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Flying with a bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ole Jason, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. I know I've seen this mentioned before but I couldn't find the thread using the search.

    I'm going to NAMM in two weeks and there's a good possibility I'll be picking up either a bass, guitar, or oud on the last day of the show. What do I need in order to fly back home with the bass? Do I need a flight case or will a solid hardshell case work okay? Do I need to try to get ahold of 'Fragile' stickers or is that useless?
  2. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    For piece of mind go with the flight case..there used to be a time where you could stick the bass in a gig bag and bring it on as hand luggage ..sadly this is no longer the case (pardon the pun :D )

    I'm not too familiar with internal US flights but anytime I've travelled in Europe when you check in they automatically stick "fragile" stickers on the case..(also if using a flight case make sure you lock it and keep the keys with you).
  3. +1 on the flight case, but they're probably pretty expensive and you won't know what size to get until you've got the bass (?). Not sure about that. Plus you may have issues with it not scanning well, and they'll maybe open it up for inspection. If you lock it, they'll break the lock to get inside. I would hope that a hardshell would work. Make sure you bring straps with you to strap it shut really well so there's NO chance of it opening up in transit. Good luck and Have a great time in NAMM!
  4. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Personally I've never had any problems with using just a hardshell case..however I have heard some horror stories from fellow session guys...in fairness these incidents mostly occurred on long haul flights with a few transfers, I'd imagine for internal flights you'd probably be ok using a hardshell (just remember to lock it...trust me ;) )

  5. pcollin


    Dec 22, 2005
    Portland, Maine
    I've only had to travel twice by plane for music gigs (domestic). I flew on Delta and just gate checked my bass. I packed it tight in its regular hardshell case and I didn't have any problems. In fact the people on Delta showed a lot of respect for it.
  6. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Ship it (and insure it), whether it's a bass, amp, etc...there's usually a FedX location onsite so shipping directly from the show to home should be a breeze.

    DO NOT check a bass in baggage unless you have an anvil-type case, which I assume you won't have.

    Taking one bass in a gigbag as a carryon is no problem. I recommend you ask the gate attendant to let you board with the first group so you can be assured of space in the overhead.
  7. i think it depends on the airline. one airline allowed me to gate check my bass (which means you carry it to the plane and then they put it in the cargo after all the other luggage has been loaded and hand it to you as soon as you leave the plane), while another airline made me check it as regular luggage. i had it in a hardshell case and both times it was ok. but there is definately a risk. i guess it depends on how comfortable you are with the risk.
  8. Uh...That's not something I'd plan on without checking with the airlines way before the flight. Every airline has different standards of some sort or another, and some gate attendents have had a REALLY bad day and won't want to accomodate, and/or I'd hate to show up thinking that everything was going to go smooth and then be stuck holding on to a bass in a gig bag that all of a sudden isn't going to be let on board because the flight is full and there's not enough room for it in the cabin!

    +1 = Flight case.
  9. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I've flown a few times w/my basses. I posted in the other threads too so here's my view.

    The flights FWIW-i think we flew Delta and ATA. All of them involved a connecting flight. Airports-Indy to Memphis to Ft. LauderDale [my freshman year of high school-the spring after the 9/11 events]. Going home from that one was Ft. Lauderdale to Detroit to Indy.

    Junior year-Indy to somewhere [i forget sry] to Miami. Miami to Indy. Maybe that year didn't have a connecting flight.

    The basses-freshman year [2002] twas a DeArmond Pilot Plus 5-not something that would break the bank if it was destroyed, but i'd be screwed on that performance w/o it. We played [my show choir and band] performed on Majesty of the Seas c/o Royal Carribean Cruise Lines. Junior Year-EB MM StingRay5-we played at the Tomorrow Land Stage at Disney World, and the band had a clinic with one of the trumpet players. Really opened my eyes and made me want to work for Disney once i get out of college [if i'm good enough] either on their cruise lines or in the parks.

    The cases-this is where i'm going to differ largely from everyone else. I used standard SKB Hard Shells. The case that the pilot was in was their generic bass hardshell and the one that the Ray5 flew in was the stock MM Case [also made by SKB].

    I did wrap the basses in bubble wrap so that they wouldn't move around in their cases. I duct taped the latches many times over so that they wouldn't be knocked off.

    SO what happened? Freshman year-they didn't even open up my case-the duct tape was still on just as i had left it. The only marks on the case where the ones that the duct tape left [the residue].

    Junior year? I had to pick up my bass in the special claims room. Apparently, they thought it was a weapon. On that occasion, the duct tape was removed from the latches-but they put their airline tape on it and a little note saying that it was searched. This is where my naive-ness and sarcasm comes in. Yeah buddy, the case that says MUSICMAN and upon opening there's a bass guitar, strap, strings, and string cutter-is really a weapon, eh-at least they're keeping us safe. The bass was fine though.

    Other than being nervous as hell until i had the cases back, i had no major issues/disasters with checking my basses as luggage. If the bass was a 1 off or if i was going to be doing more flying regularly-i would look into an actual flight case or an SKB Bass Vault.

    That's all
  10. Rockgurl


    Dec 17, 2004
    CT, USA
    Go buy yourself a Gator flight case made with military grade Polyethelene. It's NOT expensive and it's the strongest case I've ever used and weighs half of a regular flight case. I've used it many times on flights and I've never had a problem with it. I have two. Here's a link: