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Gate Checking axe onto airplane?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassTerd, Oct 14, 2005.


  1. BassTerd

    BassTerd Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    How safe is it to gate check your axe on the plane?
    I'm going to new york via delta next week and don't have the dough to buy a case. I used to be able to take my axe on the plane but the last time I flew delta last feburary they didn't let me and they made me gate check it.

    Does anyone know of any way to sneak an axe onto the plane? What about taking the neck apart and putting the neck and body in a smaller bag? Is that ok to do? Or I can probably carry the body onto the plane and shove the neck down my pant leg. If they ask me whats in my pants and can tell them its my wood.
     
  2. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    A word of warning . . .
    I was in NYC 3 weeks ago with my band. We got there OK (Delta) with the instuments hand carried INTO the passenger area and stored in the overhead bins. But leaving NYC (Delta - Kennedy Int'l) they INSISTED that we check the instruments (all of them in gig bags) at the ticket counter - NOT GATE-CHECKED!!!!!!!!!! My bass arrived home OK, but one of the guitars was damaged-the pickup selector switch was bent over sideways, almost touching the pickguard! Good luck...
     
  3. sedgdog

    sedgdog

    Jan 26, 2002
    Pasco, WA
    most of the time I have found gate checking is nothing more than an attendant throwing it on top of all the other baggage at the boarding gate. I would not gate check without a hard case.

    Good luck,
    Tim
     
  4. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Do not gate check a bass without a hardcase. You will seriously regret it if you do. Treat the bass like you were going to ship it. Wrap it in some bubble tape and such.
     
  5. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    +100,000,000.

    Your BEST bet is to spend $100 on a case. Bring it to the gate and make arrangements with the agent there to put it on the plane once all the other bags have loaded (make sure you explain how important/fragile it is).

    If you ask politely, chances are good they will notify the ground crew to have it pulled as soon as they open the baggage doors once you get to your arrival destination, leaving it on the jetway and saving it from going through the airline conveyor/crusher system. I've done this a bunch of times on UAL and AA and it has worked beautifully every time. JUST REMEMBER TO ASK THEM NICELY!!!

    Lonnybass
     
  6. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I have yet to have a problem carrying my gig bag(at times a double gig bag)onto a Plane.one main thing is make sure you arrive(check in)early to get a early seating to get on the plane before there are barely any seats left,once I made the mistake of allowing the plane to get very crowded and ended up being very very close to being the last person to board and the flight attendants saw that I had a gig bag,they were very nice and instead of saying I had to check it another way they found a nice spot behind the last row of seats and the attendant nicely asked me if I thought my instrument would fit safely and I looked into it and it would and from there I placed my instrument snugly behind the seat(between the seat and the wall).

    And remember be very nice to the attendants.

    p.s.

    For what ever it's worth,I have never gate checked my Bass and I've yet to use a HSC while traveling by plane.
     
  7. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    If you aren't they won't be nice to you. ;) I would probably just carry my gig bag on the plane, like Jauqo said.
     
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I would not depend on being allowed to carry the instrument onboard. I would not pin my hopes to the cooperation of the flight attendants to find a suitable place to stash it. I would not even feel secure checking it into the luggage hold in an ordinary hardshell case.

    The only secure way to travel by air is with the instrument safely tucked away in an ATA-approved flight case. In most cases, if the instrument is damaged in transit using anything other than an ATA-approved flight case, the airline will refuse to reimburse you - thus rendering you out of luck.

    So two points:

    1) The instrument is going to be much safer in an ATA case, and...

    2) Even if the instrument is damaged in its ATA case anyway (always a possibility), the airline will usually be less slippery about ducking out on its obligation to pay up...

    I realize a good flight case can cost $200 - $300. Depends on how much the instrument means to you. And how lucky you feel...

    MM
     
  9. willgroove2

    willgroove2

    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    +1 and let me say again BE EARLY AS YOU CAN CHECKING IN,i have had to gate -check my bass in a gig bag 2-3 times,no a good feeling.in fact if given a choice i will not fly ATA (american trans air)because their policy is to over-book their planes and they put up a major fuss about large carry-on's.be early,that gives you time to resolve any problem's and remain nice and calm.
     
  10. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.


    I agree,if it's up to me I never fly ATA(american trans air).
     
  11. And don't talk about putting an AXE on a plane. Call it a bass or a guitar or something.
     
  12. Spector_Ray

    Spector_Ray

    Aug 8, 2004
    Texas
    All of these suggestions are great advice and I'd take everything into consideration. The one constant here is that there is no consistency what so ever when it comes to matters such as yours. The best thing to do is to buy a hardshell case. If you don't have the money, beg, borrow or steal to get one. It's probably the cheapest insurance you can have. Secondly, call the airline and ask them about their policy. This never hurts and be sure to write down the name of the person you spoke with that way you'll have some ammo if anyone else gives you crap. And finally, remember these three letters C...Y...A...! You can never be too careful and anyone can claim that your equipment is YOUR responsibility and not theirs even though you're trusting them to get it from point A to point B in the condition it left your hands.
     
  13. jaymeister99

    jaymeister99

    Aug 2, 2005
    Be careful in NYC whether its La Gardia or JFK, they are notorious for damaging luggage. I know I have had luggage damaged on 3 different occassions. Im talking the bags themself have been broken, not to mention items inside broken too.

    Definitely put the bass in a hard case with loads of padding if you are going to check it in, and expect at least some scuffing on the case. Those guys loading the planes at JFK are maniacs, they literally throw the baggage in and out of those planes.

    If you plan on checking the bass in a gig bag then expect to have it back damaged if you are going through a NY airport. I can just about guarantee you it will get beat up. Find a way, anyway to get the dough together for a decent hard case!!!
     
  14. BassTerd

    BassTerd Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    thanks to everyone for replying. I ordered the SKB-44rw bass safe from musicians friend. They are selling them for $104 free shipping. It came out to $99 with the ascap discount. Now I just hope that it gets to me by thursday when I leave.
     
  15. I generally dislike SKB cases, but they have "bass safe" mod #44Rw, that is around $110.00 or so, and they are the nazz. I shipped a bass to Tokyo and it was just fine. also they have rollers, you just put your gig bag in it and go.
     
  16. Sutton

    Sutton

    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    wise advice
     
  17. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    Words of warning with the SKB bass safe:the latches tend to pop open, the padlock attaching areas bend easily, and instruments can get damaged in the case-my bass received a big gash in the bridge.
    Airlines seem more accomadating about allowing bass guitars on board as TSA recomends string instruments be carried on board, and many airlines now exempt musical instrument from their luggage liability, meaning you check it at your own risk. I had the delta hassle at jfk, and ended up collecting $800 in damages after I bought the bas safe, courtesy in customs. If you're crossing borders and your checked luggage arrives later than you, locks can and will be cut, sometimes instrument control cavities ransacked, and you'll find your bass tuned way high at bizarre intervals. It helps to be elite with frequent fliers so you can be one of the first to board. When possible consolidate your mileage to one carrier group, like star alliance, skyteam, etc. I fly at least 30 flights per year...
     
  18. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    One other thing, with a flight case, some agents will pull out a tape measurer faster than you can say bass. Some airlines used to offer excess valuation for checked luggage, to increase their liabilty for about $10 per $1000. Non of them do it for musical instruments for the last 5 months. An Air France flight, insisted I bring my hardcase on board! Also with the bass safe, the wheels are good for 1 flight, if you get 2 flights...bring spares and the screw axles...
     
  19. Without an ATA case

    My bass was in its hardcase going from miami to heathrow then glasgow, and it firstly got lost, then when i got it back about a week later the case was in bits, really badly dented and cracked, the duct tape i put round it held it together tho and the bass was fine, thankfully!
     
  20. DGbass70

    DGbass70

    Jun 1, 2005
    Rochester N.Y.
    OK PEOPLE.................I AGREE WITH SOME PEOPLE HERE.(BUY A HARD CASE)

    NOW....................FIRST OFF HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER WORK FOR AN AIRLINE? OR ANY OF YOU HAPPEN TO BE FRECUENT FLYER............THERE'S QUITE A FEW THINGS HERE THAT ARE TRUE(TAPE MEASURE)YES THERE'S LIMITATIONS,BUT THERE'S ALSO EXCEPTIONS.......WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS CALL THE AIRLINE AND ASK,IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT......SOMETIMES YOU CAN TAKE YOUR(BASS) ON BOARD IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT CITY ARE YOU FLYING INTO,WHY? BECAUSE OF THE TYPE OF AIRCRAFT,SOME CITIES HAVE REGIONAL JET SERVICE(SMALL JET WITH OF COURSE SMALL OVERHEAD BINS) SOME CITIES HAVE THE BIG JETS...IF YOU KNOW THAT IS A BIG JET TAKE YOUR BASS WITH YOU ON YOUR GIG BAG.IF IS REGIONAL JET OR MAYBE EVEN A PUDDLE JUMPER(PROP PLANE)GATE CHECK IT,BUT WITH A HARD CASE.