Flying with Double Bass Internationally? or Freighting?
Hello all.. I haven't flown with my upright for around 6 years and due to some unfortunate relationship problems I am returning to my country of origin. I'll need to fly from Toronto to New Zealand and I'm quite stressed about the idea of flying with my bass this time, as I know how hard they've made it to travel with extra pieces of luggage let alone a monster of an instrument. I have 3/4 size in hard case weighing in @ 32kgs or 70 pounds. Has anyone freighted before? or is it better to turn up and pay the fee. Would love to hear something from anyone thats travelled internationally recently as I couldn't find any good info in the previous posts. Cheers
shouldn´t be a problem. If it is under 40kg totally no problemo.
check here for more detailed info: http://www.isbworldoffice.com/flying-with-your-bass.asp
Depending on how much other luggage you are traveling with I might just show up and pay the fee up front.
Freighting? Do you mean shipping seperately? This could entail lots of paperwork ( fees, etc) for importing it into NZ if it does not travel as your personal luggage.
Cheers G-Force. Yeah, thats what I thought. Just called the airlines and they said exactly the same thing (as long as its under 40kgs) and I'll get slammed on over weight but it sounds like its better than all the fees that accompany freighting.
Which airline are you booked with?
the ISB guidelines only apply to U.S. airlines at the moment.
If it's Air Canada they'll only take luggage up to 70 Lbs, anything over that has to go freight, and that's a whole different thing.
West Jet will allow you more, up to 90 lbs I think.
There are also restrictions on the dimensions of the object, check with your Airline on that.
Read baggage policy carefully... oh! Toronto to NZ! I know the relevant policy here...
Ok, so that's quite straightforward... buy your ticket through Air New Zealand, their policy will then override the Air Canada one since anything allowed on an international flight is also allowed on domestic connections to get to that flight. A bass counts as one piece of oversize luggage on AirNZ. A good route would be domestic to Vancouver then direct to Auckland.
Buy it a seat.
Just a word of caution when flying Air Canada... I was told by a check in agent at YVR that a 'double bass' cannot be accepted as luggage. It must be sent as freight (cargo). At the time I smiled and said "good thing this is a bass cello and not a double bass" 😏
These are the relevant policies:
Like most airlines, their policies are somewhat vague, particularly in terms of pricing. Ideally you would try to work with an airline which has a specific pricing guideline for double basses, but in this case that won't be possible.
Air Canada seems to have a pretty clear "no double basses" policy which is tied to their oversize limits. They say you can't have anything over 115 in or 292 cm -- that means linear inches (length + height + width). My flight case (standard Tuff-Lite) is approximately 125 linear inches, but if you have a slimmed-down model you might get away with it.
Air New Zealand seems a little more reasonable. It looks like if you're under 32 kg they'll look past the dimensions of the case. For travel between Canada and NZ, they say an overweight (over 23kg, less than 32kg) charge is 150CAD, but they may choose to charge for both overweight and oversize and ask for 300CAD. Either way, this is still cheaper than air cargo.
You will want to have this all ironed out and notated in your itinerary before you go to the airport. Call both airlines and make sure there won't be any problems. If you can pay in advance, that will make things much easier at the airport. Even if they can't make any promises, at least get them to write something about it into your travel itinerary. Having some kind of note about it will make the conversation at the counter a little easier.
I'm not convinced that Air Canada will look beyond their own baggage policies even if you're connecting to a friendlier airline. You can try that argument on the phone, but don't be surprised if they refuse.
I've found it makes things easier if the bass is your only piece of checked baggage. When I fly, I try to pack light and take only what can fit in a large backpack. Hopefully you weren't planning to take your furniture with you.
You also need to be 100% sure your bass will meet their weight restrictions. If it's 32.01 kg, they will have the right to refuse it at the counter. They won't always weigh the thing, but if they do you need to have a plan to dump some weight. If you must, you can remove the soft case and check it separately.
This should go without saying, but always remember to be friendly, polite, and patient. In the end, the decision of what to do with your baggage is entirely up to whoever you're talking to. You can improve your chances by talking to multiple people (which is why you should call ahead, and keep calling if you don't like their answers). At the airport, if you get angry or try to pressure them, they will move on to the next customer. Arrive extremely early (three hours or so) and be prepared to wait. Just don't ever walk away. Eventually someone will be reasonable with you. If you're willing to pay for it, they'll make something work.
When I moved back to the US from Saudi Arabia I had 11 stringed instruments to ship. I packed my instruments in their cases (bubble wrap, loosen strings, etc) and then the Shipping company made a crate and packed my instument cases in the crate (everything in expanding foam). It was then delivered to the airlines for shipment and I picked up may crate on the other end. IIRC it was about $1500 for my 11 instruments. Not bad and fully insured.
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