Airport Considerations When Flying With a Guitar or Ukulele
We have just arrived home from a bit of traveling. Jay regretted immediately his decision not to bring a guitar or ukulele along in response to seeing folks at airports carrying all manner of instruments. Next time he’ll have an instrument in hand and will keep an eye on it as a carry-on item. This experience touched on the following frequently asked question:
What airport considerations when flying with a guitar or ukulele do I need to keep in mind?
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!?
Loosen 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.
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.
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: http://www.davecarrollmusic.com
And for fun you might enjoy our post – What is the Best Travel Ukulele?