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Re: Carrying instruments on airplanes - this is cool and very relevant!

Yea Kris, I try to drive when I can but it's not always possible.  
When will they build a bridge to Europe and Asia? 
Insurance is a must.  musicproinsurance.com is good for USA.  Socan.ca for Canada.
I had a 1920 Larson Brothers Maurer and beautiful highly figured brazilian rosewood Martin D35 kaboshed in Puerto Rica (75).  Had an ugly valuable vintage guitar lost in Oakland Airport for an hour, finally showed up in the middle of nowhere, safe in Anvil case.  In Oakland! 

I have a Jetta wagon.  Diesel.  Runs great on pure biodiesel when I can get it (Calif, Wash, OR).  Almost 50mpg.  They say they can go 300-400K miles if well maintained.  We'll see.  I'm at about 150K now!

I love driving.  Environmentally bad, but it's my traveling monastery - peace and quiet.  I chucked my cell phones a few years back just so I could enjoy the rolling monastery in peace.  

Good cases are important.  I haven't had anything broken (knock on wood) since getting good cases.  I did have a flight case ruined by baggage savages leaving it out in the rain too long.  The 50 year old amp was okay, though. 

Still, I like the idea of hand carrying hardbody electrics etc.   It's a start.

On Sep 24, 2010, at 10:41 PM, Kris Hartung wrote:

I am through with the BS. I have a $6K jazz archtop guitar, and there is no way any airline is going to have space for this in an overhead or in their private closets. And I am not checking it in or paying for a seat for it....I defer to the YouTube video, United Breaks Guitars. :)   I am driving to San Franciso and Santa Cruz for Y2K, and to Seattle and Portland for other gigs.   I may have to by a Prius to afford the travel, but oh well.

----- Original Message -----

I'm forwarding this.  It's important!  I don't think you have to be a union member to vote.

Dear Musician,

If you travel on airplanes, you know the hassle of bringing an instrument. Some airlines are fine with you bringing an instrument, some aren't. Some will accommodate you on alternate Tuesdays following Ground Hog's day providing you're wearing their secret decoder ring, and some will accommodate you if the flight attendant is in a good mood. And some airlines that weren't a problem last month will demand you check your guitar the next time you fly.

There's also the gig bag/hardshell case issue. If your guitar's in a gig bag, airlines are more likely to let you put it in the overhead compartment. But if they refuse to do that and you have to check it, don't expect your axe to be in one piece when you get off the plane. You can check the hardshell case, but bringing your guitar in a hardshell case probably eliminates any chance of storing it in the overhead—if the airlines indeed allow that.

Well, help may be on the way. The American Federation of Musicians has taken up the cause of musicians who fly to gigs, and Congress is debating a bill that would specify consistent guidelines for carry-on instruments. According to the AFM: "If this bill passes, musicians will be able to carry most musical instruments onboard and place them in the overhead compartment or in a seat (if a ticket is purchased)." This is your chance to make your voice heard. Here's a link for signing the petition:


Until this (hopefully) becomes law, call ahead to the airline and ask for their policy regarding carrying instruments on planes. If possible, get this emailed or faxed to you so you have written backup should a flight attendant balk. If the airline can guarantee that using a gig bag will let you place it in the overhead, fine. Otherwise, you might need to pursue the hardshell case/checked baggage route. But, note that the case that came with your guitar might not be the best possible option. Case companies like SKB make guitar cases that look like they could survive a small thermonuclear explosion, and while they're not cheap, they're cheaper than replacing a vintage guitar.

Sign the petition!