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Anyone actually travel with a Vinny in the overhead?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by fretlessrock, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Just wondering: is this a reality, or if the TSA has made this a pipe dream? I'd like to think that I could carry it on, but I don't exactly have high hopes.
  2. cmewhinney


    Jul 11, 2008
    Concord, NH
    I don't think that would be a problem. I believe Michael has only had to check his once, and that was on a tiny regional plane (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Michael!).

    And I haven't had a problem (yet) carrying on my 34" Stambaugh with a really big headstock for detuners. As long as the case is smallish, you should be fine.
  3. Thanks for the feedback. I have a few months before it becomes an issue, so I thought i'd start asking for some input now.

    I've taken a bass to Europe twice, and checked the bass both times with the bass in a gigbag, and that inside of a SKB44 rolling case [actually a SKB 44RW Bass Safe]. That was a J bass once, and a Sonus 5 the other time. The protection is rock solid, but the trips turned into some variant on "Weekend at Bernie's" with this huge device that has to be lugged around everywhere. The VB is much more compact and i *should* be able to carry it on, even if it is a coatcheck item, but I know that if they say no at the gate the bass has to be ready to get chucked into the hold! That is why I have taken the SKB44 route before. I'm not doing that again, but I may have to get a hardshell case anyhow.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've given up on trying to carry one on. It's been 50/50 whether it would work for me, and one airport (Columbus OH) wouldn't even let me carry my bass past security to get a ruling from the airline! So I use one of those SKB Bass Safes now. The locks are for crap but it'll stay together if you use one of those Twist Wraps or a decent bungee cord. I trust it pretty well, but then again, I'm not bringing $3000 basses to my gigs, either.
  5. hentor


    Jan 2, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    I only had one issue with my Jerry Jones short scale Longhorn in a guitar gig bag and that was on a small plane leaving JFK. Otherwise, if you get a seat at the back of the plane to get first chance of boarding and the pick of the overheads, I haven't run into any issues...

    I had to gate check it at JFK, but I had it plastered with fragile stickers, which I keep in the accessory pocket just in case.
  6. Zander4724


    Mar 20, 2008
    Unfortunately, I have never been able to carry it on myself, so I don't even try anymore. However, the first time I attempted to carry it on was when using the gig bag that was provided; if I could get a smaller one that fits airline regulations then I might give it a go.
  7. The general rule is 45 linear inches L+W+H... which means that it isn't happening unless I unbolt the neck. I think I will just find a good hardshell and check it. I rolled my Sonus around Europe in a SKB Bass Safe (I incorrectly type SKB44 earlier), so just having a smaller case will be a huge improvement. I guess the dream of carrying it on is either dead, or not feeling too well.
  8. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I've not had much problem getting the Vinny/VB4 in the cabin, thank goodness. I believe it is technically over the size limit, but most of the airlines are willing to make exceptions for musical instruments within reason.
  9. Michael, thanks for the reply. I just got in from a week of vacation in NorCal. It is amazing how inconsistent the airlines are about overhead and gate check. I didn't travel with a bass but I was watching, and doing some asking, and there was simply no way to be sure. Especially on European trips I am always tempted to ship the bass ahead to my starting point or to the venue.

    BTW, I just saw your new video (thanks to CDBaby.... everyone browse over and get one) and it was amusing to see you lugging the bass safe around. I guess we all have to deal with that same issue. I should have either taken up the violin or the piano!
  10. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Yeah, dealing with the airlines is a big challenge -- possibly the most difficult part of this job!
  11. Michael and everyone else who replied... Thanks for the advice. I carried my VB4 on for my flights to and from Europe, and on a short hop between Norway and Denmark, and never even got a second look. I had a helpful flight attendant on the short hop that let me use a garment compartment. Can't say enough good things about the VB4. It has become my main instrument, not just a portable backup.

    The international flight was on Continental. YMMV.

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