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Need to fly with a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steve S, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    I recently purchased a Mike Lull P4 and it came with a heavy case. Can I take that on board a plane into luggage? Will the case withstand the travel? Years ago I traveled with an Ovation guitar and it withstood the travel but it was a lot lighter.
  2. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    I travel with mine. It's fine w the hard case. Some people loosen the strings to avoid the slight possibility of the neck warping do to pressure.
  3. ^^This. Carry it on and put it above the seats.
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There's nothing about the air pressure that will cause warping. Or is it another pressure you are talking about?
  5. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    These days, a hard case is going to go into checked baggage because of the dimension limits. You'll need a good soft bag to carry it on, and a good crew will stow it in the closet up front with suits and stuff, if there's room. You probably won't be able to get it into the overhead if the plane is full, even with a bag.

    I just flew a few weeks ago, and my Jag made it through fine checked in a hard case. I brought its wrench and a screwdriver to tweak the setup, since we were playing downtuned to Eb. Otherwise, I could have played it as it was. Nothing moved due to the flight.

    I'm looking to get a good 2 bass bag for any extended travel.
  6. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    The baggage claim workers asked me to do it. I had never heard of warp because if air pressure. Maybe just extra precaution.:confused:
  7. evanoverdrive

    evanoverdrive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dBuenRxMCg Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2011
    I have flown many, many times with my bass and never loosened the strings.Never had any issue.
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I flew a number of times in the last 2 years with a bass. Always in a hardshell case. Almost always with it in the cabin (not checked). The keys are:

    - do whatever you can to be one of the first passengers to board the plane. Different airlines handle boarding order differently. Some will let you pay a little extra for priority boarding.

    - if the plane is decent-sized or bigger, it should have a coat closet. On planes with that, I have always been able to talk the flight attendant(s) into letting me stow the bass in the coat closet. Sometimes, I have had to be insistent that yes, it will fit. I've done it before. A couple of times, the overhead bins were actually big enough and I stowed the bass, in its hardshell case, in an overhead bin.

    - if the plane is smaller and has no coat closet and the overheads are too small (which has happened to me once or twice), I still take it (in the HSC) to the gate and then gate check it. The gate agent will give you a tag for it. You carry it down the jetway with you as you go to board the plane and then leave it, with its tag on it, there, along with peoples' baby strollers and what not. Baggage handlers will then take it and stow it below as one of the last things put in. When you land, you get off the plane and wait immediately after you get off and they'll bring it back to you. Don't go to Baggage Claim to get a bass that you gate checked.

    - did I mention, do WHATEVER you can to be among the first passengers to board? If you are among the last to board, the coat closet and the overheads will possibly all be full and you'll HAVE to gate check it. They will not move anything or make any passengers move anything in order to fit your bass somewhere.

    - I usually wrap packing tape around the case so all the latches are covered, to prevent accidental opening. This is just a precaution in case I do have to gate check it.

    I flew at least once with my EBMM Sterling 2008 Limited Edition. The OHSC for that is honey colored faux lizard skin. I got a LOT of looks carrying that thing around the airport. :)
  9. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Ya we were on the smallest plane USAir has that isn't a turboprop. My case (TSA J bass case) was too long for the tiny coat closet so I gate checked it. A bag MIGHT have fit. Used tape over the latches; forgot about that. DO NOT LOCK THE CASE if you have to check it at the counter.

    Look around at pics of what touring bands carry. Almost all of the ones I know are using heavily padded bags now. In that position, I'd go get a 2 bass bag. This was just a quick out and back gig, no time to buy one and ship it to me unless it was overnight ($$$).

    Some airlines will make you check an HSC regardless, because of dimensions. Best bet is gate check in that case, pun intended.
  10. Maybe you guys mean a rectangle case. Have a molded fender case never had a problem. I also wrapped packing tape around my latches.
  11. Charley Umbria

    Charley Umbria I'm Really a Drummer Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Rock City, TN
    I've had good luck carrying on a Reunion Blues Aero case. It fits into almost any overhead bin, is noticeably more compact than a hard case (almost guitar-sized), and still offers decent protection. Gate checking the aero wouldn't be my first choice, but I think it'd be OK.

    Shameless plug: I ordered my case from BassStringsOnline. Great price and outstanding service, too.
  12. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I am using a molded Fender rectangular J bass case. It's safe, but large. Duct tape is a good alternative for latches, as well. It's strong enough that you don't have to wrap it all the way round.