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

Carry on Bass on JAL

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jonathan Starr, Apr 16, 2004.


  1. I'll be travelling by Japan Airlines from Honolulu to Kansai (Osaka) in May.

    Has anyone tried to carry on a Bass in a gigbag on JAL recently?

    Since I have to travel to Hiroshima by Shinkansen (bullet train) I prefer not to lug an ATA case around.

    Aloha,

    Jonathan
     
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I went there on JAL in 2000. They seem to be pretty picky about carry on luggage. The overhead bins are very small, much smaller than on U.S. airlines, and they made me check what is a standard size carry on here in the U.S. I checked my bass in a hard case.

    Unfortunately I think the ATA case may be the best bet. It would really suck to get to the airport and have them force you to check a bass in a gig bag. Maybe you could call first and find out what the current rules are.

    They also seem to have different inforcement of the rules here than in Japan. When we left from Honolulu they checked all of my bands bags without question. A week later when we flew from Tokyo to Seoul on JAL they insisted on weighing all of our checked bags together (instead of individually, I don't know why), and then charged us $165 for being 50 pounds overweight (our drummer had brought his own pedals and other hardware). So if you get the ok to carry your gig bag on here in Honolulu you may find that they won't let you on the return flight.
     
  3. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    General policy is that it must fit either under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Overhead bin size varies from aircraft to aircraft even within the same airline. A gig bag will fit in a coat locker if you are flying in business or first, but don't rely on it getting past checkin.

    You might want to call the local JAL office and ask them if you can do it. If you can, ask them to place a remark on your reservation file that will permit it as carry on. That way, when you check in, they will see the remarks and let it all work smoothly.

    I think a soft case would be much easier to carry on than a hard case.

    The weighing of all luggage and be picky about carry ons is driven by a couple of factors. One, the expected load of passengers and the need to ensure there is adequate bin space. Second, the routing/distance of the flight coupled with the planned cargo/fuel/passenger payload and runway length/altitude and forecast enroute winds may be critical making them payload restricted.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The point I was making is that just because they let you by with something at one airport doesn't mean they will on the return flight from another airport (in a different country). That is an important point if you need to carry on a gig bag. It wasn't just the weight, either. On the way back I had to strap 2 bags together as one because they only allowed one checked bag, even though they had allowed 2 on the trip there. I would have had to pay $50 for two bags. Maybe they just like to overcharge Americans, I don't know. Both flights were on 747s, both full, and both going the same distance.

    On the JAL planes I have been on, the overhead bins are small! A bag that won't fit beneath the seat won't fit in the overhead bin.
     
  5. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    I fully agree with the different policies from airport to airport. As for 747s both full going the same distance, westbound takes longer than eastbound as you are flying into prevailing winds. I took an LAX-Hong Kong flight that was 15:50 minutes nonstop. The return was an astounding 9:30: strong tailwinds, different routing. Winter time routing from North America to Asia generally has stronger winds than summer. Depending of aircraft type and model, payload restrictions do apply so as to not require an enroute fuel stop.

    I flew JAL last month. I didn't notice the bins being any different than BA, KLM, Lufthansa, etc. They could have been.
     
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've never flown any of those airlines, so I have no comparison, but compared to U.S. airlines they are much, much smaller.
     
  7. I spoke with a kindly Oahu local boy JAL baggage agent at Honolulu, who told me they would try to accomodate me, and if there wasn't room in the cabin, that they would gate check it and it would be placed by hand in a special locker and returned to me at the arrival gate.

    That sounded encouraging, but...

    I don't know what will happen at Kansai in Osaka when I return.

    Mike Tobias recommended that I get one of the new SKB shells that fit around a gigbag, and check it in. I wiould much prefer to deal with the Japanese trains and buses with only a soft gigbag.

    Thanks for the wisdom. The adventure continues.

    Aloha,

    Jonathan
     
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Good luck, Jonathan. Aloha.
     
  9. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland

    Jonathan...Looking good. You need to get remarks put on your PNR (Passenger Name Record) requesting space available carry for fragile instrument. A supervisor at the ticket counter, or downtown ticket counter in HNL. A call to the sales office would work as well. Ticket agents usually don't have the the authority to do so. This is not a big thing. It happens every day. People carrying paintings, glass, etc.

    Putting the request for space av although not a commitment, will often see it work as airlines are in the service industry and they try very hard to keep passengers happy. Hit the local flower shop and buy some flowers on your way to the sale office. If you have a CD of your band, bring it along. Payola.

    Despite overhead bin size limitations, there are kinds of nooks and crannies on a 747. The forward coat closet in first class is cavernous. The coat closet in the upper deck is spacious as well. The crew bunk bed area is another good hiding area. And last, depending on the business/first class cabin configuration, there can be space behind the last row of seats that a case will fit quite securely.

    brian
     
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    I'd have to say the same as Mr. Tobias. That way, the instrument is absolutely safe, and you can just leave the case in your hotel or whatever in Kansai and carry the bass in the bag.