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New law orders airlines to let you carry on your musical instrument


jt

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Most airline I have flown on internationally and domestic, allow a guitar to be carried on in a soft case and put in overhead lockers.... not hard cases though !!!! Would not like to travel with my HB in a soft case, or put it in hold in the gibson case. Been looking at true carbon fiber bespoke cases.. very nice.. but very expensive $1200 odd.

 

Its good to hear the U.S at least is making an effort to help musicians travel.

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JT - Is it really going to be 2014 before this takes effect? Or sooner.

 

Paul,

 

Well, you asked. :) The law goes into effect after the FAA promulgates the implementing regulations and the FAA has 2 years to do that. But, the FAA could do that next month. The Administrative Procedure Act mandates that a federal agency post proposed rules and allow public comment, typically from about 30 to 180 days, with most landing around 60 or 90 days (the agency has discretion in this area). Then, the agency thinks about the comments for a month or so and produces the final rule. At minimum, this is gonna take 6 months in this case. Maximum is 24 months. So, I'm guessing the midway point, or about a year.

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JT - Is it really going to be 2014 before this takes effect? Or sooner.

I'm surprised the airlines are going along. I frequently carry a little Martin backpacker aboard in a gig bag without problems, and am upgrading that to a Composite Accoustics carbon fiber guitar, which is quite a bit larger. Even with the backpacker, people try to cram bags on top of it, so I have to protect it like a mother hen until the bins are closed.

 

There are some overhead bins that are long enough to accommodate a full-size guitar in a hard case, but you would be taking up a huge amount of space, which is going to make flight attendants and other passengers unhappy. A gig bag would be too risky with a good guitar.

 

With the imposition of checked bag fees on many airlines, overhead space is at a premium. I worry less about it when I fly first class, as they tend to indulge you a bit more. But since I'm usually doing that on a standby upgrade basis, there's no guarantee you'll get it.

 

I just don't risk travel with a good guitar, unless you can keep it in your possession. Even with a proper case, all it takes is one baggage handler tossing your guitar onto the baggage cart--and missing--and your guitar is firewood. Don't think it can't happen. I'm sure you've seen the videos taken of couriers and post office personnel tossing crated TV's (clearly identified as such) over fences at homes, rather than bothering to take them to the front door.

 

The best scenario is that you're going to show up with a full-sized guitar, and they'll stick it in the coat locker right inside the aircraft door where you board. Even that would take up a lot of space, so you'll need to be on the friendliest terms with the FA's.

 

Air travel is still luck of the draw with a guitar.

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am upgrading that to a Composite Accoustics carbon fiber guitar

 

Nick,

 

As you know, this is what I've done. Doing so eliminated all of my flying-with-a-guitar anxiety. I still take it on board when I can, but don't worry if someone smashes a carry-on on top of it. And, if I have to gate check it, I don't care. Not only is the thing virtually indestructible and immune to the impact of temperature and humidity changes, but it arrives in tune where ever I go.

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Nick,

 

As you know, this is what I've done. Doing so eliminated all of my flying-with-a-guitar anxiety. I still take it on board when I can, but don't worry if someone smashes a carry-on on top of it. And, if I have to gate check it, I don't care. Not only is the thing virtually indestructible and immune to the impact of temperature and humidity changes, but it arrives in tune where ever I go.

 

I'd really like a composite carbon case, seems they would be fine in the hold, even with luggage handlers dropping them.

Here's a clip of one brand,,, kind of amusing in parts

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiJ-UGLkVY8

 

just so expensive though

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I'd really like a composite carbon case, seems they would be fine in the hold, even with luggage handlers dropping them.

Here's a clip of one brand,,, kind of amusing in parts

 

just so expensive though

 

It's the shock loading an the guitar I worry about, and I'm not sure that any case--no matter how tough the shell--can really protect against that. The other problemn, of course, is that the temperature changes in the baggage hold must be pretty extreme in some cases. I don't know if that part of the aircraft is heated or not. I've had some awfully cold bags come out of airplanes.

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It's the shock loading an the guitar I worry about, and I'm not sure that any case--no matter how tough the shell--can really protect against that. The other problemn, of course, is that the temperature changes in the baggage hold must be pretty extreme in some cases. I don't know if that part of the aircraft is heated or not. I've had some awfully cold bags come out of airplanes.

 

Nick, I agree, although a Calton or Hoffee will provide sufficient protection against temperature changes that you need not worry. Still, a carbon guitar is s liberating. For a few hundred dollars you get a decent sounding, great playing, indestructible gutar. I've got a gig tomorrwow night in a club where I'm known for playing interesting vintage guitars. But, I'm gonna take my CA OX ( OM size) because I don't worry about it and it's got good electronics, which make playing a noisy club so much easier than mic- ing a vintage guitar.

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It's the shock loading an the guitar I worry about, and I'm not sure that any case--no matter how tough the shell--can really protect against that. The other problemn, of course, is that the temperature changes in the baggage hold must be pretty extreme in some cases. I don't know if that part of the aircraft is heated or not. I've had some awfully cold bags come out of airplanes.

 

Yes, shock loading and temperature would be my main concerns also. This is a subject I have spent some time thinking about and doing a little research, The cases I have been looking at claim protection from temperature and shock loading, incorporating some kind of shock sytem in the design of the cases, Rigorous testing by dropping the cases for heights of two meters are claimed... so.

If I think of classical musicians I have seen flying they usually seem to have the carbon fiber cases and your not going to get a cello in the cabin of an aircraft. Being that professional classical instruments will usually cost a lot more than a high end guitar, I would assume these cases must give the required protection.

 

I would still pack the head stock/ neck area of the case with newspaper as frets.com advises on shipping or flying with guitars. I would feel about as confidant as possible with a guitar in such a case packed this way.

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