Airport Considerations: Things to Keep in Mind when Flying with an Acoustic Guitar or Ukulele
* Updated Post March 2013
CNN: Airline Smashes $10,000 Guitar
What things do I need to keep in mind when flying with an Acoustic Guitar or Ukulele?
Before you hit the skies …
Take a photo of your instrument in the event you need that for identification purposes or insurance claims.
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) regulations are constantly changing and each airline has their own set of specifications that vary. We recommend that you check with the airline prior to travel to determine their carry-on policies for musical instruments (print out the regulations in case there is confusion at the gate). You will most likely have to check any instrument that exceeds 75 total inches (height + width + length and some airlines have smaller allowable sizes) as the outside measurement of the case. Currently all Lichty Ukuleles fall into the 75 inch size restriction, as well as the Parlor Guitars. More and more we realize just how perfect the Parlor guitars are for traveling. They are small enough to slide into an overhead bin of most airplanes and yet the small size does not translate into a small sound. We have customers whose primary guitar is a Lichty Parlor because they love the ease of play and the rich sound.
Make sure you have the best case possible and pad the inside to prevent any possible wiggle room, especially around the neck. You will have to pack your instrument in a hard-case for it to be checked. In addition, you may want to pack that case within a cardboard box (check with your local music store).
If you are carrying-on your instrument, a soft case can often fit where a hard case does not and yet it means your instrument is more vulnerable to “overhead bin trauma”. Have you seen what folks cram into the overhead bins!?
Though there are different schools of thoughts on this one, we recommend loosening the strings in preparation for changes in air pressure, temperature and such.
If you check your instrument be aware that luggage does get lost from time to time. Added insurance may be worth looking into. Though you may want to inspect your instrument before you leave the airport, in an ideal world you would leave it in the case for a few hours upon arriving at your destination to avoid rapid change in temperature and humidity.
An important note for folks who have an instrument with any Brazilian Rosewood parts – it is not legal to take it out of the country. Brazilian Rosewood is on the internationally regulated CITIES list as a protected species and therefore you may not take it across borders without CITIES documentation. We do not provide the paperwork necessary for international travel with your Lichty Guitar or Ukulele.
Ensure your information, and information regarding your instrument, are inside the case. Too, it’s a good idea to have a distinguishable sticker, tag or other marker to make visual identification easier.
- See also 7 Tips to Flying with Your Guitar
- To learn more about current TSA regulations for transporting musical instruments: http://www.tsa.gov
- To view a humorous and frightening video on a lost guitar watch Dave Caroll’s video:United Broke My Guitar