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Flying with gigbags as carry-on

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by brandonwong, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    Hey guys,

    Wondering if any of you has experienced troubles when you fly with your basses with gigbags. I'm need to fly with two basses(double gigbag) and wonder if i should take the risk and carry on or buy a golf hardcase and check them in as luggage.
    Any advise???

  2. dadodetres


    Dec 19, 2004
    You mean trouble by damging your basses? or legal trouble?

    I think you should de-tune about 1/4 step your strings, but lets wait for more opinions...

    About the legal stuf, the IS a law in the United States that says every 1 person is allowed to fliy with 1 instrument.... In your case you have 2 basses, so i dont know!
  3. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    What i mean is will the airline let me pass it as a carry-on?
    I'm just afraid they might stop me and force me to check it in with the gigbag.

    I'm flying between Canada and Singapore, so dunno if the 1 instrument rule applies.
    I will probably carry a double gigbag to house the 2 basses. so still one carry-on baggage rite?
  4. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    i went from china-> uk with 1 gigbag, and that was ok. but it might be because im only 13.
  5. I've done it with one bass a couple of times, but I'm not 100% sure all overhead compartments are big enough to accommodate basses, especially in a double bag. Sometimes they'll let you hang it up in the coat closet, but you can't count on that. These, days, if I'm flying with a bass, I use an SKB Bass Safe.


    Works great: you just stick your gig bag in and close the latches. Never tried it with a double gig bag, though.
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My experience is that airlines are very inconsistent about gigbags. Sometimes I have been allowed to carry my gigbag into the cabin, others swore that doing so violated federal law. Generally, I think Southwest is pretty friendly.
  7. WOW! that thing is BAD!
  8. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I'm flying Northwest. If that's the experience you've guys has got, i might be able to get away with getting my girlfriend to carry one bass while i carry another in seperate gig bag.

    I have got the freedom case for my speaker stands.

    I wonder if the bass safe has the same construction as my freedom stand case Richard?
    Comparing my freedom case and the golf 4814 deluxe golf case, seems like the golf has better protection and keeps out moisture.
  9. I don't know. All I can say is that the Bass Safe has worked perfectly for me.

    But if you've already got the golf case, and you know your basses will fit inside, I'd say, just use that. Why buy something you don't need?
  10. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    I'm kinda choosing between using the Freedom ATA stand case or buying a SKB golf case. That is if i check it in as luggage.

    My only concern is whether the Freedom ATA stand case is a good choice as i have never used it before.
  11. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    I've travelled on Northwest with my bass in a gig bag many times. Assuming it's a full size jet, and not a little pencil jet or a prop, just bring it on. I always ask first thing when I get on if I can put the bass in a coat closet. Sometmes there is one and it's ok, sometimes there isn't. If not, it'll fit in the overhead and I just try to make sure it's either sitting on top of someone else's stuff, or that no one puts their bag on top of it. Every once in awhle the flight attendants get uppity about not allowing it and I tend to wildly exaggerate the cost/importance of the instrument and try to subtley guilt-trip them into allowing it. Hasn't failed yet (although I've had to claim my Kinal was worth 8 or 12G sometimes, and that it was my livelihood...juuuuuust a bit of an exaggeration). I've flown with my bass on NWA countless times and never had a problem (and other airlines too).
    As far as damage, I've got a very nice gig bag (very good investment!) and I don't worry about it getting dinged. The padding is thick enough that it withstands just about anything aside form crushing pressure.

    On smaller planes, though, I have had problems. Smaller pencil jets don't have coat closets and the overheads aren't big enough. They've tried to convince me that it will be OK to put it in cargo...I don't believe them. Luckily, the few times I've been on a smaller plane with my bass there was a spare seat and they let me sit next to it.
  12. You can also do one of SKB's keyboard cases. My wife bought one of those and it comes with enough packing foam to fit it for your gigbag. She flew several different airlines to LA and back that way.

    I also had a friend that took his SKB flight case to someone and had highdensity foam cut to fit his P-Bass. It was like a hardshell that the bass just slid right down into the foam. It was really nice.
  13. If the stand case is only 12.5 inches wide, it's likely not gonna be wide enough for your basses. The construction is AFAICS no better than the Bass Safe, and possibly not as good, and the Bass Safe is made for the job. I really don't think you have to worry about the Bass Safe's level of protection.

    The golf case looks really solid. That would probably protect your stuff fine. But you would probably have to get the 5020:


    You should check the actual dimensions of your gig bag with your basses and any other stuff you need in them. For example, my single bag is 16 by 49. You also want to verify the depth of the case, though it looks as if it should be deep enough.
  14. You are luckier than most I know. Since 9/11, my experience is that there is usually no way you are going to get a bass onto a plane. Given the large number of flights that were cancelled, most of the flights I'm on are packed to the gills! You would be taking a huge risk showing up with only a gig bag for a flight in this day and age. With lightweight, safe case options like the SKB stuff (versus those old 'weighs a ton' Anvil type things), there really isn't much reason to not check an instrument through.

    If you are regularly flying with an instrument, my suggestion is to purchase a good quality, non-boutique, instrument with a very robust design (bolt on maple neck, non-laminated body, etc.) that you would be happy with on a gig, but not totally bummed about if something went wrong. I had a MM Stingray 5 for this purpose, and just checked it through in its case (which at that time was similar to the SKB-type cases... hard plastic with lot's of padding).
  15. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    Really? I've honestly never had a problem...and taken many many flights with a bass, all post-9/11, a large number of which were between NYC and Detroit.
  16. That's cool, and you are lucky. Most planes that I'm on don't even have a closet and there's no way my bag would fit in the overhead compartment of most planes, especially on sold-out flights. However, I don't even attempt it anymore, so your information might be more solid that mine. I do know of a player who has missed a gig somewhat recently (not a good thing) because they would not let him on with his bass and he did not have time to get back home to get a hard case before the flight. I just wouldn't risk it myself, and have gone to the extreme of actually keeping a bass in the city that I travel to most frequently!
  17. brandonwong


    Dec 16, 2003
    Its a long way from Singapore to Canada, so no way they are using a small plane for that. I think its Airbus 330... whatever that means. The only other flight that i'm taking is an internal flight call "Harmony". I hope i'm able to pass on this one.

    I think i will just carry it on and convince the stewards/stewardess to let me pass. I've seen the way the ground crew handle luggages and i'm not comfortable with them hurling boxes with my basses man.

    Especially when its my two new F basses. :)
  18. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    You could also try taking off the neck, I know it might not be your first choice, but it would make the bass fit much easier.
  19. bassgeek

    bassgeek Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    I've had a bad experience with flying with a gig bag before, on Delta. Flight from NY to Miami, no problem. Walked on with my gig bag put it in the overhead bin, done.
    On the way back, though...I checked in, got my boarding pass. It was the woman at the first checkpoint (TSA employee) who would not let me into the gate area. She said I had to check it as baggage (funny, because she wasn't even a Delta employee). I went back to the ticket counter to argue. I had a few hours to kill, so I pulled out all the stops. The "head" supervisor wouldn't budge an inch, even after I told him I had flown down on Delta with no problems. Long story short, I refused to send my bass through baggage and I had to BUY a seat for my bass on the plane! Even the flight attendants couldn't believe it. And when people asked me to move bass, I showed them it's boarding pass! So, it's really luck of the draw. I have a flight case that I use most of the time. It's so heavy, I've thrown my back out by the time I get to the gig. The Bass Safe Richard mentioned looks like a great solution. But, the padlock could pose problems. I know in some instances you can't have your luggage locked anymore.
  20. rontalsaurus


    Aug 19, 2002
    I don't think you can have locks on luggage anymore unless they are the TSA approved ones that can be opened and inspected by the TSA.

    I can't believe the made you buy a seat for your bass. I would have been livid!

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