If you are a guitarist then I understand how important it is to take your instrument EVERYWHERE with you. This is essential for any guitar player, However, carrying a guitar on a plane can be a little complicated.
Can I take my guitar on a plane? To ensure you can travel with your guitar you must: Research the airline policy before booking, know the type of plane you are travelling on, pack you guitar according to the law, and book a seat at the front of rear of the plane.
In this article, I have put together the tips that are required to ensure a positive experience when travelling with your guitar. So, here are some tips that you may find useful to ensure a happy flight!
1. Research The ‘Airline Policy’ Before Booking:
Even though the law does state that guitarists can take their guitar on a plane, there are some exceptions. These exceptions are to protect the safety of air passengers and crew and for security reasons.
All airlines are different and you will find a very small portion of airlines may not permit guitars to carry. This is because they may lack the resources for you to safely bring your guitar on and so you will to check with the airline and see their policies.
You can check for airline policies on their website in advance to make sure, if they allow guitars as carry-ons. If the information on their website is not clear enough, then call ahead and ask them directly.
2. Know Your Airplane:
It is important to know your specific airline rules, but even if an airline does permit a guitar as carryon luggage, they can reject your guitar if the plane is overcrowded.
This means you can minimize the risk but do not forget to take notice of the size of airplane you are flying. Generally, the bigger airplanes have more space making it more likely that your guitar will fit in the overhead bin. The idea is (if possible) choose the airline that often uses airplanes with more spacious cabins.
To be more certain, speak to an airline representative when booking to make sure the overhead bin in your aircraft has enough room for your guitar case.
3. Pack Your Guitar Properly For Air Travel
Even when bringing your guitar as carry-on, you should pack it up with care before flying. This is important for two reasons. The first is because the law permits it and the second is because you want to protect your guitar from being banged during flight.
Here are some tips for packing to ensure your guitar arrives at the destination safe and sound:
- Use a sturdy case. When it comes to choosing a suitable case for flying, either a flight case or a standard hard case will do. Flight cases are strong and very hard to break, but they can be quite expensive. You can invest in a standard hard case instead – more economical, and also protects your guitar from hard impacts way better than a gig bag.
- Add some extra padding. If your case isn’t molded, wrap your guitar in bubble wrap and fill in any extra space in the case with a few t-shirts to provide better cushioning and to ensure that your guitar stay in place during the flight.
4. De-tune before flying? – No need to!
You may have heard several times that you should loosen the strings of your guitar before taking it on a flight. The reason being is that it protects the guitar from the change in pressure and temperature when flying.
This practice started a long time ago before aircraft cargo holds were not pressurized. Nowadays, the plane’s cabin and cargo hold are both pressurized and temperature controlled, so there is no additional stress due to air pressure on a plane that may damage your guitar.
5. Book Your Seat At The [Front Or Rear] Of The Plane:
Some people easily agitated when travelling and lugging a guitar case around with you can clunky and obstruct other people especially when is closed spaces like an aircraft.
This means you want to avoid carrying your guitar down the plane isle when there are many people around you settling into their seat. You can do this easily if you book your seat at the top or the bottom of the plane.
If you book your seat and the top or bottom of the plane it means that you will be the first or last person to enter the plane. Being the first/last person to board the plane, will allow you to carry your guitar without causing other passengers any trouble or inconvenience. Therefore, try to get yourself a good seat!
6. Book A Seat For Your Guitar:
If you are carrying a very expensive vintage guitar then you will want to book an extra seat for your guitar, to ensure you are 100% protected. This is necessary if they value of the guitar is worth a lot more than the ticket, encase the very unlikely event that the plane is full and they will not accept it.
If your budget allows, just go ahead and book an extra seat. Your guitar will have enough space it needs, and you can keep it company during the flight. Especially when you own an incredibly valuable guitar, this is the only way to ensure 100% that the airline will accept the guitar as a carryon.
In this article, I went over six essential tips for carry your guitar on a plane. This tips help you protect your guitar, help protect other passengers and ensure your guitar is accepted by the airline.
I did briefly go over the law that protects you and your guitar. However, to learn more about the specific law that protects you and your guitar. I breakdown the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403 so you can understand your ‘specific rights’ when travelling.