Bass on a plane! Check or carry on?
Hi all, I've had a death in the family and have to hop on a plane from central Ohio to SC. I've got the flight booked but.... Man it's been almost 20 years since I've traveled with my bass on a plane. Last time it was no big deal. They just put into the stewards locker.
Can anyone help fill me in on the process of taking my bass as a carry on?
( for those of you who may ask, no I cannot live without it! Even under the circumstances, there is nothing to do where I'm going and the down time is brutal).
Can you still take your bass as carry on luggage? Or will the airline make you check it in as baggage?
Basically, I'm taking my PBass in a heavy duty gig bag. In the GB will be a pandora, few cables, and headphones.
Based on what y'all tell me, it may just go into a fender form fitted TSA hard shell case. Again this depends on the airline and what y'all can tell me!!!
Any advice is welcome and greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance,
PS--- sorry for spelling,grammar,punctuation,and anything else I may have overlooked. I'm over tired and
I would take it in a gig bag as a carry on and try to store it in an overhead or in the coat closet it's available. The trick is to also bring a SMALL (check FAA guidelines) screwdriver so you can detach the neck to shrink it, if they give you too much trouble. I've carries my bass ontwice and brought a screwdriver both times, though I never had to use it.
Hmm... Hadn't thought of that. Good idea! Thanks.
Screwdriver added to the accessory list.
There are laws passed allowing carry-on instruments but is not in full effect until 2014. Even then size of the overhead bins will matter. Currently an important factor is the boarding zone one is assigned. The earlier you can board the better chance of carry on. When I fly Southwest I do early bird check in and don't worry at all.
You may not be allowed to take a screw driver on the plane?! Not sure, sharp object.
Ah never mind, you mentioned small screwdriver. :)
Bass on a Plane?... I was expecting something different.
I took my semi hollow Epiphone guitar in a hard shell case on an AA flight. There's a law saying that you're allowed to take instruments on the plane because they're tools of our trade. I had no issues, they just asked if I was going to check it or carry it on. The only thing was I was on a tiny plane with no closet and no extra seats, so it had to go in the cargo hold with everything else. Turned out fine though. I wouldn't ever trust a gig bag that way though.
You can separate neck & body and pack them into a regular suitcase.
I got a headless for exactly that purpose. Works very well.
If it is not too late can you tell me the airline and flight number(s)? I am a Delta Air Lines pilot and can give you the gouge for carrying a bass on my airline (I do it all the time). Basically, a bass will fit in any MAINLINE plane's overhead bin. That's a different story for the RJs however.
I checked in my bass when I bought it from overseas, made it back in one piece. I have heard about the occasional horror stories, but it is generally safe
I went through this about a year and a half ago. I took my bass in a Gator HSC; the first leg the attendants insisted I check it despite my insisting that I checked the overhead bin sizes to confirm that it would fit. The rest of the trip I took it onboard and stashed it in the bins, along with the rest of our guitars and the drummer's brain box. On one flight we put a guitar in the coat closet; there were never any issues with the airlines other than passengers getting a little frustrated that they couldn't fit their bags in the over-head bins, but oh well.
We'll be flying again this summer and I'll probably just take it in the gig bag so that I'm 'forced' to bring it with me on the plane. It will be less bulky that way and will survive the trip just fine. You can go online and check out the spec's of the plane you will fly in to confirm the bin sizes but in a gig bag you should have no issue at all. Leave the screwdriver in your tool bag in your suitcase.
Sorry about your loss and have a great trip.
If it is not a full flight, then you are lucky
If the plane is full, and your instrument is out of their specified length they have every right to offload your guitars to fit other passenger's bags. Since everyone is entitled to have their bags stored if it is within the specs range
+1, sorry for your loss. :(
One of my bands has been starting to travel a bit more, so I've run into this as well. Unfortunately, I think right now bringing a bass on a plane still very much depends on 1) which airline you're flying 2) what mood the attendants are in that day. Calling ahead to see what the airline's policy is will help you make your decisions and give you some ammunition if the attendants get unruly. "Well, I understand, but your airline's policy is actually this." Granted, that will only work if their policies are in your favor... ;)
I've been fortunate to meet Doug Johns and Scott Ambush recently, both well travelled pros and great guys, so I asked them for tips.
I realize you probably may not want to buy a new gig bag just for one trip, but Scott uses a Reunion Blues Continental gig bag and let me check out the one he had with him. It's a good balance of a relatively non-attendant-intimidating size and surprising sturdiness for a "gig bag." I don't know if I'd want to drop test it like Reunion Blues did (watch the vid on their page, then also hit up youtube for some fails), but it's definitely the beefiest bag I've seen. Scott said he can almost always get it on board with him, but isn't afraid to check it on the rare occasion. Not 100% sure what gig bag Doug travels with.
For our last trip, I had my bass in a flight case that we shipped to the destination in advance (not cheap) and then checked on the plane for the return trip (cheaper). However, we were flying Spirit, and they're VERY strict... I wouldn't have been able to get it on board no matter what I had it in. We're scheduled to continue traveling more, so I'll definitely be picking up one of those RB bags and we'll hopefully be flying other airlines... Spirit SUCKS.
Both guys passed along some pretty good airline travel tips:
1) have your bass in a gig bag, you won't be able to get a hard case in the cabin of the plane
2) when boarding, lengthen straps so the case sits lower on your back. Make sure to keep the bag as behind you as you can, so it looks less intrusive.
3) if they question it, tell the attendants it'll fit in the overheads. If they raz you about it, tell them if it doesn't, you'll gate check it. Chances are it'll fit.
4) make sure to have at least a $10 or even a $20 to tip the person who takes your bass if you HAVE to gate check. Politely tell them that "please be careful, this is my livelihood. I'm a professional bass player" (even if you aren't. They don't need to know you're really a cat rancher. :D)
5) smile and be polite. Always. No matter what.
And this one's mine, kind of a no-brainer IMO:
6) if you have a choice, don't take your nicest bass. Last time, I took my Warmoth as opposed to my custom Stambaugh, and I've been pondering getting a Squier VM Jazz V as my travel bass. Great bass for the price, and replaceable.
Hope this stuff helps at least a little... Good luck.
I recently had to take several flights with my bass. Not being comfortable with the idea of bringing one of my prized basses on a plane I bought a Squier for $300 and planned on using an SKB flight case. Last minute I realized that the SKB (the open cavity version) wouldn't accomodate my bass! I decided to take my Sadowsky Portabag (what I would describe as a "semi hard case"). Most of the flights were on Air Canada and, with them, there was no question about my bringing the base into the cabin with me. They just wouldn't allow it (the reason given: the overheads are too small - which they actually are). One of my flights was with a smaller airline and, because my Portabag was not a hard case (i.e. plastic or wood/metal), they let me take it into the cabin and stow it in the overheads. Luckily the Portabag worked out great, but it was also nice not having to worry (thanks to the Squier) that one of my more valued basses might get damaged in transit.
Well, I'll probably have an easier time getting my bass on a plane than passing that check-point, but thanks for all the great tips anyway.
When I toured Europe in 2010 I was able to carry my bass on the plane. I had it in a gig bag along with my backpack and they just put it in a locker in the front of the plane for me. No hassle, no damage, no fees...I don't know if that's just cause it was an international flight or no
I've said this in other threads and I'll say it again here:
Every flight crew is different and may or may not let you take it on the plane, it is ALWAYS a crapshoot.
The best way is to put the bass in a quality gig bag, then put it all in a used SKB type golf club case and check it gateside. Regardless of oversize its all the airlines' policies not to charge anything extra for golf club cases, ever. Great protection...
The SKB "bass safe" case is not a good idea since the TSA agents rarely latch it back up properly after inspection and it comes apart. Golf club cases are a no-brainer for them.
I fly all the time and this is the best solution I've found.
I just brought a Peavey Fury in a hard shell case back on a regional jet. They put it in the crew closet one leg, only the bass. I had to check the case. The next leg the flight attendant completely rearranged the crew closet and fit in the case too.
Why are you bringing the bass? If to perform a single show, maybe buy a cheapie and try to get it on with a gig bag. Or as others suggested take it apart and put it in a checked bag.
If just for practice, I now have a Squire Mini Strat that I take with me with a little battery powered amp. Yes it is a guitar, but to practice or figure out songs it works fine. And cute! I found mine on CL for $25.
And they do make travel basses if you have the cash.
Edit: if you have time you can always buy one locally <or> ship one to where you are headed.
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