Guitar on a plane

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by cranky, Jun 23, 2021.

  1. Jerry Hatrick

    Jerry Hatrick Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    74
    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2021
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    Interesting problem and one I’ve faced many times travelling around the world over the past 40 odd years. My experience has been that it depends 99.9% on the single person accepting your luggage plus which class of seat you have purchased.
    I live in Australia, so going anywhere else is always a long haul flight. I’ve lost count of the many ‘round the world flights’ I’ve done but I must say I’ve been treated very well by most airlines. United can be ‘iffy” at best as this company appears to choose its crews from flight attendants who’s demeanour can be very unpredictable. You need to exercise some keen skills of persuasion. Having said that I’ve nearly always managed to get my guitar on board. My guitar usually being a Strat or a Tele which can usually fit in a large aircraft overhead. I’ve flown with an acoustic but in a flight case and in with the luggage. I once travelled with a young Japanese guy who had a cello with him. He bought it a seat and it sat next to him all the way from London via Singapore to Sydney. Very expensive!
    I once purchased a new George Harrison Gretsch Country Gent from a shop in Chicago who shipped it to a friends house in LA where I was staying. I was travelling back to Sydney on QANTAS business class. I checked my suitcase in, but took my backpack and the guitar onto the aircraft and was greeted at the door by a very tall lady of colour who asked me what I had in the case. I told her it was a George Harrison guitar. She immediately smiled, turned to a male flight attendant and said very seriously “Hey! This is Mr **** and he has George Harrison in his case. Please look after them both”
    Well “George Harrison” was very gently placed into the suit locker opposite my seat and we travelled together very comfortably and we’re very well looked after all the way back home to Australia. He still resides comfortably in my music room.
    I really wish you well, but even if you phone ahead and get the OK from the airline, I doubt you’ll get it in writing and you will almost certainly be at the mercy of that single person at the aircraft door. Good luck with the United Airlines flight crew. Just remember to smile, be very friendly and nice. It might just work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2021
  2. Likewood

    Likewood Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    ———-
    Hi
    I have traveled to Bahamas, Jamaica, Florida etc several times from US with a Taylor GS Mini with it as carry on. It is a small guitar in a soft case. It fits easily in overhead. I *always* got a ticket that allowed me early entry to have early access to overhead. This was important. I also travelled with someone so it helped to share her overhead space. I also said please and thank you a lot with pleasant smiles

    Only a few times was staff dismissive or wanted to convince me to check it in at plane side but I politely insisted that it would be ok in overhead.

    I don’t have any experience with a full size guitar or checking it in luggage..I also flew large planes with adequate overhead.
     
  3. Doc538

    Doc538 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    68
    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Ma
    If you really love this acoustic then leave it at home and pick up a new one when you get where ever your going OR sign up to be the in flight entertainment :)
     
    cranky likes this.
  4. strat1339

    strat1339 Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I am now in quarantine in Hong Kong, 7 days done, 7 to go. I also use this method with my EJ Strat. I take the neck off. carry that in a hard tube and put the body in the gig bag, with the neck part folded back inside the chest straps. Yamaha THR10c packed inside clothes and checked in the hold along with screw driver to assemble in the hotel and spare strings etc. I also used this method last Oct when I made the same trip from the UK to Hong Kong and it works a charm on Cathay Pacific. Actually the planes are so empty now I am tempted to take it back in August fully assembled and I am certain that in these times I would get it on easily, but the neck off method is foolproof. I know some don't like to remove the neck, but if you are willing to do that it seems to be a good method. Cathay also have a LWH calculation and my PRS gig bag just exceeds the limit.
     
  5. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle
    If you don't have a plastic hard shell case, just dump the guitar straight in a dumpster to avoid the heartache.
    Also, the cargo hold can get exceptionally hot while the aircraft is on the ground in the summer and can get freezing cold in the air, so the advice to loosen the strings is very good advice.
     
  6. ScottB2112

    ScottB2112 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Location:
    Pasadena, MD USA
    I would pack it in the hardshell case - filling any space that allows the guitar to shift with some rolled-up socks and t-shirts. Pack it in a triple-wall guitar box, surrounded by lots of bubble wrap. Drive to the largest west-coast city with huge UPS terminals - LA, SF, SD, Seattle - and ship it from there, UPS Next Day Air.
     
  7. Serf Ryder

    Serf Ryder Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    63
    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Location:
    Directly over the center of the earth. (Rome, Ga.)