Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Air travel with my bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by blechtone, Jul 18, 2001.


  1. I may be doing some travel this summer with my band and my question relates to air travel and my p bass. Any tips on checking it versus carry-on, string tension in flight, insurance or any other travel tips would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. get a harshell, stuff your bass in it.. then fill it up with soft stuff, so that your bass cannot move around too much.. and ofcourse.. get insurance..
    luggage-dudes at airports are known in some countries as " throwers ", so you get my point ?
     
  3. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    ATA approved flight cases cost a lot (around $400 or so), but they are your best bet. If you don't have that kind of money I suggest taking your bass as carry on luggage in a gig bag. If the flight is really empty you can just lay it across a few seats. When that's not an option I usually put it in the on board closet where people put their suits. Sometimes it will even fit in an overhead bin.

    If you have a hard shell case and really want to check your bass try and see if you can gate check it. If your bass is gate checked it will be the last item put on the plane and the first off, which means it is less likely to be damaged.

    Personally, I wouldn't check my bass in a non ATA approved HSC. If it's not ATA approved, the airline is not liable for damage, and I don't know how insurance would work out. Even if you did get insurance, it would still suck if your bass broke.
     
  4. Also tune your bass down untill the string or flopy or else the neck will snap like a twig
     
  5. ive done this many a time
    heres what i do

    1st: buy a padded gig bag and detune your bass untill the strings are really loose

    2nd: stuff your bass in the bag and try to get on the plane early so you can get some good overhead bin space

    3rd:tell the attendants about your fragile luggage and watch what kind of stuff other people want to put in "your basses" bin

    ive done this on about 6 or 7 cross-country flights and its worked well every time
     
  6. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    ive only flown 3 times with my bass and each time i carried it on..i wont let my baby go below with the rest of the stuff...itll fit nicely in the over head compartment and other peoples stuff can get placed on the case and no harm has ever come to my bass doing this....i also loosend the strings quite a bit to ease tension on the neck.
     
  7. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    hmmm. I wonder if it's possible to put your bass in a hard shell case and carry it on. That way you could put it in an overhead bin and you wouldn't have to worry about other people's stuff on top of it.
     
  8. wes c

    wes c

    Jul 19, 2001
    u can have a soft bag, just ask them to put in a closet. they will, ive done it 4 times!
     
  9. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    cause I'm going to the states for a month and I really need the practice right now because of this band that I'm in that thinks I'm so mcuh better than I really am, so I need to take my bass across the Atalntic with me...
     
  10. JohnL

    JohnL

    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    I have an ATA case and check my bass regularly. The dents on it attest to the benefit of spending the $$$ for one; if you can afford it, do it! The factory supplied case would have been destroyed long ago! I was not aware that you could carry on a bass, however. Just last week, I saw a guy in line in front of me have to check an item that did not meet the "carry on dimensions" template that was next to the check in counter (Delta Airlines, BTW). It was just an ordinary piece of luggage. Also, our guitar player also was not allowed to carry-on his on an America West flight. Has there been a recent change in what is allowable to carry on? I have a fretless that I would love to travel with, but do not have a flight case for. Thanks!
     
  11. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    i flew SouthWest Airlines all three times and they didnt have a problem with me carrying it on. I dont know about delta or the others...i shouldve specified that in my original post...
     
  12. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I posted a thread about this a couple of months ago, I'll see if I can find the thread.

    I took my bass on 6 flights in a 3 week period, and am about to take it on another flight on Sunday.

    I put it in my gig bag and carried it on. United was excellent. They let me put it in the coat closet once, and another time they let me put it with the flight attendant's luggage in the back of the plane. United ROCKS!

    Then I had to fly America West. Yeah, America Worst is more like it. They constantly harrassed me about it, trying to make me gate check it, but I wouldn't let them. One lady got really mad and said, "Well, if your guitar is really that expensive you should buy a ticket for it next time." (She is no longer with us, but the police have said I'm not allowed to talk about it publicly yet). Anyway, I put it in the overhead each time. I cringed in terror as people forced their luggage into the bins. After all was said and done, my bass was fine.

    America Worst was a hassle, and sucked. United was excellent and very helpful. Call the airline and see if they have a policy. That's what I did with United and it made a difference. The told me they do have a policy in regards to violins and guitars, so I was cool.
     
  13. Axl

    Axl

    Jul 20, 2001
    Well, Brian May always bought a seat for his guitar...
     
  14. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    All the big airlines are used to people carrying on instruments so usually you'll have no problem. If you are flying a smaller airline chances are they'll give you a lot of crap about carrying on your instrument. Just tell them you'll sue them and they should back down :) But seriously, you are the customer so they should do whatever they can for you. It's amazing how people can forget who is working for who.
     
  15. Thank you all for your helpful ideas.

    I was wondering...has anyone ever heard of renting a ATA flight case? I'll have to call some music stores...maybe they would rent one if they had a used one to sell. Just a thought. What do you think?
     
  16. RedGrange

    RedGrange

    Jun 11, 2000
    Springfield, IL
    My Drummer's Father is a pilot for United, so when we traveled, they'd treat us nice.... first class, and we carried on 3 instruments each, in factory cases. But I guess you have to be lucky.

    Otherwise I'd go with the ATA case, and make sure they know that you'd hurt someone if they broke it... as well as make them pay.

    Most of the people that fly are stupid and they like to carry on big bags and shove them in the overhead compartment, regardless of what is in there. I'd be arrested for murder if someone touched my bass with another bag if I carried it on.
     
  17. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    I just flew across the atalantic with united a few days ago, and they were great. They put it in the back of the plane in a closet once and in a coat closet another time and were very nice about it and the bass is great... not so nice, however, where the customs people, I mean the ones that scan your baggage. they let everyone pass on but made me take my bass out of its case and insepcted each pocket in my case. my dairy was in one of them, and they looked through each page, doing a drug check. another time they asked me if i had ever lent my bass to anyone, how long ago, any gigs, etc. I told them I lent it to my best friend a few moths ago and they asked me if I 'trusted' my best friend. then they also said they were asking so much because unlike all the other baggage, they viewed the bass as a potential weapon...