We’ve all been told to travel with our most valued possessions in our carry-ons, but what happens if that most valued possession is deemed too big to fit on board?
When Dave Schneider tried to bring his 1965 Gibson ES-335 onto his Delta flight from Buffalo to Detroit, he was told he’d have to check the vintage treasure, despite having travelled with the guitar on many flights before. Schneider protested and did everything he could to avoid the baggage claim, even offering to buy the guitar its own seat. But no such luck.
Upon arrival, the guitar got jammed between a loading dock rail and a service elevator and an hour of dislodging resulted in $1,980 worth of damage. And as these things tend to go, Delta agreed to look into the matter only after Schneider went public with it.
So for all those musicians out there hoping to keep the tools of their trade safe and sound, it’s good to know the best ways to travel with musical instruments.
How to fly with musical instruments
Since every airline has its own policy regarding instruments, printing out a copy of your carrier’s rules and bringing it with you through check-in, security, and the gate will help avoid any inconsistent info you might get along the way. .
Instruments that should fit onboard may be oddly shaped and consequently questioned by flight attendants. Bringing your own measuring tape is a way to prove that the case fits the airline’s carry-on linear requirements.
Carrying an instrument in a soft case is a way to reduce size and fit it into overhead storage, but doing might run you the risk of damage if you’re required to check it to your final destination.
Those instruments that are too big to fit on board will have to be checked, and they will count towards baggage allowance. Make sure they’re packed safely in a hard container and be prepared to pay a bit extra if necessary.
Loosen stringed instruments as temperature and pressure changes have been known to crack or snap off the headstock and most airlines won’t be held liable for instruments that aren’t adequately prepared for travel.
Being prepared and knowing the rules will surely make for a harmonious journey.