I'm traveling and I need help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Filipus, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    So I'm going from Portugal to the States (utah) at the end of this year and I want to take my bass. I'm flying at American Airlines.
    Does anyone has any experience in this airline? I've read around the web that the best way was to take a gigbag and just ask politely to stock it in the cabin.

    But I've got a problem. AA says in one place that I need to have a hardcase bag and in another one it says I doesn't

    So... What should I do?
    My bass isn't very expensive (its a yamaha rbx374) but its the only bass I have and I really like it so... taking it on the cargo should not be an option.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    How long are you staying?

    Every time I see a thread like this it makes me wonder if buying a cheap bass when you get here is the way to go.
  3. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013

    I'm going to stay 6/7 months. I'm going to the University, have summer vacations and come back. Maybe I should buy a 100 dollar bass there?
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    It seems like such a hassle to travel with a bass, especially if it's one you like and care about.

    Once you're here, maybe you could go to Guitar Center. They'll probably have something used for around $100.

    They also have cheap starter kits that come with a little amp too.

    Though a lot of people travel with basses without any trouble. I'm sure someone will chime in with better information.
  5. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    If your going to spend that much time here, leave your bass at home. Hop on craigslist or other local classified, and find a $100 bass. To fly with a bass, you need an ATA approved flight case, and check it as baggage. That will cost more money than buying a bass when you get here.

    Once your here, you could even buy one of these. http://www.rondomusic.com/bassguitars4.html They get great revues here.
  6. Hotblack

    Hotblack Pay the cost to be the boss. Supporting Member

    May 20, 2002
    Provided content for Genzler Amplification
    I have seen tons of thread (here and other places) about this. Some say that the new airline laws make it mandatory for the airlines to make an instrument carry-on. Others say that it is still up to the whims of the airport and airline staff.
    From what I can tell, here are some things you should do to best increase your chances of bringing your bass with you:
    1. Check-in early.
    Some airlines let you check in up to 24 hours early online. Find out how you can check-in earliest.
    2. Show up to board early.
    You want to be one of the first in line.
    3. Be polite
    If you get much flack, explain that the instrument is very important to you. Try to be firm without being combative. You may loose, but don't be a weenie.
    4. Ask to store it in locker
    I believe you ask this of the flight staff when you board. I think it is a closet designed to hang suits and things of that sort, so it will help if your gig bag has a hanger.
    Be sure to let us all know how things go.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    7 years ago I flew all over the US and Europe with no issues taking my bass (in a gigbag) on board. Just asked for early seating when I got to the gate, and there were never any issues putting it in an overhead, or the closet. Nowadays, I'd stress it bigtime as airlines keep changing the rules, and it seems one never knows what to expect. Seems you can't even count on what the rules say, cuz they'll bend them at times if you're insistant enough.

    Lotta help that was, huh :).

    I bought myself a Kala (2 actually, acoustic, and electric), and then a few months ago one of the Vox basses with the built in amps, for traveling. If I planned on gigging and was going to be gone for as long as you I'd probably either buy an SX for $100, or if it were for a tour/gigging, I'd tape one of my basses up in a case and put it with the baggage. I've done that a bunch of times too, with no issues.

    Oh yeah... there's always the option of taking the neck off and throwing it in a suitcase too. Some people don't like taking their stuff apart though. Even though it's harmless.
  8. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Take the strings off, unscrew the 4 neck screws, package everything up with bubble wrap and carry it on or find a box for a golf club and put the neck in that. If you have a little time on your hands you can use it to your favor.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Every time I have flown with a bass, I have spent hours in advance studying the airline's web site, calling the airline, and scouring TB and other web sites. And every time, I've arrived at the airport to learn that the rules being applied were not what I had been led to believe. Even the employees at the check-in counter and at the gate often have different rules. It simply is not predictable.

    So, I suggest that you do not bring the bass unless you are prepared to check it as luggage. You might get lucky and be allowed to carry it on, but you certainly cannot count on it, no matter what anyone tells you in advance.
  10. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    Yea, I think I may buy a cheap bass in the States. I have no problem dissembling my bass but I'll need the space for other things I believe. Thank you guys <3
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I was visiting my parents for a couple of weeks in fl and needed a guitar there (6 string) for something I was doing. I ordered one from rondo before heading out and had it delivered to their address. Was waiting for me when I arrived. If you know where you're going, and it's possible to do that, well... yeah... :).

    Good luck.
  12. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    The gigbag plan is extremely risky. You up your chances of being allowed into the cabin, but if you get denied your instrument is pretty much doomed.

    The best thing to do is to either get a really good case and check it or to take the neck off and put it in the middle of your clothes in the suitcase. Taking off the neck helps massively because all the lever forces just disappear.
  13. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have flown with my bass many times. I always call the airline ahead of time. They can look up the type of plane that you will be on and let you know if the bass will fit in the over head bin or the closet at the front or rear of the plane.
  15. Filipus


    Jan 29, 2013
    It seems that I have to change planes 3 times and I only have 1 hour between them (so I really have to rush). I can't be early to the planes and make sure everything works alright.. Grawww!

    Thanks a lot guys btw. I still have to decide if I take the neck off or I buy a new cheap bass there.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    If it were me, I'd avoid the hassle and save the luggage space for other things by leaving the bass at home, and do one of the following:

    1. Rent a bass from a music shop for the duration of your stay.

    2. Borrow a bass from someone. Ask the people you know in Utah (or who you meet after arriving) if they know any musicians, or if their friends do, etc. If you're lucky, you might find a "loaner" for free.

    3. Buy a bass in Utah -- and not necessarily a "cheap" one. One option would be to then sell it when you're ready to go back home, in which case you can think of any buy/sell price differential as a "rental fee" (plus a "convenience fee" for not having to haul your own bass). Another option is that you might find something here that you love that you can't easily find at home, and you could ship it home when you leave. That is, think of your visit to the States as a shopping opportunity. And even it takes a while to get there, you'll have your old bass waiting for you when you get back.
  17. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I work in the auto industry and go to most of the international auto shows. I ALWAYS take a bass with me when I go. Usually this one....


    I point this out because it is probably my most irreplaceable instrument. The luthier is no longer building. If I were concerned that it could get damaged or lost, I would not take it.

    I take this one because it has 5-strings and is my shortest, lightest bass and most likely to fit in an overhead compartment IF IT IS IN A GIG BAG. It has been to Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Los Angeles, and Sao Paolo. Multiple times to each of those places. Every time I've used a gig bag, it either fit in the overhead or the crew was very helpful in putting it in the coat closet. On most flights they even stop by my seat during the flight to ask me the usual questions that come from carrying an instrument around. ( are you a professional? ever played for anybody famous? how much does that thing cost? I have a nephew that wants to play....what do you recommend?)

    The one time I took it to LA in a hard-side gig bag that simply LOOKED like a hard case, the flight crew insisted on checking it.


    The part in bold has not been my experience, spanning more than a dozen international trips, as I have noted above. The suggestion to pick up an inexpensive instrument while in Utah is a good one. Of course then you have the same issue in flying home with the newly acquired instrument.

    The part in bold has never failed in my experience.

    This would work. Except in the case of my "designated travel bass" pictured above, and again below, there is one minor little technicality....

    Once that neck comes off, it ain't goin' back on.

    The part in bold is possible but in the many years that I've been traveling with basses, has only happened when I did not use a traditional gig bag. I sweated bullets the whole flight from Detroit to LA. The rectangular hard side case like the one I pictured above made the crew totally unaccommodating when it came to storing in the cabin. When I got off the plane at LA and couldn't find my bass in baggage claim I went to the airline customer assistance office and found out that the flight crew actually did keep it in the cabin, but I was in such a hurry to try to find it in baggage claim, I was off the plane before they could get it back to me. Went back to the traditional bag and no problems since.
  18. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
  19. Wayne1167


    Apr 6, 2010
    Daphne, AL.
    I'd say a gig bag and take it on the plane with you. If you have ever watched baggage handlers throw luggage on and off a plane.