air travel with a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheGreatSealof, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    A couple of weeks ago I posted a thread regarding air travel with a bass. For those of you that responded, I want to post an update of my experience.

    I purchased an Epiphone Accu bass for $30 for travel, (not worried about damage or theft). I removed the neck from the body and packed it in my suitcase.

    Upon arrival I reassembled the bass, did a quick setup and voila!. No problems. Plugged in my Vox mini amp device and headphones and was able to play and practice to my hearts content. :hyper:
  2. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I used to do this all the time with a yamaha I had when I used to travel the country upgrading and patching computer systems. No issues at all.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too much work for me. I bought an SKB Bass Safe, a padded gig bag, and one of those big Twist Wraps to hold the Bass Safe together because the locks absolutely suck. Despite the locks being crap, in about 8 years of using one, I've yet to get as much as a scratch on any of my basses, including a flimsy Danelectro and an even flimsier hollowbody. A little expensive for those who don't fly much, but totally worth it as far as I'm concerned.
  4. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    When I fly, I always call the airline ahead of time and ask if I can put the bass in the over head bin or stand it up in the vertical coat closet at the front or rear of the plane. I give them the dimensions of the case and they look up the type of plane to see how much room they have then make a note in their system that I will be carrying a bass on board. When I get to the airport, I check in and let them know that I was approved to bring the bass. I've never been denied.
  5. I-Love-Ratm


    Feb 24, 2003
    I recently flew from JFK to Heathrow and then to Cork (Ireland) and just bought my bass onboard in a gig bag and just took a chance. Not a problem anywhere. The cabin crew on the first flight offered to put it in the rear locker and on the second they moved me to an empty row of seats so I could strap the gig bag in! I guess it depends on the airline and/or cabin crew!
  6. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I've flown back and forth across the U.S. several times this year carrying a bass. I've flown United, American, and US Air (that I can think of). Each time, I have just carried the bass on - usually in a hardshell case. Most airlines, including all the ones I've flown, have an exception to the size limit in their carry-on luggage policy that allows musical instruments.

    I have successfully put the bass in its hardshell case in an overhead bin once, and in the plane's coat closet several times.

    On one set of flights, the planes did not have a coat closet or overheads big enough to put the bass in. On those, I gate-checked it. That means I got to the doors of the plane and they put a tag on my bass case and put it in the cargo hold. Then, as soon as I got off the plane at the end of that flight, I got my bass back, right outside the doors of the plane, before proceeding into the terminal. Even in a case (no pun intended) like that, I don't really have any concerns about the bass getting damaged or lost.

    It definitely helps if you are in the priority boarding group(s). Being one of the last people on the plane is a good way to ensure you have to gate check it because the overheads and closet get full quickly. I haven't tried it myself, but one thing I would consider trying if I needed to in the future would be to ask the gate agent if I could be moved up to a priority boarding group - like they do with people traveling with children or people in wheelchairs - with the explanation that it would really help me to be able to find a place to stow my guitar. Sorta like traveling with a child... ;)
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    ...except they won't let you put your child in the carry-on bin, even though most of us would like to ;)
  8. Pat Tofield

    Pat Tofield

    Jul 29, 2004
    That's good advise StuartV....thanks!