#1
I am a traveling dialysis tech and just got an assignment in Anchorage (woooo!). I am really excited until I starting trying to figure out how to get a guitar out there. I have zero experience flying with a guitar and am unsure how best to do this. Here are the options I have considered, please give me some feedback/experiences on these. (Why don't we have a sticky on traveling with guitars and lessons/tips/successes?)

1. Carry on. I hear that we can bring one on board, but it could get sticky. I am also thinking if I do this I will want to get the 'guitar shaped' case for space/size consideration. (This seems like the best option, but I am worried I will be forced to check the guitar into the cargo hold at some point in the boarding process.)

2. Shipping my guitar out there. Given the prices I am expecting about $80 shipping and some wait.

3. Checking the guitar as luggage. (Not really considering this as an option. Airlines are rather rough with luggage it seems. Anyone have good experiences with this?)

4. Just ordering a cheap one online and if anything is wrong when it gets there, no harm, I can send it back and get a refund.

5. Local Classifieds and get a used one to use until I leave, then sell it.

6. Disassemble the guitar and pack it in my luggage wrapped in my clothes. (I did this when I took my bass to the Philippines.) (Not a bad idea.....hmmm)

Maybe I should poll this? Any feedback or experiences would be so welcome.
Last edited by bass.desires at May 24, 2016,
#2
If your guitar is a bolt-on neck and you're comfortable taking it apart and putting it back together, that's what I'd do. Never, under any circumstances, let baggage handlers touch your guitar. They are called tossers for good reason, and many of them are disrespectful pieces of shit who deliberately destroy fragile luggage because they know they won't be held responsible and they think it's funny. I've traveled with my guitar, and the last time I was told that there wasn't room in the closet in the cabin, and I'd have to check my guitar, I skipped the flight and waited 8 hours for the next one. I'd cancel my travel plans before letting them touch my guitar. If there's room though, they'll usually let you bring it in the cabin, and the flight attendants will put it in the closet behind the cockpit, and give it to you on your way off the plane. Thing is, they use that same closet for passengers' walkers and wheelchairs and shit like that, and there might not be room. Safest bet, if you're willing the spend the money, would be to ship it. Put it in a hard case, put that in a big cardboard box, packed in with padding and shit, and UPS it.
Guitars
Schecter Hellraiser C-1FR, C-1 Classic, Hellraiser Hybrid Solo-II, Special Edition E-1FR-S
Orange Rockerverb 50 212
Basses
Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#3
Quote by bass.desires


1. Carry on. I hear that we can bring one on board, but it could get sticky. I am also thinking if I do this I will want to get the 'guitar shaped' case for space/size consideration. (This seems like the best option, but I am worried I will be forced to check the guitar into the cargo hold at some point in the boarding process.)



Yeah, they recently passed a new law about that that had musicians all happy for about 5 minutes. They say they have to allow you to bring your instrument as a carry on, but there's size regulations with the new law, and it turns out that anything bigger than a violin or ukulele doesn't count, so nothing has changed. Like I put in my previous post, if you don't check it, and bring it right up to the gate, they'll let you store it in the cabin closet, if there's room. If not though, they will tell you that you have to check it. I haven't worried about that too much myself, because I'm never in a hurry, and usually fly standby, so it doesn't cost me anything extra if I skip a flight and get the next one, which I have done after being told I'd have to check my guitar. But if you can't afford to miss your flight, and then there's no room in the cabin, you'll be SOL and have to check it. Then you get to spend the whole flight wondering how hard your guitar was thrown against the wall of the cargo hold, how many times it was kicked and knocked around with other suitcases, and if it even made it to the cargo hold, because baggage handlers have been caught countless times stealing valuable things from people's luggage.
Guitars
Schecter Hellraiser C-1FR, C-1 Classic, Hellraiser Hybrid Solo-II, Special Edition E-1FR-S
Orange Rockerverb 50 212
Basses
Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#4
Also, either way, enjoy Alaska. I'm from Fairbanks. Good place.
Guitars
Schecter Hellraiser C-1FR, C-1 Classic, Hellraiser Hybrid Solo-II, Special Edition E-1FR-S
Orange Rockerverb 50 212
Basses
Yamaha RBX374 and Washburn MB-6
#5
The few times I flew with a guitar that I didn't check as luggage, the flight attendants were kind enough to offer to let me put it in the suit hanging closet. Which is good because I really didn't have a plan once I got onto the plane with it Nowadays nearly every airline lets you check a bag right at the gate and its waiting for you right when you get off the plane. Best case, you can walk on the plane with it expecting to be able to put it in the suit closet. Worst case, you check it at the gate and get it immediately after getting off the plane. Whichever you end up doing, I've been told it's wise to detune your guitar about a step or maybe a little more.

Enjoy Alaska! IMO its the most gorgeous place I've been to so far in my life. Loved the vibe, the weather, the wildness of it (watch out for moose and bears on the highway. seriously), everything. Didn't spend a whole lot of time in Anchorage but I do clearly recall seeing a music store there so you might even consider not bringing anything and just hoping to find something cheap there. At the very least you can maintain a supply of strings and picks.


7 String+ ERG Legion!!

LTD Snakebyte
Agile AL-727
ESP Horizon
Warmoth Swirled 7
Schecter C-1 Classic
Frankentele
Laney Ironheart 60w + Avatar Cab

Last edited by SYLrules88 at May 24, 2016,
#6
bigg is onto something. get a bolt on guitar and take the neck off the body and throw it in your suitcase. however, make sure you have a screw driver and allan wrenches, etc. if you didn't have those, that would suck.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

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alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



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#7
I've flown with my acoustic and once with a ukulele is my checked bag I just asked for a fragile tag to put on them. I haven't had any issues, aside from my strings getting super rusty from the difference in weather. I have a hard case though.
#8
every option you list except #3 will work.

personally i'd gig bag in the overhead bin or smile nice for the flight attendant to put with the suits. if asked nicely, they're pretty good about helping passengers.

taking the neck off and packing/shipping isn't a bad idea either, as a second option.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#9
Quote by bass.desires
I am a traveling dialysis tech and just got an assignment in Anchorage


Who the hell did YOU piss off?

Google "United Breaks Guitars".

First suggestion would be to buy a different guitar.

VoyageAir makes folding guitars (both acoustic and electric) that are actually excellent guitars and they're designed to fold up and fit in other luggage or fit into overheads. http://www.voyageairguitar.com/

Carvin/Kiesel and others make headless guitars that have full 25.5" and even 27" scales with 24-fret necks, etc., that are only 31" long and 5-6 lbs. That's about 10" less than most electrics and half the weight of some LPs. You stand a MUCH better chance of getting one of those into the cabin (rather than the luggage compartment) of a plane. http://www.kieselguitars.com/catalog/guitars/v6

Buy or rent a different case.

Anvil and others make flight cases that are heavy, awkward, big and brutal. But they're also serious protection for your guitar. Ignore any of the people who make ABS/plastic type "flight" cases. If you have a "normal" shaped guitar, you'll be able to sell the case after your trip and you'll have written it off as a business expense anyway (though you won't be calling it a *guitar* case when you do). The right kind of case will surround every part of your guitar (particularly the headstock) with foam and will NOT allow your headstock to float in space.

Ship the guitar separately.
Most guitar cases do not protect a guitar during shipping. They're designed to prevent scratches, dirt and dust from getting on it. They'll intercept very minor impacts. But particularly in the case of Les Pauls, you'll often find, at the end of a trip, they've actually assisted in breaking the headstock off your guitar. When I ship valuable things, I usually use an oversize cardboard box that will hold that expanding foam stuff that coddles every inch, top and bottom. It protects the article from most "flat side" impacts, from vibration and from most temperature and humidity gradients. Just don't ship the guitar INSIDE the case in one of these boxes. The case will kill the guitar.

Sticker the package, in and out.
There are actually stickers (see Uline) that will register and indicate impact G forces and temperature extremes, etc. Occasionally handlers that see "fragile" as an opportunity for athletic maneuvers will relent when they see these. I'd also label the package "Dialysis Gear; We Save Lives" rather than "Delicate expensive guitar inside owned by some douche." You might actually find a handler with a conscience (as if...): http://www.uline.com/Grp_332/Damage-Indicators?pricode=WF636&AdKeyword=impact%20indicator&AdMatchtype=p&gclid=Cj0KEQjwmpW6BRCf5sXp59_U_ssBEiQAGCV9GutMzlRhWL-o2WA001xIbgl0LlqFmpmoEfiImpqvKEoaApep8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds
Last edited by dspellman at May 25, 2016,
#10
I once took an acoustic from UK to Cypress and they let me put in the overhead luggage compartment.This was around 11 years ago though so not sure about now.
#11
Quote by gregs1020
every option you list except #3 will work.

personally i'd gig bag in the overhead bin or smile nice for the flight attendant to put with the suits. if asked nicely, they're pretty good about helping passengers.

taking the neck off and packing/shipping isn't a bad idea either, as a second option.


Why wouldn't #3 work?
#12
Didn't piss anyone off actually, I wanted this assignment. I lived in Alaska as a little kid, so the chance to go back as an adult in the summertime is too awesome to not take. I will be there for a minimum of 13 weeks and actually considered taking a little break from guitar. But, I find so much enjoyment in it, and know that I can't be hiking/exploring/working the entire time I am there.

I am leaning towards disassemble and pack right now. It seems the cheapest and least risky option I think. There is a good chance they will go through the luggage after seeing the wires and magnets in the pups but I am not too concerned about that.

I looked into the 'travel-style' guitars also but I feel that I already have too many guitars atm and don't want to drop the coins unless necessary.

Found out I am flying Delta, then Alaska Airlines.
#13
I don't know exactly what you might be looking for, but it looks like there are decent prices to be had in Anchorage on Craigslist.

https://anchorage.craigslist.org/msg/5603013882.html

Enjoy it, I lived in Alaska for several years and it's amazing in the summer!!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#15
Quote by esky15
Why wouldn't #3 work?

Quote by dspellman
Google "United Breaks Guitars".

because of what dspellman posted.

seriously, #3 is off the table.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#16
Quote by gregs1020
because of what dspellman posted.

seriously, #3 is off the table.



Just because some musician made a video about his guitar that was broken doesn't mean every single guitar will break when flying. Mine sure didn't when I flew. That guy had terrible luck. #3 will certainly work 99.99% of the time.
#17
Different players have had different experiences. Check your airline policy first.

Personally, I have flown with a guitar all over Europe, across the US, and to Hawaii several times. Never had a problem. I show up to the gate early, politely request to store the guitar with the crew carry-on luggage providing there is room available, and most of the time they say yes. One time I carried on and stored it in the overhead with other members in my group putting soft backpacks and such in the same bin. The flight was from Berlin to LA nonstop.

I will never under any circumstances allow my guitar to be checked below at the mercy of the elements. Zero humidity, 50 degrees below zero temps, 1/2 sea level atmospheric pressure... no thanks.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#18
Quote by esky15
Just because some musician made a video about his guitar that was broken doesn't mean every single guitar will break when flying. Mine sure didn't when I flew. That guy had terrible luck. #3 will certainly work 99.99% of the time.


Just because some musician says "Mine sure didn't when I flew" doesn't mean your guitar won't break when flying, either.

That guy had a jillion views not just because the song was catchy. In part, it was because United and other airlines will screw you over for the breakage, and it was because a surprisingly large number of folks chimed in and said, "Yeah, I had the same problem when I...." In short, it resonated, and for a reason.

My experience (and somewhere between 40 and 60 Anvil cases) comes from an awful lot of flying with gear a lot more expensive than his guitar that had to work perfectly upon arrival.

I was outbid, once, on a guitar that I knew was fragile and difficult to find. It was in France and the new owner was here in California, and as it turned out I sorta knew him from a forum I frequented. I made some suggestions regarding his seller packing that guitar and told him what the issues were. He waved me off. The guitar arrived broken in exactly the place that I cautioned him about and hadn't been packed as I'd suggested.

As always, your air miles may vary.
#19
Quote by esky15
Just because some musician made a video about his guitar that was broken doesn't mean every single guitar will break when flying. Mine sure didn't when I flew. That guy had terrible luck. #3 will certainly work 99.99% of the time.


bad argument is bad.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#20
I don't know your money situation or if this is even an option at this point, but FWIW, my church's music minister has to travel the world with his guitar quite often. He uses top-notch gig bags and HSCs.

And when he can, he buys his guitar a seat.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 26, 2016,
#21
Quote by esky15
Just because some musician made a video about his guitar that was broken doesn't mean every single guitar will break when flying.

then why is it that all my relationships go to crap just like in the country music videos?

explain that cha-cha.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#22
Mileage will indeed vary. Unfortunately.

I wish I had the cash but not too keen on buying a $500 plane ticket. I would almost rather just buy a little $50 squier used up there.

I am thinking to just take my franken-strat with the plywood body and pack it neck-off- body because it is so light and if anything happens it won't be much of a loss at all. I will miss my main babies but I will survive.

Would I love to take my number 1 in a hardshell as a carry on? Hell yes. Anyone think I will have better luck if I take a 'guitar shaped' poly-foam over a hardshell rectangle case?