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Sister Fullbosom, you sure guttin' that thing - Jim Clarke, Fat Fanny Stomp

Author Topic: Carry-on guitars  (Read 2941 times)

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Offline lindy

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Carry-on guitars
« on: July 01, 2004, 10:38:04 AM »
I know this is an old topic that we discussed a long time ago in pre-Weenie website days, and I always immediately tuned out.  But this is the first time that I won't be hopping in my car and doing the 2-hour drive to Port Townsend from Seattle, so I need some basic advice about how friendly airlines are these days with carry-on guitar cases.  I'd really druther not buy a super whiz-bang case with locks and all just so I can check it in as baggage for one round-trip excursion.  I'd be bringing my metal body guitar, which shouldn't make any difference at all as far as the security checkpoint goes, but these are strange times.  I'm flying Continental.

If you choose to tune out of this thread, don't blame ya.

Lindy
« Last Edit: July 01, 2004, 10:40:12 AM by lindy »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2004, 11:14:41 AM »
Hey Lindy,
Well, first of all, USAir. They are very guitar friendly. And their Airbus jets have large overheads. I've gotten a dred into one, no sweat. I've also taken a brass Style O thru security checks, without a hitch, several times. I always see other guitarists carrying on, so the word is out. But I think I've heard good things about Continental over on the IGS Forum (also in Seattle). BTW, I always board when they ask for people with special boarding needs, and I've never been questioned. I'd just tell them that I need to be sure to get my vintage baby in the compartment over my seat if asked. Also, there is a new, relatively inexpensive ($160) flight case called The Clam. Looks very cool, I'm thinking of getting one so's I can take two guitars on my frequent trips back east (Really miss my 12 string). And finally, it's now verboten to lock checked luggage. If they question anything after x-raying, they will bust the lock.
Lookin' forward to seein' you again.
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2004, 11:18:41 AM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline lindy

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2004, 12:55:21 PM »

Waxwing--

Well, can't be any more simple than that.  Don't know why I thought it'd be more complicated, guess I heard 1 or 2 stories of bad experiences that stuck in the back of my brain.  Much obliged for the info.

Gonna spend the weekend in Avalon, tell y'all about it next week.

Lindy

Offline waxwing

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2004, 01:36:22 PM »
Right, The John Hurt Memorial. Neil Harpe had a conflict and couldn't make it this year. Sounds like a lot of fun people show up and most everybody gets to play if they want to. Take your guitar.
One other thing about flying: It seems, in spite of my attempts to avoid the news media, that "security levels" are being raised recently, which may cause you some trouble. Don't carry anything else in your guitar case, especially strings (garrote?), and I'm always prepared to tell them I'll take the strings off and leave them behind if need be. Probably around PT time the security focus will be more on the Olympics, but as the election draws near you can expect the powers that be to create as much feeling of insecurity as possible. Saw a great cartoon, probably in the New Yorker (I just read the cartoons): two hillbillies sittin' on the porch of a cabin on a hill top surrounded by huge cement barriers. One says to the other, "Well, looks like them anti- terrorist devises are workin'."
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline jed

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2004, 02:49:39 PM »
Lindy, you might want to bring a guitar for Steve Cheseborough when you see him there.  Someone swiped his Beltona from his Greenwood domicile last Saturday night, and he's scouring pawn shops Delta-wide in an effort to get someone to contact him when (and if) they receive it.

My flying experience has been checkered as to where the guitar has gone (up or down), but good on safety (tho' one case did give its life protecting my "hand-carried" M3 a couple of years ago).

I'm very fond of insurance, as the airlines don't cover your guitar.  I've heard bad stories too, but I've been lucky so far.

John, did that huge guitar have a hard case when you threw it up there?  There seems to be plenty of room aloft for small/medium guitars - this would include a normal National hard case.

Taking strings off - boy!  Looks like I'll wait until Pre-Soak to restring.

Cheers,
Jed
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Offline waxwing

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2004, 03:46:31 PM »
12 fret dred (D-18S) but, yup, full size hard case. The Airbus 321 has huge overheads. the 320's are not quite as big, but I have no problem with my '30 Style O in original case, which I've been traveling with lately, either way. Re: removing strings, I did hear from a friend that his son was forced to check a guitar while traveling to Europe and the reason they gave was that the strings could be used as a weapon. The cheap (fortunately) guitar in a cardboard case was crushed in transit. That's why I'm ready to say, "well, heck, I'll just take the strings off." if I'm ever presented with the same scenario. That said, I've sent that same D-18S through as luggage in a slightly arched hardshell case many times in the last 30 years with no repurcussions outside of hours of worry on the plane. Recently, when I have wanted to bring a second guitar, I have padded the guitar (usually my somewhat indestructable Style O) in it's case, especially around the neck and headstock, and then packed the case in a Taylor guitar box (which seem to be the standard for shipping guitars - I've got 3 of them) with lots of bubble wrap. Again, nothing else in the case so they won't have any guestions after x-raying and want to unpack it. But you're right, Jed, I'm glad I've got all my guitars itemized on my renter's insurance. I feel pretty secure when flying USAir that I'll have no problems carrying on, but if anyone is feeling unsure, it's a good idea to call the airline and verify their policy and also to get a copy of the now infamous letter between the FAA and the head of a musician's union. You can probably find it if you search the IGS Forum for "air travel"? or something like that.
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2004, 05:43:55 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Slack

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2004, 04:05:36 PM »
I've had good luck checking guitars (it's all I do anymore).  Hard shell case, lose strings, headstock packed in news print, latches taped shut.  Your guitar is not covered if damaged, but airlines will cover it if lost.

cheers,
slack

Offline jed

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Re: Carry-on guitars
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2004, 10:23:57 AM »
Waxy et el,

Don't bother with the A.F.of M. letter - last time I checked, it had been challenged by the airlines, or FAA or whoever, who prevailed in their point that it is up to their discretion at flight-time to make whatever decision they damn well please.  The Way it Is.

That said, I've been lucky for years.  Going to PT, I've always had two guitars, and had to check my National - packed the way Frank Ford says on his website (which is pretty much what Slack says here).  I keep it unlocked for potential inspection, choosing to secure it with a leather belt (from my high school days - might as well use it for something).  The belt kept the case from flying open the year before last, when the luggage handlers found a way to break the top seam during their "Handle With Care" routine.

Yes, I've heard that packing your guitar inside the case and all inside a guitar box is good when checking it.  More work, but good insurance.

Cheers,
Jed
ok then:  http://jed.net

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