How to buy a Cremonasia flight case

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by pklima, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Long and ridiculous story... perhaps it belongs in the humor section...

    A few months ago I decided to move from Texas to Poland in September or thereabouts. I decided to buy a flight case and take my bass with me. Finding no used or cheap cases anywhere nearby, I contacted Jacques Gagnon (Cremonasia) about his cases. He sells them for $990 plus shipping, which would be around $800 for surface or $1100 for air. I knew some people who were going to be traveling to the Philippines during the summer so I just bought a case and told Jacques I'd have somebody pick it up for me - I could save a few bucks that way. I found someone trustworthy and willing to take on the task. He was leaving in mid-July and coming back August 3rd. Things got slightly more complicated when my plans for moving to Poland got accelerated and I bought a ticket for August 6th - there wasn't any room for error anymore.

    So my friend gets to the Philippines. He succeeds in getting a visa allowing him to return to the US - that's good. Then things start to get more complicated. Jacques is 100 km from Manila in other direction, my friend is 100 km in the other and he's only going to be in Manila the day before his departure. Then Jacques' station wagon is stolen with about a week to go so he's going to have to rent a van. Nothing really bad so far, though - I can pay him for the van rental so it doesn't come out of his pocket. My friend makes arrangements with the Cathay Pacific airline to take the case as oversize luggage for $640. Then the day before Cathay Pacific calls him, tells him the plane's too full and they can't. That leaves sending it as cargo which would be much more expensive - over $1000. He finds a cargo forwarder who's willing to send it for under $800 but they want cash and he doesn't have enough at hand. I consider a Western Union transfer but call my friend and ask him how he sends money to the Philippines. He suddenly realizes that he never does because his father was also at our university some time ago and still keeps an account in our credit union. He's sure he can find his father and his ATM card if I transfer the money into the account. So I do that, he leaves for Manila and is unable to communicate with me after that point.

    As I found out after he got to Texas, my friend got to the airport, met up with Jacques and got the case. Before sending it as cargo, he tried to talk the people at the counter into taking it as oversize luggage after all. They told him they couldn't but if they could it would cost $310. So $200 in bribes for five people later, oversize luggage it was.

    Changing planes and going through customs in Los Angeles wasn't much of a problem. The case did get a thorough inspection. Recheching it as oversized luggage wasn't much of a problem - the airport worker said something about how it should be sent cargo but since it was taken as oversize luggage in Manila he had to send it on as such.

    The case is now at my house. I'm going to pay my friend $200 for his efforts and resourcefulness.... still adds up to less than surface freight would have been. Hopefully getting this thing with a bass inside on a plane to Poland in a few days will prove a lot less interesting.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Ya know, somebody oughta set up some kind of board to connect cats buying Gagnon basses and cats buying Gagnon cases, cause getting the bass AND the case over together should be way less than getting them both over seperately...
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    After all that, how d'ya like the case?
  4. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    I'll post more about the case this evening... I only saw it for a few minutes during my lunch break. On first impression it looks like an excellent design, though.
  5. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    First I should say that I've never even seen another bass flight case in real life. Those of y'all who know a little more about such things should probably ask me some specific questions... But here are my impressions, take them for what they're worth.

    The case seems well-designed and well-made. Sticking a bass in or taking it out is easy even in the vertical position. The wheels roll smoothly and work very well for rolling on a good flat surface, don't yet know about broken-up sidewalks or going over curbs. The bow case pocket in the back will hold a "bow case" made from a piece of drainpipe but that will get in the way of loading a bass in there, at least if it's a roundback. Any normal flat bow case should be fine.

    I had to remove a little of the foam (easily accomplished - all the foam sits in zippered bags and is in several layers to make such adjustments easier) to make my bass (a short 7/8) fit but there's still plenty of padding in the back, at the sides and the bottom. There's no foam over the bridge and strings, though, just the tuxedo bag. Since I don't own a tuxedo, I guess I'll stick a camouflage sweatshirt in there instead for a little extra cushion.

    The finish is apparently easily scratched and Jacques knows this as he taped two layers of thick cardboard around almost the entire case. After traveling from the Philippines as luggage and changing planes three times, there were around ten gouges in the cardboard and three visible scratches in areas where there was no cardboard. Maybe a less shiny and more scratch-resistant finish, like spray-in bedliner, would be a good idea. The latches are riveted on, though, so can't take them off to repaint the case.

    The case weighs in at around 72-73 lbs total, around 105 lbs loaded with my bass in its bag. I'll weigh it properly at a scale used for liquid nitrogen bottles this evening or tomorrow. It looks to be 23 inches in depth which is 2 inches more than British Airways specifies as their maximum size for a double bass. I hope that won't be a problem at the airport Saturday...