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Best hybrid gig bag for flying?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by sunbeast, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've got an out of town gig coming up and am looking for a sturdy gig bag for the plane and for general city use from now on. I know the ideal way to fly is to check a hard ATA case, but I am going to be somewhat transportation limited when I get where I'm going, so need a bag I can tote around the city with ease.

    I want to ideally get the case that is the best balance of compact size so ideally I can slip it in as carry on and strength/protection just in case I end up needing to gate check it after all. Also worried about such concerns as backpack strap comfort/location, storage space (not a huge deal- though the Mono M80 with the option of the Tick later on is pretty appealing), thickness, and weight. Price isn't a big concern as the main contenders are all pretty close in price.

    The main contenders I know about:
    Mono m80 or Vertigo
    Reunion Blues Continental or Aero
    IGig 515 or 525
    Access Stage 3 or 5
    Protec Contego

    Opinion? What is the sturdiest and most protective in the worst case scenario of Gate checking? Who has successfully or unsuccessfully used one of these cases on a flight and what was your experience? Any other options? The Mono M80 is appealing to me most right now, but can't find a store to see them all in person next to each other in the LA area...
  2. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    I have a Mono M80, but I don't think I would trust it (or any other gig bag) to baggage handlers. The only way I would take the bass would be if I could carry on. Take a gig bag with you to use after you get there.
  3. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If it's a bolt-on, take the neck off and pack body & neck securely in a sturdy regular luggage.
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA

    Have you had any experience flying with a bass in the M80? Curious as to how often people are able to get them onboard.

    And I play a Rickenbacker, so seperating the neck/body isn't an option
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The only hybrid case I've used that would even come close to being adequate (say 75% tops) is a Reunion Blues Continental and it's no smaller or lighter or easier to handle than an ATA rated SKB Roto case.
  6. FNA


    Mar 27, 2013
    Delaware, USA
    I've been able to carry on a Reunion Blues Continental bass Gig bag and store it in the overhead compartment on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737. SWA is fairly musician friendly, but I wouldn't count on being able to carry a bass on all the time. I recommend a good flight case and try to gate check it. I tend to do this, and more often than not I can carry the bass through security and gate check it for no extra fee.
  7. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I fly between islands and they let me put a gig bag in the upper luggage rack on Hawaiian Airlines. I use the Mono because of it's light weight on this old man's back going through airports.;)
  8. joe vegas

    joe vegas Supporting Member

    I did a jazz festival in Milan this summer and got the SKB Roto, since i've been needing a reliable flight case. It accommodates the bass within a soft Levy's gigbag no problem (but a Reunion or Mono won't fit inside). This allowed me to leave the SKB at the hotel and get around with my usual gigbag.

    JFK was shockingly respectful and gentle with the inspection, they did it all in front of me at the oversize check-in, and the Milan handlers were the same way.

    The SKB case is a strong, relatively inexpensive shell and protects well, BUT the "locks" are garbage, completely worthless. They barely close and are ridiculously shoddy. On the advice of a well-known TBer I tied the handles of the 2 case-pieces together with a bungee cord, and it worked well.
    Lightweight, good price, bad locking system.
  9. Babaghanoush


    Jan 21, 2011
    Ohio, USA
    I have the contego and think it's an exceptional value. It's certainly the most protective gig bag that I've owned. I don't have personal experience flying with this bag yet but I was given a good tip recently...

    Adjust your straps so you can wear your bag upside down or at least very low at the airport. Without the neck sticking up way over your head, it's much easier to get it passed for a carry on.
  10. krysh


    May 27, 2008
    hamburg * germany
    and just a note, read the transportation rules of your booked airline first. some allow instruments as handbaggage up to a certain length (.i.e. british airways did 2 years ago up to 1.25m - I could even take an acoustc bass with case on board, air france only up to 1.15m) some don't.
    and remember the more friendly you are to the flight personnel the better your chances are to take it as hand baggage.
  11. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Reunion Blues new Continental.
  12. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks everybody. I've definitely eyed the SKB Roto case, but was hoping to avoid having to go that route. I'll have to think it through. Sounds like the Continental is the most used thus far, which is what I expected.
  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    You might be able to rent a Roto. I know L&M up here rents them.
  14. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    flew recently with my Ric. I got this case:

    Reasoning was if i couldn't get it on board , i wanted it in a sturdy case to gate check it.
    Turns out with Southwest airlines I was good to get on the plane with it and it fit nicely in the overhead. It's a light case, has an ATA lock, and Ric fit nicely inside.
  15. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I went and did a hands on at 3 different shops today and got to try out both Mono bags, the RB Continental, and both IGig bags. All three seem like great options but each have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. The Mono M80 had the least storage space but was the lightest and pretty comfy. The Continental had a bit more storage space but was noticeably heavier and bulkier. The IGigs both had by far the most storage space, but weighed considerably more and were much bulkier all around, though seemed the sturdiest and were very comfortable. The Mono Vertigo felt noticeably dlinsiy compared to the others and that excluded it for me.

    I think the Mono M80 was my top choice overall. One thing that I did notice that seemed a qeakneaa on all the options was weight against the sides of the headstock- while each had a reinforced headstock area, I found that squeezing on the outsides of the headstock allowed for contact/impact with the tuners of my Tic.
  16. Don't rely on them being all cool with you putting it in the overhead bins.
    I've been turned away more than once at the gate for insisting that I take it on myself.
    Just get a decent hard case, loosen the strings, wrap the bass in a beach towel or something, and check it at the gate....then take your regular gig bag in your luggage and use it while cruising around town.

    Basses are usually too big for the overhead bins, and that Ric might be an issue.

    Good luck!
  17. DubHunter


    Feb 15, 2008
    Columbia Gorge
    +1 for the Reunion Blues Continental.
    Super Sturdy. I bring it on the plane, but if it had to get checked, I would have some definite trust in it.
    BassKick likes this.
  18. One option Norm Stockton has recommended is to used a keyboard skb case when traveling. He uses his normal gigbag for his bass then can keep extra strings n accessories in the keyboard case. Just drop ur gig bag in the keyboard case n check it in. If you used any of the 3 cases you demoed in a keyboard case you would be safe
  19. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA

    I've perused some keyboard cases, but the majority appear either a bit too small or too large for my tastes to throw a gig bag into. Will have to keep searching! Great idea though
  20. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    My advice is rent a bass in the city you are playing in otherwise you are asking for a nightmare.

    If you are changing flights count on not being able to deal with the bass the same way as the last flight. Some gates may let you carry it on some won't.
    Even with an SKB case that I flew mine in expect damage to the case in the least. Don't take a prized bass on that trip. If you get an actual flight case they cost more because of the size involved.

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