Can you carry a guitar onto the plane?

Jul 4th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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Can you carry a guitar onto the plane?

I know there is an Airlines forum, but I usually get many more responses here.

My teenage son, who stays glued to his guitar during his waking hours (usually 2pm-6am ), has informed me that he wants to carry a guitar on our vacation. Last year, he brought a heavy (space) metal (space) guitar (not a heavy metal guitar) home from vacation, in cabin; however, it was in a regular guitar case. This time, he wants to take a light-weight acoustic one.

Is this allowed? Or would guitar strings be considered a possible "weapon"?

I would just as soon buy an inexpensive acoustic guitar when we reach our destination, if we're going to have to check it and pay an $80 extra luggage fee.

Does anyone know? If you tell me this is O.K., I'll verify it with America West, but I figure I'll get a quicker answer here.
dwoodliff is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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The issue is one of size, not potential weaponry. And it would depend on how strict the gate people were being on that particular day - since a guitar is over-sized for carry-on on any airline I can think of.

My brother investigated this last Christmas and his issue was not extra luggage fee but breakage as checked luggage. He would have had to buy a hard (metal, thick plastic, etc - not the usual cardboardy types) and the cost was prohibitive. So he left it home.
gail is online now  
Jul 4th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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Gail: My old computer is working like a charm this morning (huh?), so I went to the America West website and looked up the rules regarding musical instruments. The rule, for AW at least, is that these items may be carried on in cabin as long as the length + width + height does not equal more than 45". I measured my son's acoustic (no case), and it came to 48", so I guess the answer is no. Either we:
1. buy a smaller guitar,
2. buy a case and put it in cargo,
3. check it without a case and sign a release of liability, or
4. leave it at home.
I guess my next question about whether he can PLAY the guitar in cabin is a moot point.

By the way, we bought a resonator guitar with case last year in SF. It is at least as large as the acoustic, and my son carried it on an AA flight without any questions. I can't remember for sure, but my daughter says she thinks the FA took it and stood it up in the front of the plane.


dwoodliff is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Your other alternative is to buy it a seat. I have trveled a couple of times on a plane with musical groups (not with them - just on the same plane) and each of the instruments had its own seat- thus getting around the carry-on size rule.

But it sounds like it would be cheaper to buy one at your desination.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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We returned from BJX to DFW with a woman and her daughter who carried a guitar in a standard case on board on 6/22. The wonderful AA FA (despite all the prior criticisms) stuck it in the upright storage without a problem.
mikemo is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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Only singing nuns in the company of sick childen may carry and play guitars on airplanes.
logandog is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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I just flew America West from DC to LA, the guy next to me was very peeved that he had to check his guitar as baggage.
I truly think it depends upon the mood of the check-in agent.

Once I flew from LAX to Honolulu sitting next to a cello that had its own seat!
vivi is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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I'm a violinist & always contact the airline I'll be flying to make sure they will let me bring my instrument on board. After 9/11, the AFofM (musicians union) had to negotiate lots of new rules with the airlines regarding instrument carry-ons, because most instruments are in strangely shaped cases, and don't fit within the guidelines. A guitar will NOT fit in the overhead baggage area of most planes. You will have to put it in the closet, or check it, which will destroy it. Unless you can buy a VERY sturdy case made specifically for travel, you will need to call the airline & ask them ahead of time about carrying it on, just to make sure. Otherwise, don't bring the guitar at all, because if they make you check it in a softer style case, it will be crushed. Good luck.
amp322 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2004, 11:22 PM
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I was on an EasyJet flight last year, when someone pulled out a guitar and started singing. His partner then began passing the hat around.

Talk about a captive audience! We were laughing, but the flight attendant was not amused. The guitar disappeared quickly.
Queenie is offline  
Jul 5th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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Queenie: I had almost the same thing happen a few years ago on a group-chartered bus going to Monterrey, Mexico. The bus stopped briefly on the side of the road, then continued on. The next thing we knew, there was this guy standing in the aisle playing a guitar and singing. After he finished, he passed his hat around, the driver stopped the bus, and let him off. Obviously, the driver knew the guy and had done this before.
dwoodliff is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 10:51 PM
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This time my daughter, rather than my son, ended up buying a guitar (and hard case) on our trip. AW instructed us to "gate-check" it and retrieve it as we exited both legs of our flight. I thought this meant it would be stood up in front of the plane, but on our 2nd leg, I saw an employee lightly toss it onto a conveyor belt near the door of the plane (cringe). Thank goodness for the hard case.

dwoodliff is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 11:17 PM
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DH has traveled around the world many times with his equipment and thinks nothing of checking his guitars. As the electronics have gotten smaller, he now carries his head in a gig bag, but speaker cabinets have flight cases and are checked with his luggage. Things I have learned from my travels with my husband: you can duct tape two guitar cases together and check it as one piece of luggage; there is just no good way to travel with an upright bass; and flight attendants will definitely remember you if your husband travels with an ukulele (and takes requests from other passengers, ignoring his wife's pleas to stop).
here_today_gone2Maui is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 04:42 AM
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Please let me know to where and when your husband is flying - the thought of listening to a ukelele - no matter how skillfully played and even if I can make requests - would tempt me to find a way to open the emergency door in flight.
gail is online now  

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