.
I've had people question me at the check in desk on previous occasions,but this time there was no hassle
whatsoever.
[/quote]

Out of interest Doddy, what gig bag were using?

I've got some flights later this year and i'm unsure as to whether they'll let me take my mono case on board.

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[quote name='JakeBrownBass' timestamp='1330004798' post='1551230']


Out of interest Doddy, what gig bag were using?

I've got some flights later this year and i'm unsure as to whether they'll let me take my mono case on board.
[/quote]
I used my iGig case. Although I've also flown with a Protection Racket gigbag too.

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[quote name='Doddy' timestamp='1329916143' post='1549591']
I've recently taken my Roscoe LG3500 with me over 2 short haul flights (Manchester to Heathrow,with BMI)
and 2 Transatlantic flights (Heathrow to LAX,with Virgin). I turned up with my gigbag slung over my shoulder,
and had absolutely no problems at all.On 3 of the flights my Bass went into the overhead locker,and on the
other the stewardess asked if I would like to be kept in the first class closet.
I've had people question me at the check in desk on previous occasions,but this time there was no hassle
whatsoever.
[/quote]

And what would have done if they'd insisted that the bass couldn't go with you into the cabin?

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1330007481' post='1551317']
And what would have done if they'd insisted that the bass couldn't go with you into the cabin?
[/quote]

I'd have crossed that bridge when I came to it.
But on the many occasions I've flown with my Bass,it's only been an issue when other band members have
made a fuss about it by going up to the desk and saying stuff like "we've got guitars..blah,blah,blah". When I've
approached the desk confidently and said nothing,it's never been a problem.

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[quote name='Doddy' timestamp='1330014973' post='1551489']
I'd have crossed that bridge when I came to it.
But on the many occasions I've flown with my Bass,it's only been an issue when other band members have
made a fuss about it by going up to the desk and saying stuff like "we've got guitars..blah,blah,blah". When I've
approached the desk confidently and said nothing,it's never been a problem.
[/quote]

You've been lucky then. IME the final call on whether you can take your instrument into the cabin with you is down to the cabin crew and it only takes for them to have had a bad day or bad experience with another musician recently to make your life miserable.

Would you have risked checking your bass at the gate and hoping for the best, or would you have decided not to fly, because when it comes down to it, those are the only options.

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I'd have to gate check it,but like I said,it's never been an issue..especially with the cabin crew-Smile and
by friendly and you'll be fine. Whenever I've known anyone to have problems it's always been at the check in desk
and never with the cabin crew.The only time the cabin crew have mentioned my bass is when they've asked if I would
like it stored in the first class locker.

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TBH I've only flown once in recent times with a guitar in a gig bag and on that occasion I was flying business class and arrived so late at the check in that doing anything other than letter me take the guitar on the plane with me would have simply been too much hassle.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1330016124' post='1551509']
You've been lucky then.[/quote]

For more then just being able to take it in the cabin. I know plenty of people that have taken guitars into the cabin on transatlantic flights and been held for 8-12 hours in customs before finally being let into the country. I'd hate that to happen. Even if I didn't have anything to hide.

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I was once allowed to check in my bass as hand luggage (it was in a gig bag) only to be told when boarding it would have to go in the hold. One smashed bass on arrival. I'm due to play in the States next month so I think I'll be using a hard case.

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[b][font=comic sans ms, cursive][size=4][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=1][size=5][size=3][i][font=courier new, courier, monospace][size=4]Off to Sweden rocks on thursday, some good advice here [/size][/font][/i][/size][/size][/size][/font][/size][/font][/b]

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Anyone else received this link to a petition from Bass Gear on Twitter about flying with instruments? Been going on for a few weeks, by the look of it. I signed it (The most relevant info appears [i]after[/i] you sign).

[url="http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/news-events/2012/06/12/musical-instruments-on-planes-sign-the-petition-now/"]http://www.musicians...e-petition-now/[/url]

Edited by bluejay

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Great advice!

I fly with my guitar ALOT.

Firstly, I can't recommend Hiscox cases enough. They're absolutely killer cases and Pete and the guys are really nice people and can't help you enough.


Here are a few things I'd recommend.

1. Ask to gate check the guitar when you're checking in - basically take your guitar through security then have it checked in at the gate which means it will be first on and last off for sure, and you've witnessed all of it's security checks.

2. Before gate checking the guitar simply ask if you can take it on the plane. This is at their discretion so just ask someone who looks nice and be real nice to them. I've NEVER had someone say no. If the planes full they have always walked me through to first class where I've put it in one of their wardrobes/cloakrooms. This is with various airlines.

3. Oversized luggage at Heathrow are complete and utter arrogant idiots. Would recommend taking it to them as a last resort and gate check is a better option.

4. Fragile stickers don't make a difference other than peace of mind. Get a good case made for the shape of your bass.


Hope this helps anyone flying! Buying a seat is also a great option but I'm way too tight for that! :-)

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Great advice. Clever guy!

I once took an acoustic in its case as oversized luggage, but I was really nervous as I thought it would end up as matchwood. It was ok though just damage to the case.

The tip about booking an extra seat is a good idea, certainly for peace of mind.

Cheers

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I'm just going to add another update on this. I recently flew from Manchester to Miami (via Atlanta)
with Delta,and once again I had no problems taking my bass on the plane and putting it in the over
head storage.

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Hey Guys,

I've just picked up a bass for a stupid price in California, I'm wondering if taking it on board in just a gig bag will be ok and if I won't get stung with import duty when I get back in to Heathrow.

I'll be flying with Virgin if that helps.

Thanks,

Josh.

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If you are allowed to take the bass into the cabin, then a gig bag will be fine. Ask the cabin crew to put it in the business class suit lockers rather than the standard overhead ones.

However the ultimate decision on whether you can or not rests with the check-in/gate/cabin crew on the day and no matter what the airline may tell you in advance their decision is final. It will help if you look smart and are travelling business class or better. Ultimately it's up to you whether you are going to get a proper case and put it in the hold or take a risk with a gig bag. The question you need to ask yourself is what are you going to do if you aren't allowed to take the bass into the cabin?

As for what to do at the other end. Technically you should declare it. Make sure you have the receipt accessible to prove that you only paid a "stupid price". Just bear in mind that customs have to power to confiscate undeclared goods. Again your choice.

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