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Flying Internationally w/ Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DaveAceofBass, Dec 28, 2016.


  1. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Dear TBers,

    It's been 15+ years since I flew internationally with my bass for a gig...the last time was for a cruise gig in South America and Europe. It was before 9/11, and at that time I carried my bass in a gig bag and put it in the overhead bin. If there was no room, they would tag it at the plane entrance and give it back as soon as I stepped off the plane. Regulations have changed since then and most basses will not fit in the carry-on bins for domestic flights, and I'm sure it's no different internationally.

    In February I'll be traveling to China for a short gig. I want to bring my own bass, either my Sadowsky or my Kinal. I do not have a flight case at the moment but I do have the Sadowsky hardshell case, a Reunion Blues Continental case, and a Mono M80 bag. My hunch is the Reunion Blues will offer the best protection, but I fear that I will have to check the bass at the luggage counter. No telling what could happen to it by customs officials and TSA.

    For those of you who play and fly internationally, what do you recommend I do in this situation?
     
  2. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    No way would I bring a bass that I valued highly (or that was of particularly high value). I would look at renting. As for cases, you could get lucky with any case, but my first choice would be a custom case with foam interior. Second choice (what I've used the most) would be a waterproof SKB ATA case.
     
  3. My bass travels safely on transatlantic flights in a Reunion Blues gig bag.

    As has been pointed out here and round-abouts, many baggage handlers are musicians.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  4. FantasticFour

    FantasticFour

    Dec 14, 2013
    Europeland
    I think it could depend a lot on the company. My experience (post 9/11) is that they let me take my bass as a cabin luggage after I had paid for extra weight. Happened twice (Asia to Europe flight).
     
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    I've heard good stories and bad stories. Yes, they are supposed to allow you to bring it as cabin luggage if there is room, but if the captain says no, waving the regs in his face is not going to do anything. I would not want to roll the dice with a treasured bass. But that's me.
     
    DaveAceofBass likes this.
  6. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks for the input. Assuming I do take my own instrument, which case would I be best to travel with?
     
  7. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've had good luck with the SKB waterproof case.
     
  8. 5544

    5544

    Dec 1, 2015
  9. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    I flew recently to Mexico City, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Rio de Janeiro... carried my bass as 'carry on' and flight attendants put my bass in a locker toward the back of the plane. No questions, no problems. YMMV.
    H
     
  10. jdthebassman

    jdthebassman

    Jul 11, 2010
    i fly to Europe a lot England Ireland I take a bass with a bolt on neck take the neck off and pack it good in my gig bag bubble wrap and put it in the over head never had a problem. if you don't want to do that I recommend if you can fly virgin air branson is awesome I have never had a problem with that airline they will go over and above to let you take it in the overhead.
     
    sowilson likes this.
  11. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    I would only travel if my bass can be carry on and placed in the overhead compartment. If the bass has to go with cargo understand that it's going to be really cold there and that is going to cause a neck problem. Also be careful about the wood used in the construction of the bass. You don't want it confiscated because it looks like it violates CITES.
     
  12. Not all overhead storage bins are equal. Available overhead storage space varies widely from make and model, and airline and route. A short haul Boeing is likely to have smaller overhead storage room than the same plane configured for a long haul. Also some carriers are more generous with cabin space than others.

    All a crap shoot. And worth noting a bass in an overhead storage bin is using a great deal of space that five or more others also want to use.
     
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  13. Cuzzie

    Cuzzie Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Check out Fusion gig bags.
    They are very study with pockets etc, you may get away with overhead, but it's pretty good for protection if checked, not too dissimilar to that Gator soft case.
    I have the double electric bass version and praise it highly.
    Excellent customer service also
     
  14. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    Airline Restrictions Master List

    Here is a helpful thread on the subject.

    Also, I've checked my bass multiple times, completely assembled. It's a 1989, so you can bet it's probably flown around a few times. Still 100% functional.
     
    Ubersheist likes this.
  15. subdude67

    subdude67

    Jan 18, 2010
    Kenya
    I am moving to another country at the moment and I have so far taken 2 basses with me. I have removed the neck and put the basses into the check in luggage.
     
  16. You CAN Carry On Your Guitar. It’s the Law.

    I came across this, and thought it was interesting and helpful. It's about the FAA guidelines for musical instruments on airplanes.

    That's a great post. I may have a gig or two that'll require a plane ride. It's good to know. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  17. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Do you gate check?
     
  18. I check the bass with the rest of my luggage. Zero problems. The Reunion Blues gig bag is as good as it gets in my experience.
     
  19. cripula

    cripula

    Dec 20, 2006
    Canada
    SKB Bass Safe and your Mono bag.
    Worth the $$.

    I've flown many times with old Fenders in their stock cases and been ok (lucky is more like it)... but I feel better with the Bass Safe and a good protective gig bag like a Cronkhite, Levy's, or Reunion Blues. Many transatlantic flights, never a problem.
     
  20. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I've decided to take the Kinal bass, and use a
    The bass player that normally plays in this band suggested I try to take the bass as a carry on and gate check if necessary. I just bought the new version of the RB Continental called the Voyager, but I have the original too. I'm going to try the Voyager and try to gate check it or carry on if I can. Hopefully your experiences applies to the new version too, and gate checking will hopefully help.
     
    MrLenny1 likes this.

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