Carrying on

Carrying on

Carrying on your instrument onto the plane, at any rate. D’you have a copy of the letter sent to the AFM by the US Transportation Sec Admin? You can download a copy at http://www.zinalee.com/images/carry%20on.jpg

I’d carry a copy of the letter with you. Allows you your instrument in case, one bag, and one personal item.

Hopefully this won’t be different during war. *sigh*

Zina

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Alternatively, you could take up the tinwhistle and just stick it in your pocket. πŸ™‚

— Scott

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Zina,

Thanks for the link. Great timing —- I’m leaving for Scotland on Sunday. Not that I want to be loaded down carrying a lot of stuff!.

Carol

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Thanks Zina,

One less detail to fret about. Early in January 2002 no one even batted an eye at my mandolin case as I flew out of JFK. I wonder how things may have tightened up these days. Against a wall of bureaucracy the laser printer proves formidable.

Peace,
Gra5ity

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Thanks, Zina! It’s always something I worry about when I fly…not that I’m going anywhere in the near future…sigh….

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Hmm. Got doubts about a tin whistle in pocket. Some jobsworth would probably identify it as a device capable of firing projectiles.

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Gra5ity, I was once present when a concert violinist had to threaten to sue the airline if they tried to put his very expensive violin and case under the plane. They finally gave in, but mainly because some of us in line offered to put our overnights under the plane if they’d let him carry his fiddle inside the cabin. They said it was too big to go inside the cabin. His fiddle had made it all the way through security and such, and only got stalled out at the plane itself. My bet is the guy now carries this letter with him when he travels! πŸ™‚

zls

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Zina, That story replenishes my faith in the goodness of just plain folks. I try to fly Jet Blue on the rare occaisions I go *aloft* in that fashion. The last time I traveled with them they provided a box, of sorts, and if your carry-on fits then everything goes hassle free. Still, I’m holding my copy of the letter in my hot little hand. πŸ™‚

Thanks again,
Gra5ity

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I’ve heard a lot of good things about flying JetBlue. I’ve never been able to take them anywhere, though. Never quite worked out.

My sister-in-law Janet gave me a featherlight case to take my fiddle to Ireland with me. It was great, light and sturdy enough to last the 5 week trip. After I got back, it broke at the hinges, and one of the strap clips started occasionally twisting off at unexpected times. I was going to spend a little bundle on a nicer case when Sean Smyth saw my battered cheapy little case, picked it up, showed it around the workshop, and said, "Now THIS is the way to go in terms of a case." We asked him why, because there’s not much room for storage in that case, and we sort of expected that someone traveling as much as he does would need space in a case. "Because it *fits*," he said. "It *fits* in the overhead bins, and then you don’t have to worry about your instrument having to go under the plane."

So I still have that case and haven’t seriously considered replacing it for a while, even though I fly with it fairly rarely. Luckily the cover holds the bit where the hinge is broken together.

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I have wondered about this for the longest time!!!…..I kept/keep trying to figure out how I would fit my personal cd player and book in the pockets of my fiddle case so that that could be my carry-on!!!! *blush* πŸ™‚

Karen

P.S. would your instrument explode if put in cargo???….even with strings loosened???

Cello with a handbag

Here’s one for Trevor - a piano trio came to my high school once for a lecture-recital and they told a few travel horror stories, one of which was an argument with some baling-wire-and-chewing-gum regional airline somewhere which they had to solve by purchasing a full fare seat in the name of Ms Cello, who of course was then entitled to her own carry-on luggage (which looked suspiciously like a fiddle case).

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I carry my tin whistle in a case made of a piece of PVC pipe with end caps…made for some funny looks when I brought it on the plane last January, but they let it on, no problem. The steel toed boots were more of a problem…

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Nice one about Ms Cello. But how does she assume the crouched crash position? I do know that professional violinists (of all types) frequently book an adjacent seat for the instrument, especially if it’s a double case containing two, and so would be too large to go in the top luggage compartment.

Blufiddle, if a fiddle (or mandolin, guitar etc) goes in a cargo hold lots of horrible things can, and probably will, happen. The cargo hold is low pressure and very cold and dry. The first thing that will happen will be that the hide glue which holds the instrument together will come unstuck, and the instrument will disintegrate. It’s repairable, of course, but at great cost and inconvenience. Letting the strings down won’t help either, the pegs will shrink and fail to hold. The international concert cellist Julian LLoyd Weber (brother of the musicals composer) had exactly this happen to his cello on a short-haul, relatively low-level, flight from the UK to Ireland for a series of concerts. He then had a frantic dash around Dublin to find a suitable loan instrument for his Irish tour.

The other danger to a stringed instrument in the cargo hold is the physical damage and breakage caused by the cargo handling. A couple of years ago there was a local tv news item about an up-and-coming young international cellist who had his 18c cello in one of these super-expensive protective cases (titanium, kevlar, carbon-fibre etc) for an air journey to Germany. During cargo handling some idiot had contrived to drop something very heavy onto the case which stove in the front of the case and the belly of the instrument. I understand the repair took months.

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Hi folks.
Fortunately I can get all the wind instruments I play (including the Big Pipes) in a camera case, which when I travel by plane I keep with me at all times.
I get some funny looks when they X-ray the box, and they always open it to investigate.

All the best
PP

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Part of why I took up fiddle is because it is more portable. The harp is a real pain in the butt to travel with. I have a 22 string harp, which can be carried on but you really can’t do much with it. And my 26 string—maybe somewhat bigger than a guitar —is real iff-y. Once they let me carry it on when my husband begged them to—after that my teacher let me borrow this monstrous triangular home-made, bright green painted and foam-lined wooden harp coffin. Very heavy, and what do you do with it once you get where you are going? Continue to shlep it around, that’s what. I didn’t even realize at the time the risk of the glue disintigrating and all of that. I’ll never check a harp in again!!

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Zina - Thanks for that letter. I’ll be traveling to Ireland at the end of April and will definitely carry a copy of it with me. It will be my first time flying overseas with my flute. Luckily flutes cases are small, but I keep my flute in a pistol case because it’s almost air-tight and helps keep the moisture in the case. So I’m sure I’ll be doing a little show-and-tell with my flute when I try and get through security. "No sir it’s not a gun, it’s my flute. I live in a very cold and dry climate and need to protect my instrument. This gun case is great for my flute"

Joyce

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I have this huge playwood case that looks like a bassoon case or something that came with my fiddle when I bought it. It’s pretty obviously a traveling case; it’s huge, much bigger than the usual fiddle case, it’s got incredibly heavy wood sides, it’s got very heavy padding in it…and it is so heavy all together that it’s almost uncontemplatible to take it anywhere. As you say, Andee, once you get there, you have to keep hauling it around…what a pain!

Does anyone else think it’s slightly ironic that musicians, of all people, carry *papers* when they travel now? 😏

zls

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Thank you sooo much Trevor!!!…..I had this huge argument with my father and I, against one of my adult friends about this….she kept saying that we didn’t know what we were talking about when we said that my fiddle would look painfully wrecked if put in cargo…..I’m thinking a future trip with her will have to mean leaving my fiddle at home πŸ™‚

Karen

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Hey, Karen — keep in mind that all those things MIGHT happen, it’s not that it would happen every time. But no one *I* know would risk their precious instruments that way…so why should you? Anyway, take your fiddle along with you, but carry it on. πŸ™‚

Zina

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Check!…will do! πŸ™‚

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I travel a great deal with my guitar. A trick I learned from Bob Brozman, which hasn’t failed me yet, is to carry the guitar to the counter and politely say, "I’m carrying this fabulously expensive and delicate classic instrument. Might I ‘pre-board’ with the special needs cases and families?" In the last 5+ years, the typical response is, "Oh, sure." CAVEAT: don’t carry your Guild F-50 jumbo … I travel with a little Martin OOO-18.

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LOL — special needs?

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Make sure you don’t take your pipes with you. Someone might mistake it for a Gatling gun.
(backdated… What’s that? A gatling gun?)

Seriously though, my sister has taken her violin on many-a-plane without serious injury to the instrument. She’s always been pretty careless with it though — perhaps she’s just lucky.

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Hi All,
Thanks Zina for the letter. I just tried to post and not sure what happened but it didn’t show up.
Anyway, a related story, I just got back from Scotland and on my way over I did check my Banjo as I was heading to a funeral and didn’t want to have to deal with it, needless to say it got damaged.
We also had our 4 bags go missing, which caused a lot of hassle as they became a security issue, so my advice is do not travel British Airways, unless you really have too.

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Hmm wish I had seen this before my recent flights, but actually I have nothing to report. I store my flute in one of those padded cases which fits easily into my carry-on. Even with the new keys on, which look slightly menacing, I didn’t have to unpack my bag once for 5 different flights. I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.