What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
micha
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What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by micha » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:06 pm

Dear all,
I know that there are a number of other discussions (viewtopic.php?t=118815) on this topic, but I could not find the answer to this specific question.

Allegedly, the best option to carry your guitar on an airplane is as carry-on luggage, because if the instrument travels as a checked bag, it may undergo serious damage, even if its is in a rigid, high-quality case. I have heard that, despite the fact that in the EU there is no law formally allowing to bring musical instruments as carry-on, the crew is usually nice to musicians, and may let them keep the instrument in the cabin, placing it in a designated space for the crew.

I usually travel with Vueling, whose rules (https://www.vueling.com/en/vueling-serv ... al-luggage) on musical instruments are clear:

­­
Musical instruments
- Any instrument inside its case.
- If you wish to carry it on board with you, you can book an extra seat.
So if the flight is overbooked and I bought no extra seat, I may find myself on the plane arguing with the crew, which may ultimately leave me no choice but to carry the guitar as checked-in luggage. So basically I either don't fly, or take the risk of damaging the instrument.

Has any of you been in this specific situation? :? :? :? What happened? Did you manage to sort this out? Did you give up the flight? :D

Thank you for your feedback! :bye: :bye: :bye: :bye:

PS Just out of curiosity, how do world-famous players solve this problem when they travel with their guitar for a performance ? Do they have their own shipping service?
Last edited by micha on Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dan5001
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by dan5001 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:17 pm

I've always been allowed to take it on as hand luggage and stick it in the overhead locker. I always checked with the airline first.

celestemcc
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:12 pm

Close... several years ago American Airlines written policy was to allow guitars in the overhead as carry-on luggage and I bought early boarding to get a chance at it. (This was at Boston's Logan airport). I'd even called ahead to American to make sure I could carry the instrument, and I'd carefully checked the dimensions... I was turned away at the TSA checkpoint and told to bring it back to be checked. I did so, and the check-in Agents refused to allow it on even when I showed them American's own written policy. They acted as though they never heard of it and insisted they couldn't allow it because it was in a hard case (not true per their written policy). I had no choice but to check the guitar; the good news was that I didn't take my best instrument. The crew did not offer me a gate-check, because I never even had the chance to get to the gate!

When I finally got on the plane a man walked in after I was seated and placed his electric guitar in a gig bag in the overhead. Maddening...

The case was a bit worse for wear but was otherwise OK. When I got to my destination I called American Airlines to ask about what happened and got a run-around: "airport discretion", and "agents didn't know,". I found out eventually that it was due to equipment -- a slightly smaller version of the specified plane -- from a friend who worked for American as a flight attendant. But written policy did not mention this nor did it mention that it was airport's discretion. With early boarding, it would have been a simple as putting the guitar in the area for items usually used for late boarders. And it would have fit neatly into the overhead.

Policy has (supposedly) changed on US carriers since then, but I haven't tried since. I recently ordered a smaller travel-size guitar that will fit in the overhead without question. I don't play professionally and this will work perfectly for me to keep in shape on vacation. Caveat emptor...
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

micha
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by micha » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:14 am

dan5001 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:17 pm
I've always been allowed to take it on as hand luggage and stick it in the overhead locker. I always checked with the airline first.
That is what I heard as well; but I checked on the website and just called them, they said that I cannot bring it unless I buy an extra seat.

dan5001
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by dan5001 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:34 am

micha wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:14 am
dan5001 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:17 pm
I've always been allowed to take it on as hand luggage and stick it in the overhead locker. I always checked with the airline first.
That is what I heard as well; but I checked on the website and just called them, they said that I cannot bring it unless I buy an extra seat.
I guess that's the way air travel is going. Extra charges for everything 🙁

micha
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by micha » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:59 am

celestemcc wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:12 pm
Close... several years ago American Airlines written policy was to allow guitars in the overhead as carry-on luggage and I bought early boarding to get a chance at it. (This was at Boston's Logan airport). I'd even called ahead to American to make sure I could carry the instrument, and I'd carefully checked the dimensions... I was turned away at the TSA checkpoint and told to bring it back to be checked. I did so, and the check-in Agents refused to allow it on even when I showed them American's own written policy. They acted as though they never heard of it and insisted they couldn't allow it because it was in a hard case (not true per their written policy). I had no choice but to check the guitar; the good news was that I didn't take my best instrument. The crew did not offer me a gate-check, because I never even had the chance to get to the gate!

When I finally got on the plane a man walked in after I was seated and placed his electric guitar in a gig bag in the overhead. Maddening...

The case was a bit worse for wear but was otherwise OK. When I got to my destination I called American Airlines to ask about what happened and got a run-around: "airport discretion", and "agents didn't know,". I found out eventually that it was due to equipment -- a slightly smaller version of the specified plane -- from a friend who worked for American as a flight attendant. But written policy did not mention this nor did it mention that it was airport's discretion. With early boarding, it would have been a simple as putting the guitar in the area for items usually used for late boarders. And it would have fit neatly into the overhead.

Policy has (supposedly) changed on US carriers since then, but I haven't tried since. I recently ordered a smaller travel-size guitar that will fit in the overhead without question. I don't play professionally and this will work perfectly for me to keep in shape on vacation. Caveat emptor...
Thank you for your reply, you must have been pretty upset seeing the guy with the gig bag... :evil:

amade
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by amade » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:54 pm

The gig bag might have been the key. I was told that most of the time a guitar in a gig bag won't be checked because the chance of costly damage is too high. So they prefer to let you put it in the closet or in the overhead.

There is a relatively new FAA rule that if a guitar will fit in an open overhead it can be taken on the plane. You can google it and read the exact language.
DJB

celestemcc
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:38 pm

There is a relatively new FAA rule that if a guitar will fit in an open overhead it can be taken on the plane. You can google it and read the exact language.
Is is a new rule, I've read it... but I just don't trust them anymore, as even when the new rules took effect there were still problems (plenty of examples of them available on line). It was damned upsetting to get to the airport (after having been reassured by American Airlines) that I could bring it on board, to be told I couldn't take it on.
I was told that most of the time a guitar in a gig bag won't be checked because the chance of costly damage is too high. So they prefer to let you put it in the closet or in the overhead.
And yet guitars and other instruments in sturdy cases that are checked as luggage get damaged pretty frequently. Plenty of those stories, too. (Rene Izquierdo among others.) Like you can travel with a full-size classical guitar in a gig bag...!
Thank you for your reply, you must have been pretty upset seeing the guy with the gig bag... :evil:
To say the least!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:38 pm

A couple things to add here:
First off, don't ask any questions, the answers are typically yes on the phone and no in person. So I never bother. I have also never had TSA say or do anything about the guitar except look closely at those gel bags I may have in there for humidification. They don't care if you bring it on board, its airline-specific.
Do get early boarding. The FAA rule states that guitars and smaller instruments must be allowed on the plane, IF THERE IS ROOM. That is the key, so if you are last to board and there is no space in the overhead, it will need to be gate checked.
Gate checking has always been okay for me, and far better than the alternative (under the plane with checked baggage, pick it up at the carousel, asking for trouble).
Another tip, if they tell you to gate check it because the overheads are too small or there is no room, you can take the tag and then take it on anyhow, done this before. But if the overheads really are too small, prepare to be embarrassed in front of your fellow passengers.
Final tip: always smile and be nice...also never be late for the plane...being a jerk and/or being late is a recipe for disaster.
2017 Glenn Canin Spruce

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mverive
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by mverive » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:49 pm

Another option is to have the instrument shipped to you via FedEx or other courier. May cost a bit, but not likely as much as the purchase of a separate seat.

Mike
"(P)Lay on, MacDuff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

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Mollbarre
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by Mollbarre » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:55 pm

Oh boy! Just thinking about doing that is stressful, lol.
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robin loops
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by robin loops » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 pm

mverive wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:49 pm
Another option is to have the instrument shipped to you via FedEx or other courier. May cost a bit, but not likely as much as the purchase of a separate seat.

Mike
I was going to suggest this. At this point, it’s probably cheaper than even paying the extra carry-on or checked baggage fees. And you can insure it for the value of the guitar as well. Even if you’re traveling to a random place and don’t have someone that lives there to ship it to, you can try to have it shipped to your hotel and if they won’t allow it, try local music stores.

Another option entirely if you’re not giving a concert and just want a guitar to play, is to look into a rental guitar at your destination.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

celestemcc
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:45 pm

I have also never had TSA say or do anything about the guitar except look closely at those gel bags I may have in there for humidification.
Tried that. Wish it had worked. I never even got into the TSA line: the agent at the head of the line, right before you get to the desk to show your ID, wouldn't let me in. Period. Wouldn't even talk about it. She had her job and that was that. (Even though she was wrong)... and I did buy early boarding for precisely the reason of room. And ultimately I did board early (sans guitar) and there was indeed plenty of room. That electric-in-a-gig-bag boarded later than me and got room. My friend who worked for American at the time (a flight attendant) told me after the fact that they routinely wouldn't allow instruments on that particular model of jet: it was large enough by far but the overheads were just a bit smaller (more seats on the plane). There was still plenty of room. But it was in contradiction of American's written policy and not their own policy, printed, would change their minds. Grrrr.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
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John Oster
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by John Oster » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:11 pm

That happened to me last year on Alaska Airlines. There was no room in the overhead storage, so they "gate checked" it, which means instead of being mangled by untrained apes, just one human put (or probably tossed) it in with the other luggage. The case was quite scratched but my guitar was fine.
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micha
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Re: What if your guitar is refused as carry on and you are already on the plane?

Post by micha » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:32 am

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:38 pm
A couple things to add here:
First off, don't ask any questions, the answers are typically yes on the phone and no in person. So I never bother.
In my case the answer has been clearly no on the phone... :o I am afraid that with low cost companies there is going to be little margins to negotiate when on the plane.

I also spoke to a friend of mine who has been working at Ryanair as a flight attendant, and she said that they have never let a guitar at carry on, that the only option is to check it in, or buy an extra seat :(

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