General Question

ShipwrecksInSand's avatar

Am I allowed to bring a guitar onto a flight?

Asked by ShipwrecksInSand (175points) June 11th, 2011
9 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

It’s an acoustic with a soft case. I am flying from Alaska to Chicago.

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snowberry's avatar

I don’t know, but you can always ask the airline. I do know a musician who purchases a seat for his cello when he flies to do a concert (he even straps it in place. This is because he does not want the baggage handlers to get their hands on it. If your guitar is that valuable and you have no other option, buy the extra seat for your guitar.

Of course, the other option is to purchase a hard case (airline worthy) and insure it to the hilt. Make sure you have either a current appraisal or a receipt showing how much it’s worth, and send it as baggage. If it is damaged and you don’t have a receipt, the insurance company will laugh at you when you try to collect.

bubba3778's avatar

I’m pretty sure you can, but you’ll probably have to check it in because it would take up too much room in the overhead bins. Also, I strongly suggest getting a hard case because the people that move luggage in and out of the plane aren’t very careful. An alternative would be mailing it to Chicago, but that’s most likely going to be pretty expensive.

snowberry's avatar

Regardless of if you are able to take it on the plane with you, stick it in with baggage, or mail it, if your guitar is of any value at all, get a hard case -a really good one.

Ladymia69's avatar

YES. My husband has done it numerous times. Make sure it is in a securely-shutting guitar case, and as you are boarding the plane, ask the attendant to check it as a carry-on. (We already had 1 bag of carry-on each, so we were afraid that the guitar would be over the carry-on limit – but our attendant checked it as carry-on, and explained that it would be stored with the luggage. So we got it right back each time we disembarked a plane, we just picked it up on the rack right outside the plane.) Of course, it will be stowed with the cargo.

Edit: Just read that you had a soft case. That should be alright, but if you are super-protective of your guitar, I would see if you could maybe borrow a hard, sturdy case from a friend to use on the flight.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have seen people do this. Can’t remember seeing anyone do it recently though.

jaytkay's avatar

I would not do it with a soft case. I’ve checked my guitar as luggage many times without problems, but in a heavy, sturdy hard case.

I would either buy or borrow a solid, fitted hard case (not the thin-wall kind), or buy or borrow guitar in Chicago. The Different Strummer shop at The Old Town School of Folk Music is one option.

Their site says call or email regarding non-student guitar rental rates.

geeky_mama's avatar

I fly frequently for business. I often see musicians carry on musical instruments (guitars, violins, others). However, if you are not a frequent flier and you are in a later boarding zone the odds are that the overhead bins (where you’re hoping to stow your carry-on instrument) will be full.

Now that airlines have instituted fees for checked bags almost every flight I get on has totally full luggage bins before the boarding process is even two-thirds complete. Everyone left waiting to board has their carry-on item gate-checked. So, if your guitar is not in a safe hard case it’s very likely to get damaged as it gets placed in the luggage hold.
I strongly agree with the advice of the other posters—esp. @jaytkay.
You can’t count on getting to carry on your guitar safely unless you’re in first class or have some special priority to board first. Best bet: rent, borrow or buy a good hard case to bring your guitar with you.

JLeslie's avatar

If planes still allow you to carry on an instrument so large, and you are flying coach, some airlines have the option to pay an extra few dollars to board in the first group of passengers. Usually aroung $10. Remember if it is a short flught and you are one a small plane it may not fit, even if they technically allow it as carry on. Sometimes Inhave to check my bag down at the gate for my first leg to Chicago for instance, and then can carry on for the next leg to NY.

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