BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

When I travelled from The Netherlands to Santa Barbara in 2010 I thought I did the smart thing by buying one of those BAM Trekking cases where the bow goes in a tube in your hold luggage and you can take the main case with your fiddle as carry-on luggage. It turned out the case is still a bit too large (approx. 5 cm only, actually). The flight to LA wasn’t too bad but they weren’t too happy with me on the flight to SB (I know, should’ve taken the bus). On the flight back to Amsterdam I couldn’t fit the case anywhere but luckily the staff was helpful enough to store it somewhere in the cabin for me. For the rest I’m happy with the case, by the way.

I’m now considering a stay in Canberra for 4-7 weeks, with shorter stays in Brisbane and The Philippines. Given the time that I’m away (and seeing here is a lively session in Canberra) I would like to have my fiddle with me but I’m having doubts about the flight. I think I was lucky on the flights between NL and CA, but I don’t want to take the gamble again. Does anyone have experience with the Trekking case in airplanes? Is BAM’s Overhead case, which seems smaller, any better?

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

I have a Bam hightech which I use for travel. It’s small and light, making it ideal when you have other luggage to cart around - just throw it on your back and forget you have it. The contoured shape means it fits nicely in the overhead and on crowded flights, I tuck it under the legroom area under the seat. I’ve taken it on a good 30 flights in the past 2 years, and have had zero issues.

Of course, someone is bound to chime in on whether the carbon fibre is the ‘best’ option to protect your instrument. A quick google search will uncover some real horror stories, unfortunately. In this regard, my approach is to treat the case as being a nice lightweight travel option which offers good - not super-power - protection. I would never (ever ever ever!) let it be checked, for example - and like I said, when I’m on a full flight where people are cramming their gear into the overhead, it goes under the seat.

I should also add that travelling with the fiddle isn’t always ideal. It takes more work. Make sure you read the ticket rules carefully. For example, with discount airlines like Ryan Air, the fine print on ‘instrument’ fee allows them to check your instrument if they’re short on cabin space. I choose not to take that risk, and instead go with the ‘extra bag’ fee and hope I don’t get dinged on the length (I never have - but it’s stressful in the queue).

Good luck!

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

Ever, ever, ever.

I travel on Aer Lingus with a university choir and they let me take a piano accordion as carry-on a few years back. They’ve always let us take fiddles as such without problem, too. Hopefully the trend continues. We did have a lady with a hammered dulcimer (no rude comments, please - she’s a very nice lady) who had to check the thing. You should have seen the setup she built for it. Four different times she went, though, Chicago to Dublin and back, and nothing ever happened to it.

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

What was the set-up she built for it?

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

I’ve travelled all over the world with a BAM Overhead and never had any problems. It fits within every airline gauge I’ve seen, and has been allowed even on airlines such as Singapore Air, which is notorious for making people check instruments. Even with someone like Ryanair, where it’s often a game of cat and mouse, there’s nothing to stop you putting the case inside a cheapo folding sports bag when checking in.

The case is pretty tough, as I found when someone dropped it out of the overhead locker into the aisle. The fiddle didn’t even go out of tune, but I wouldn’t recommend trying it…

Of course, there’s still the issue of what do you do with your bow :) I travel with a carbon fibre bow, and put it in one of those old-fashioned wooden bow cases in case it has to be checked. It never has, even on Ryanair, but ymmv…

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Well, there ya go. Experiences vary. I have a BAM overhead too. It’s been refused, several times, on Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Aer Arann. The only airline where I haven’t had a problem is Easyjet, which specifically welcomes musicians and says on their website that you can take any instrument up to the size of a standard guitar case.

Because all the airlines (with the honourable exception of Easyjet) refuse to take the thing, I’ve given up flying with the fiddle. I take the boat.

Out of interest, my friends seem to have no trouble flying *out* of Ireland, and neither have I. But I can’t get the thing on without a huge hassle if I embark in the UK. And to be honest, I can’t be bothered with all the grief. I travelled to Ireland, I think, 6 times last year (at least 5 anyway) and regularly do the same. At one time I would always have flown, but it just feels like the airlines don’t want musicians any more, so boat it is.

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Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

Haha. Singapore Airlines. C**ts. I used to keep the pipes in a hard case and the one time I flew with them, from New York to Amsterdam, they told me that hard cases were not allowed as cabin baggage. The "it’s a delicate instrument" argument didn’t fly. I ended up buying a duffle bag in JFK and awkwardly stuffing the pipes into that and carrying them on while I checked the hard case. The airline lost my luggage on that flight as well and it spent about five days wandering around Europe on its own (long story), so I would not have been pleased if I’d checked the pipes! It was an expensive freakin’ duffle bag, $90, but the most worthwhile $90 I have ever spent.

Never had any bother otherwise with a pipes case that is about the size of a fiddle case. Though last time I went to the US, I found flying US domestic airlines has its own excitement nowadays. Like cheapo Euro airlines, they’ve started charging people to check bags now so everyone tries to fit everything into hand luggage. As they board the plane, the overhead lockers become full quite quickly so they make an announcement that anyone with a big-ish bag can check it in (for free!) just before they board the plane. We were in one of the last boarding groups flying out of LaGuardia and they made the announcement. So we anxiously approached the jetway, with fiddle and pipes, and when the airline people said, "You might have to check those," we said they were musical instruments. They were like, "Oh, ok," and let us take them. I think the fiddle had to go into one of those suit closet thingies while the pipes squeezed into an overhead locker.

@Ben, when you’re traveling Transatlantic, the boat takes a really long time.

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

I’ve only crossed the Atlantic once, Doc. It’s not something that greatly attracts me, tbh.

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Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

"One Hundred Things To Do Before You Die"
No. 1 — Cross the Atlantic in an unsinkable liner

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Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

I go to Boston, MA almost every year to teach at the Fiddle Hell. I fly with British Airways, and there is never a problem taking on board. Mine’s in a Bobelock case, standard violin length with a slightly broader body. Their policy is that you can carry on a musical instrument provided you can lift it, unassisted, to put in the overhead locker.

I flew to Dublin many years ago with Aer Fungus, and had no trouble taking a standard-size fiddle case as hand luggage.

I wouldn’t even attempt it with the likes of Ryanair, having heard of their attempted pay-to-pish policy, and their full BOC accreditation being common knowledge.

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Aer Lingus has changed since those days, Jim. It’s as bad as the rest. At least, if you’re setting off from over here. The rules are the same on both sides of the Irish Sea, but the Irish staff on the other side tend to ignore them, bless them. :-)

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Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

In my experience, it’s always been far less hassle travelling *back* to The UK until you get as far as passport control that is. :(

Re: BAM fiddle cases as hand luggage

Yes. That’s pretty much what I was saying, Johnny.

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