I'm traveling and I need help!
So I'm going from Portugal to the States (utah) at the end of this year and I want to take my bass. I'm flying at American Airlines.
Does anyone has any experience in this airline? I've read around the web that the best way was to take a gigbag and just ask politely to stock it in the cabin.
But I've got a problem. AA says in one place that I need to have a hardcase bag and in another one it says I doesn't
So... What should I do?
My bass isn't very expensive (its a yamaha rbx374) but its the only bass I have and I really like it so... taking it on the cargo should not be an option.
How long are you staying?
Every time I see a thread like this it makes me wonder if buying a cheap bass when you get here is the way to go.
I'm going to stay 6/7 months. I'm going to the University, have summer vacations and come back. Maybe I should buy a 100 dollar bass there?
It seems like such a hassle to travel with a bass, especially if it's one you like and care about.
Once you're here, maybe you could go to Guitar Center. They'll probably have something used for around $100.
They also have cheap starter kits that come with a little amp too.
Though a lot of people travel with basses without any trouble. I'm sure someone will chime in with better information.
If your going to spend that much time here, leave your bass at home. Hop on craigslist or other local classified, and find a $100 bass. To fly with a bass, you need an ATA approved flight case, and check it as baggage. That will cost more money than buying a bass when you get here.
Once your here, you could even buy one of these. http://www.rondomusic.com/bassguitars4.html They get great revues here.
I have seen tons of thread (here and other places) about this. Some say that the new airline laws make it mandatory for the airlines to make an instrument carry-on. Others say that it is still up to the whims of the airport and airline staff.
From what I can tell, here are some things you should do to best increase your chances of bringing your bass with you:
1. Check-in early.
Some airlines let you check in up to 24 hours early online. Find out how you can check-in earliest.
2. Show up to board early.
You want to be one of the first in line.
3. Be polite
If you get much flack, explain that the instrument is very important to you. Try to be firm without being combative. You may loose, but don't be a weenie.
4. Ask to store it in locker
I believe you ask this of the flight staff when you board. I think it is a closet designed to hang suits and things of that sort, so it will help if your gig bag has a hanger.
Be sure to let us all know how things go.
7 years ago I flew all over the US and Europe with no issues taking my bass (in a gigbag) on board. Just asked for early seating when I got to the gate, and there were never any issues putting it in an overhead, or the closet. Nowadays, I'd stress it bigtime as airlines keep changing the rules, and it seems one never knows what to expect. Seems you can't even count on what the rules say, cuz they'll bend them at times if you're insistant enough.
Lotta help that was, huh :).
I bought myself a Kala (2 actually, acoustic, and electric), and then a few months ago one of the Vox basses with the built in amps, for traveling. If I planned on gigging and was going to be gone for as long as you I'd probably either buy an SX for $100, or if it were for a tour/gigging, I'd tape one of my basses up in a case and put it with the baggage. I've done that a bunch of times too, with no issues.
Oh yeah... there's always the option of taking the neck off and throwing it in a suitcase too. Some people don't like taking their stuff apart though. Even though it's harmless.
Take the strings off, unscrew the 4 neck screws, package everything up with bubble wrap and carry it on or find a box for a golf club and put the neck in that. If you have a little time on your hands you can use it to your favor.
Every time I have flown with a bass, I have spent hours in advance studying the airline's web site, calling the airline, and scouring TB and other web sites. And every time, I've arrived at the airport to learn that the rules being applied were not what I had been led to believe. Even the employees at the check-in counter and at the gate often have different rules. It simply is not predictable.
So, I suggest that you do not bring the bass unless you are prepared to check it as luggage. You might get lucky and be allowed to carry it on, but you certainly cannot count on it, no matter what anyone tells you in advance.
Yea, I think I may buy a cheap bass in the States. I have no problem dissembling my bass but I'll need the space for other things I believe. Thank you guys <3
The gigbag plan is extremely risky. You up your chances of being allowed into the cabin, but if you get denied your instrument is pretty much doomed.
The best thing to do is to either get a really good case and check it or to take the neck off and put it in the middle of your clothes in the suitcase. Taking off the neck helps massively because all the lever forces just disappear.
Mark Smith has a very good little tutorial on this very subject - I'm also a retired senior airline exec so I officially approve.
Bottom line = carry your instrument!
I have flown with my bass many times. I always call the airline ahead of time. They can look up the type of plane that you will be on and let you know if the bass will fit in the over head bin or the closet at the front or rear of the plane.
It seems that I have to change planes 3 times and I only have 1 hour between them (so I really have to rush). I can't be early to the planes and make sure everything works alright.. Grawww!
Thanks a lot guys btw. I still have to decide if I take the neck off or I buy a new cheap bass there.
1. Rent a bass from a music shop for the duration of your stay.
2. Borrow a bass from someone. Ask the people you know in Utah (or who you meet after arriving) if they know any musicians, or if their friends do, etc. If you're lucky, you might find a "loaner" for free.
3. Buy a bass in Utah -- and not necessarily a "cheap" one. One option would be to then sell it when you're ready to go back home, in which case you can think of any buy/sell price differential as a "rental fee" (plus a "convenience fee" for not having to haul your own bass). Another option is that you might find something here that you love that you can't easily find at home, and you could ship it home when you leave. That is, think of your visit to the States as a shopping opportunity. And even it takes a while to get there, you'll have your old bass waiting for you when you get back.
I work in the auto industry and go to most of the international auto shows. I ALWAYS take a bass with me when I go. Usually this one....
I point this out because it is probably my most irreplaceable instrument. The luthier is no longer building. If I were concerned that it could get damaged or lost, I would not take it.
I take this one because it has 5-strings and is my shortest, lightest bass and most likely to fit in an overhead compartment IF IT IS IN A GIG BAG. It has been to Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Los Angeles, and Sao Paolo. Multiple times to each of those places. Every time I've used a gig bag, it either fit in the overhead or the crew was very helpful in putting it in the coat closet. On most flights they even stop by my seat during the flight to ask me the usual questions that come from carrying an instrument around. ( are you a professional? ever played for anybody famous? how much does that thing cost? I have a nephew that wants to play....what do you recommend?)
The one time I took it to LA in a hard-side gig bag that simply LOOKED like a hard case, the flight crew insisted on checking it.
Once that neck comes off, it ain't goin' back on.
I think to be easy and don't worry about anything, just check your bass with a good case. I use this since 10 years, just the best solution in my opinion.
study with me
I'd say a gig bag and take it on the plane with you. If you have ever watched baggage handlers throw luggage on and off a plane.
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