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Taking bass on an airplane

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassTerd, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. BassTerd


    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'm going to be going to guantanamo cuba to perform for the troops at a christmas concert. I want to know if it possible to bring my bass into the cabin as a carry on? I don't trust the airline people with my axe and don't want them bashing it up.
  2. Emperor Elite

    Emperor Elite

    Oct 20, 2004
    New Jersey
    Get yourself a good ATA approved flightcase for your bass. There is no guarantee that the flight crew will allow you to bring your axe into the cabin. Getting your axe on board will be particularly difficult if you are on a full flight. A good quality ATA case will protect your bass. You can lock it, so that people can't mess with it. If you don't like that idea, then I'd get a cheap-o travel bass; this is what I did when I went to China. I put it into a gig back, they made me do a GATE CHECK, and I picked it up at the gate after the flight. DO NOT CHECK THE BASS AT THE COUNTER, BRING IT TO THE GATE, TRY TO GET IT ON BOARD, AND FIGHT WITH THEM LIKE CRAZY ABOUT PUTTING IT IN THE HOLD. IF THEY ARE ADAMANT, THEN REQUEST A GATE CHECK IN.

    Good luck,

  3. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    you should be fine. I've done it many times. Make sure you've got a well padded gig bag and it should be just fine in the overhead bins. there was one time I had to hold it on my lap, but that was fine. Even had a stewardess ask me about it one time. Turns out her husband was also a bassist(with the same model), so for that flight my baby rode in a special closet with all of the crew's garment bags and such. Just be nice about it, and they'll usually work with you.
  4. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
    You can't lock any checked baggage anymore. It has to be left unlocked so that they can inspect it after it goes through the x-ray machine.
  5. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    You should call the Airline and see if you can get someone
    on the phone with a brain in there head. I would call some of the larger Bass Shops Like Bass NW and see if they had any
    used or rental road cases. They will most likely make you
    check it. You may wind up buying a Flight case from Armadillo
    or some other case co. When I fly domestic I never tell them
    about the Bass ahead of time. I carry a Undercover case
    Double Gig bag and simply get on the plane and stow it in the
    closet in the bulkhead in first class and I have never had a problem I always just look like I know what I am doing,
    and the Stewardesses like Bass players,they also like Peanut
    M&M's. :cool:
  6. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Thats my first genuine smile today.
  7. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    This has been covered several time. Having the ins in the Airline business I know that there are 2 coat closets in a 737 and bigger. You can ask the attendent to put the bass in one of the closets. As long as it's in a gig bag they won't have any problems. Don't let them give you any slack, fight for it. Like someone said previously, call ahead to see if your flight is full, that may be the only deterant.
  8. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    If they don't allow you to bring the bass on (don't forget to try to give the bass at the cabin crew) FIGHT to store the bass by yourself AT THE END of the luggage boarding procedures (and of course pick it up by yourself after landing).
  9. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I flew to and from Miami last week with American Airlines (Boeing 777). I took my bass in my gig bag and the stewardess had no problems putting it in one of their closets.
    In fact, I saw 2 others guitars / basses aboard despite the
    plane was full.

  10. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
  11. wyliee


    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
    Don't count on it. Alaska Airlines is in the process of removing the coat closets in many of their planes to make room for an extra row of seats. I've run into this issue firsthand when flying with my bass. The flight crew confirmed the closet had been removed.

    Most of the time, I haven't had much of a problem with the flight crew. Security at some airports can be difficult though. San Jose has proven to be the worst in my experience.

    An alternative to the regular ATA bass case, take a look at the SKB Staff Golf Club case. You can fit a double gig bag, spare odds n' ends and some clothing in one. I've done it quite a few times and no one gives it a second glance.

    Have a safe trip!
  12. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    This is what you need:


    The SKB rolling bass-safe.
  13. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    After watching the guys load stuff about a week ago out of the window I will never check my bass again. They were standing about 5 feet from the baggage trolly and throwing the bags onto it, missing sometimes. Regardless of how it was marked. I saw a Dell Computer fall off. That can't be to good.
  14. bassjam

    bassjam Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    Lakland Basses, G&L Basses, Genzler Amplification
    i fly a up to few times a month and have asked several times what the rules are and have recieved several different answers.finally i believe it is up to the gate agent.ive taken mine on several times and had such a hassle with it i broke down and bought a high quality case.our guitar player found out the hard way when he showed up with a gig bag and they said no way.they sent it downstairs and when we got to miami and his guitar was trashed.worse they said since it was not shipped in an ata case the would not pay for it.you can fly a hundred times and may be ok.but that one time they dont let you take it on you will wish you had a case.
  15. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    I've always pondered this too. And have been scared to check a bass after the last flight I had.

    I went to a computer party/conference and had packed up my old pentium machine without a case in my suitcase. And well let's just say there were broken chunks of plastic from the keyboard all over inside at my destination. Bastards...

    I think I should just take the Ashbory as a carry-on and be done with it :)

  16. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    I've had this go both ways since 9/11. I flew with a bass to play some gigs in South America in May. Flying to Miami from Nashville I took it on board. Flying from Miami to Venezuela I had to check it in. My advice is get a good hardshell case, use nylon ties to secure the locks and check it in. It is doubtful that it will get lost and you won't have to go through the hassle of arguing at the gate. Life is too short.
  17. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    Do commercial airlines fly to Guantanamo Bay now? This is a closed military base. I was stationed there for three years and the only flights in and out were military transports, even for civilians and USO entertainers. You took a commercial flight to either Norfolk Va or Jacksonville Fl, and from there it was a military transport like a C-141. When you're dealing with military flight crews, it's a whole new ballgame. Either they will be very cool and let you handle your bass, or they will have armed MP's telling you to hand it over or keep your arse on the ground. Of course that was in the "old days". For all I know you can fly there on Delta now...
  18. BassTerd


    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    There flying us out to florida. From there their going to put us on a jet and push us out with all our gear and maybe a parachute.
  19. BassTerd


    Aug 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    WOuld the airlines allow this in the cabin so you shove it in a closet?
  20. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    I put my gig bag inside a garment bag to go in the closet. Never a hassle and less attractive to thieves. ;)

    (Of course the bag has obvious markings identifying it as mine)