I had to spend a few weeks in Omaha (that's another thread) and didn't want to be without a bass, so I had a nice Nordy VJ5 shipped to me planning on shipping in to Portland via FEDEX at the end of our stay. On a whim I called United to see what the rules were for taking it as carry on in a soft case (a pro tec silver), after a brief wait I was told no problem, but please detune it, my wife also check the United FAQ and found the same answer. Still concerned we checked with the folks at the United front counter/baggage check the day of our trip and were again told no problem. I said goodbye to the shipping box at the rental car return and headed to security. No issues at security. At the gate I asked the attendant for assistance with my bass - he let me on first and had a gal help me find a secure place for the bass (small plane so no front cabin closet) - the over head bin, never noticed how big they were. Changed planes in Denver where the plane was larger and once again no problem - bass was placed in the closet and brought to me at the end of the flight. Be polite but firm that the bass can not be gate checked, that the airline states explicitly that you may bring the bass on board, have a high quality case and air travel with your bass (at least on United) should be a non issue.