Dulcimers and Airlines

Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
9 years ago
242 posts

I don't think I have the nerve to do what Schnaufer did. I sweated when forced to gate check my guitar, and it was in a case designed for airline use, even down to TSA approved locks. What would he have done if they called his bluff, put it in the hold, and handed him a bunch of shattered splintered wood at his destination? "Sorry, Sir, but You threw the case away." When they break an instrument that was in a strong case, it's a nightmare to get a claim through. Just ask a few people who have had to file claims.

For the current time, most dulcimers will fit into the overhead bins of most aircraft, even in a good case. Most acoustic guitars are going to have a problem on most airplanes. Once baggage fees are charged for carry on bags, the issue with overhead space may actually ease up. If it costs the same to carry on as to check, most people will only hand carry fragile or valuable items. A lot of people are using carry on bags to limit the cost of checked bags. And they stuff the daylights out of the carry on bags, with no weight limit.

Paul

Stephen Seifert
Stephen Seifert
@stephen-seifert
9 years ago
22 posts

I always stick my Lee Felt double-dulcimer bag in the overhead. Especially if I only take one dulcimer, I can fit clothes and product into the other side. I like that my bag looks like something my grandma made me. I've also used the compact looking McSpadden soft cases. Sometimes I hide the top of the second instrument by covering it with a shirt or something. I don't want them to think I'm over doing it. Here's my routine:

  • I do my best to get to the gate early. I want to board as soon as possible.
  • Before they start boarding, I wait as close as I can to the gate door with my bag unzipped. I want everyone including passengers to know I don't have golf clubs. I also want the gate workers to see I'm not trying to sneak an oversize item on board.
  • I keep the instrument in plain site as I hand over my boarding pass. If offered, I always take the baggage claim ticket. As soon as I'm in the tunnel, I put it in my pocket.
  • I smile at everyone and make eye contact. I don't want them to sense I'm going to be trouble. I keep the open bag in front of me as I board. (I really think they hate it when you try to trick them.)
  • When they ask me what I have I often say, "miniature guitars called dulcimers." I want them to think SPECIAL and SMALL. I get them talking right away. I ask, "ever seen one before," or "do you play music?" I really need the stewardesses in particular to be on my side.
  • If anyone says, "You'll have to check that. It won't fit in the overhead," I say, "I promise to cooperate either way but may I please try? I've never had a problem in the past. Most of this bag is filled with air. These instruments are very narrow."
  • I pick the first overhead that's available incase there's none in the back of the plane.

I've never had to check an instrument on what's got to be at least 100 flights. If I ever have to, I'm likely to do what David Schnaufer did after they wouldn't let him fly with an antique dulcimer he'd acquired at a gig. He took the dulcimer out of it's case, put the case in the trash, and handed them the naked instrument. He said they all treated it like a baby the whole way.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
9 years ago
1,576 posts

I'm sure it was your sweeter-than-blueberry-honey smile.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad things worked out for Rainbow.

Jeannie in Paradise said:

Maybe my nearly white hair and occasionally limping a bit helped, too! Grin.gif

Jeannie




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Jeannie in Paradise
Jeannie in Paradise
@jeannie-in-paradise
9 years ago
6 posts

I just want to add my May 2012 experience here. I had decided to buy a Clemmer "Sweetie" church style dulcimer to take to Wisconsin, so I could play at a private memorial for my mom. It has a well-fitting soft bag. When time came to fly with it, for each flight I made certain to board early... sometimes claiming to belong in the group of "people who need extra help," sometimes just being sure I was at the head of the line. Each time I carefully positioned my Sweetie into the overhead bin right above me, and then halfway stood right there, keeping track of what else was about to go into that overhead bin. I found passengers and flight attendants to be very respectful and cooperative, and Sweetie made it safely through five separate plane rides. (Maybe my nearly white hair and occasionally limping a bit helped, too!) Grin.gif

Jeannie

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
9 years ago
1,943 posts

Lois;

Practicing? Sure. First you could get something like Harpmaker's Travel Dulcimer where the top flips over and stores the fretboard inside, and the result looks sorta like a wooden flute case. Fits in overheads. Great instrument.

Second you could make, or have made, a hinged solid body practice dulcimer that folded down to two lengths of 1x4 plank. Extend an lock the two pieces, tighten the strings, and play. Such a device would easily fit inside a standard suitcase. Drop me a PM if you're interested.

Randy Moore
Randy Moore
@randy-moore
9 years ago
1 posts

The automated luggage handling system is another place where your instrument can get caught and smashed up. My last flight from the States to Hong Kong I was carrying a banjo and the airline folks stopped me and said I had to check the instrument into baggage... I couldn't carry it on board. I raised a bit of a fuss, and they agreed to have an employee hand carry and pack the instrument in baggage and after arrival in HK, have it hand carried from the plane to the luggage pickup area. I can't be 100% sure the instructions were carried out, but the instrument arrived in good shape. I did have to wait for its arrival, and it was hand carried--at least from behind a door to where I was standing by a airline employee. By that time, all the other passengers on the flight had collected their luggage. So, on at least some airlines it might be possible to have you instrument handled with extreme care. But you have to take them on their word. The only way you will know for sure is to hand carry it yourself.

-Rand.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
9 years ago
194 posts

O.k. other things I've heard + this discussion convince me: I'd need to be gone for a long time in a location beyond possible driving to it before I'd try to take a breakable musical instrument on a plane.

That said, is there a way to do any kind of practicing without a dulcimer available?

10ashus
@10ashus
9 years ago
13 posts

Robin Clark said:

...make sure that you don't have anything in the dulcimer case pocket that is a restricted item...

Robin, that is one good tip. I had not thought about all the things we always tote around in the pocket that an airline person might construe as a weapon.

Butch Ross
Butch Ross
@butch-ross
9 years ago
18 posts

Yeah, I was bummed that I wasn't able to meet you too.

and it was my dealings with Ryanair that almost got me kicked out of the country: never, ever again will I fly Ryanair.

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
9 years ago
237 posts

That's great advice Butch - thanks for sharing your extensive experience of this issue. And I'm really sorry to have missed your visit to the UK last year Frown.gif

The UK airports are very strict about hand baggage and security in general, and we don't have a government regulation on the carrage of instruments as hand baggage. But, luckily, some of our airlines are very understanding and spell out very clearly in their terms and conditions what you can carry as additional handbaggage. Even EasyJet will allow any musicalinstrument up to the size of 30cm x 120cm x 38cm(easily a full size Mc Spadden dulcimer case) to go in an overhead. But stay away from RyanAir !!!!!!!!

One final point - make sure that you don't have anything in the dulcimer case pocket that is a restricted item such as a multi-tool for fitting your strings - orthat will get you into trouble at security109.gif

Butch Ross
Butch Ross
@butch-ross
9 years ago
18 posts

Long post, so get a cup of Joe:

I want to start by saying that Paul and Robin have offered you some great advice, and I agree with just about everything they've said.

I have flown with two to three dulcimers (the third would be a Griebhaus electric, which is very thin) in a standard TKL double-gigbag oneverythingfrom a Canada Regional Air (CRJ-700 and 900 but not 200) which means that it'll also get on the Embraer E series (E170 and E175 but not the 125 and probably not the ERJ145)and definitely the MD88 MD90or larger (those are the regional jets that I've had experience with). A general rule of thumb, look at the layout when your picking your seats. if the seat layout is 2 and 2 or larger, you're golden (tho' I have gotten it on planes with a 1 and 2 seat arrangement...but just barely)...if it's a turbo prop, yr screwed.

Because I do this for a living I HAVE to get the cheapest flights possible, which generally means the back of the plane. Fine with me, 'cuz I'm first on last off too, and I can fill up the overheads before everyone else. Being a man of average height, I'm also quick to "help" other passengers stowing stuff in my overhead (note the possessive) if they resist (usuallybecausethey're men and they "got this") I point out that that is a musical instrument and that I'D HATE TO SEE IT UNINTENTIONALLY GET DAMAGED (I'm never rude, angry or impolite, but you can imagine that the language i use is a quite bit stronger than that)

Here's what I used on the last trip....

298_forums.jpg?width=721 That's a single TKL bag with two dulcimers in it (one in a cloth bag made by Mary Rockwell) I DO NOT recommend this, but i didn't have my double bag and was in a bind.

From the moment I get out of the car, the dulcimer is in it's straps and on my back (except for security of course). This makes it seem smaller, and is lessnoticeable...in fact they generally don't see how big it is until I've passed, and by then it's too late. If I get grief at the gate or the ticket counter (usually the ticket counter) I do three things:

  1. remain unfailingly pleasant and polite
  2. talk as slowly and loquaciously as I can
  3. I am quick to gate check it

Pleasant and polite should be obvious, your beloved instrument iscompletelyin their hands and they have the power to do everything from charge you extra, force you to check it, to kick you out of the country (I have been threatened with all three). But, I once got to take three carry on bags to England because the woman at the counter took pity on me (and anyway, she said she wouldn't see any of that $200 extra baggage charge she could've hit me with. YOU READ THAT RIGHT $200).

Speak slowly....especially if you are on early, there are a lot of people behind you and the staff don't have much time to process the flight, so if you're nicebut slowthey may make an exception for you... I once flew from Philly to Nashville with my guitar under my seat (with my feet on top 'cuz it was WAAAAAY too big to be under there) because they didn't have the time to hold the flight to make me go to the ticket booth and get a gate check tag.

IF I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO, I will gate check, even with gate checking yourinstrumentis doomed if it goes into the hold in just a gig bag. So I have been known to ask for the gate check and then remove the tag. I did this once on a flight back from England. It means that someone has to come onto the plane and then remove it from the overhead ...in front of everyone, making them the jerk that took it and put it in the hold. That's right, if i can i'll use peer pressure

If that seems harsh, listen to this. I own a flight case, a very expensive case (intended for keyboards) that I bought SPECIFICALLY for flying with my dulcimers. In 2008 on my way to my first UK tour, I was told at baggage claim that the case was oversized and that i would have to pay an additional $175 each way to fly with it. In other words, cough up, or don't fly (the lady literally said "well you can leave it here but since it's an unintended bag, it'll be destroyed") In addition, when I got to England I had to bang the thing back into shape with a hammer to undo the damage that it had suffered in transit. So I got the message loud and clear: it's us verses them, and we don't have much leverage.

The people who work for the airline, in my experience, are overworked andunderpaidand forced by some corporate bean counter to adhere to rules thattheylikely think are BS too. Be considerate, and friendly but resolute.

finally a BIG caveat... Most of my issues have been in ATL and leaving the Uk. Usually for me, the first leg is out of Nashville, and there probably isn't a better airport in the world to fly out of with an instrument. All that to say YMMV.

That said, you never know. Philly is astraightup hostile airport in some ways. Yet the only conversation I've ever had about myinstrumentswentlike this. Them: "what are those" Me:{briefexplanationof the dulcimer and how it works} Them: Cool!

Also, I don't recommend Apple Creek dulcimers for the most part...but if you can get this one for $64 it's worth it just for the case. http://www.amazon.com/Applecreek-PKACD150K-Hourglass-Shaped-Dulcimer/dp/B001AV3OZG/ref=sr_1_11?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1357598580&sr=1-11&keywords=apple+creek

anything that fits in a McSpadden bag should be fine.

Good Luck!!

folkfan
@folkfan
9 years ago
365 posts

The post that I have had pop up very quickly and then disappear mentioned Aaron O'Rourke. I've missed the bottom half of the comment every time. Was that the one you deleted??

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
9 years ago
1,576 posts

It's just me and my elusive ways. I like to keep you guessing.Grin.gif

Actually, folkfan, there was an earlier comment that I deleted, but my most recent comment in this discussion just preceding your post is still there, as far as I can see.

folkfan said:

Dusty, Every time I try to read your reply, it disappears and never comes back. Weird




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
folkfan
@folkfan
9 years ago
365 posts

Dusty, Every time I try to read your reply, it disappears and never comes back. Weird

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
9 years ago
1,576 posts

It is true that the law only guarantees that you can bring your instrument on board if it fits in the overhead compartment. However, that is more than is guaranteed for other carry-ons which are limited in size.

At a dulcimer festival this past summer I asked Aaron O'Rourke how he traveled with his dulcimers. He uses a David Beede dulcimer with a radiused fretboard whose precise curve is customized and a Clemmer banjammer that has also been fitted with a custom bridge and nut to bring the strings closer together. Neither is easily replaceable, in other words. He puts them in one of those double gig bags which he then puts into one of those huge hard plastic (SKB?) containers made for a set of golf clubs. He surrounds the gig bag with clothes, towels, and other items to make sure it can't move. Since the airlines are used to those large golf bag containers, they seem to handle it OK, though sometimes it costs extra due to its size.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
folkfan
@folkfan
9 years ago
365 posts

Paul, Thanks for confirming what I was going by. The law doesn't guarantee that you can carry an instrument aboard, just that instruments are allowed as in cabin carry-on, if they fit the compartment space and if that space is available when boarding. And that you won't have to render up your firstborn as payment. But as the article points out, since many people are carrying everything they can on board, the over-head space quickly fills up.

The last flight I was on had so much stuck into bins, that people boarding after me had to have their bags either gate checked or crammed in bins. And I mean crammed. Attendants were pushing and shoving and slamming bags in and out of bins trying to get them closed. Made me shudder, but thankful that my carry on bag had nothing fragile in it.

Having your carry-on gate checked isn't uncommon. Having the entire last section to board gate check their luggage has been known to happen. So it's a good idea to make sure that your instrument is prepared for the belly of the beast, along with anything that won't fit under the seat in front of you.

Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
9 years ago
242 posts

This is the newest info: http://www.fretboardjournal.com/blog/skies-are-now-guitar-friendly-congress-orders-airlines-let-you-carry-your-musical-instrument

As Congress has made it's move, it will take a 10 Million Man March to make them revise it again. Don't expect any further changes in this law, unless the changes favor the Airlines.

Whether an instrument fits is dependent upon the size of the case and the size of the bins or underseat area. A Mt. Dulcimer is usually fairly small, compared to guitars, banjos and cellos, etc. I wouldn't worry about a 100 lb suitcase being placed on top of your dulcimer, the weight limit for checked luggage is 50 lbs and the overweight fees are downright scary. This is the reason so many people have large carry on bags. My dulcimer fit in the overhead bin of every aircraft I have boarded with it, but there may be some puddle jumpers it won't fit into. If you are concerned, my suggestion is a small dulcimer for traveling, such as Ron Ewing's Dulcimette, or David Beede's Edee Beedee. There is also Sweetwoods instruments travel model, and a number of other makers build small models. I lean towards Sweetwoods Travel Model, as it protects the fretboard. Plus, one can stash a couple sandwiches inside it. Most airlines don't provide meals any more. They will sell you food, but order early as they don't carry a lot. On a long flight, it can run out.

You may want to look at dimensions of the small models and see how much smaller they actually are. Try a few at a festival if possible. The short scale length may be to your liking, but if you have Grizzle Bear sized paws, you may be less impressed.

Alternatives: A cardboard dulcimer, or inexpensive beginner model, shipped to a friend near your destination, and held for your arrival. This can work if you visit fairly regularly, but if you have no friend in the area, it may not be workable.The cardboard ones are repairable with glue and brown grocery bag paper as long as the fret board isn't damaged. I suspect the fret board alone could be brought along, and attached to a small kitchen roasting pan for casual playing. You can buy the pan at home, or at your destination. I suspect a salad bowl might sound better than the roaster. If you try this, and start selling them, let me know. I might just buy one.

Paul

folkfan
@folkfan
9 years ago
365 posts

http://www.fretboardjournal.com/blog/skies-are-now-guitar-friendly-congress-orders-airlines-let-you-carry-your-musical-instrument

The gentleman who had a cardboard case was lucky that there was room in the storage closet. If the attendant hadn't stored it there, it would have had to fit in the overhead storage bin, and there would have to be enough bin space available for it to be a carry on.

Does anyone have any more up to date info on the current regs. in place?

10ashus
@10ashus
9 years ago
13 posts

I got scared and backed out of taking my dulcimer on the air flight. When I got there, sitting on the balcony, looking at the stars, of course I wished I had it with me. At the baggage pick up after the flight home, there was a man with a heavy cardboard sided guitar case. He said the flight attendant had stored it for him in the storage closet. It seems I either need to be more of a risk taker, or buy a less expensive dulcimer, or carry a copy of the law with me and be prepared for any argument, or drive my car everywhere I go.

If your choice would be to own a less expensive dulcimer for travel, I did find a $65 dulcimer with good reviews (as of Jan 5, 2013) on amazon: Trophy-ACD100-Applecreek-Dulcimer

If you are interested in a better carrying case, there is a good discussion in one of the groups about Dulcimer Cases

folkfan
@folkfan
9 years ago
365 posts

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/vintage-gibson-guitar-delta-baggage-leevees-214634001.html

This hurts. Whatever the law says about carrying on an instrument, just don't assume it will be followed. Airlines break guitars.

Paul Certo
Paul Certo
@paul-certo
10 years ago
242 posts

I haven't carried a dulcimer on an airplane for the past three years, as I have been carrying guitars on those trips. The times I did take a dulcimer, I had no problems at all. They fit into the overhead of every plane I got on, and no crew member ever said a word about it. One or two asked if there would be music during the flight, that was it. Full size dreadnought guitars in plywood or molded plastic cases will not fit the overheads of any except the largest aircraft, but that is off topic. My dulcimer has flown from Cleveland to Oklahoma city by way of Houston, and twice to Hawai`i by way of Chicago. Never a problem. I use a card board case, and that's fine in the overheads. The new law says you are allowed to carry an instrument on board "As long as it fits either under the seat, or in the overhead bin." If there isn't room for it, the attendant may be able to place it in a closet at the front of the plane. My guitars have been placed in closets at on least 5 flights over the past 3 years. This is a good option, and I highly recommend it when possible. If you are in the last few groups boarding, and the closet is full, the overheads are still an option, but if it won't fit, the attendant has no choice but to gate check it for you. Gate checking means it ends up in the cargo hold with the checked baggage, but it goes in on top, because you carry it to the airplane yourself, and hand it over to a flight attendant, after trying the closet/overhead possibilities. It probably ends up on top of the luggage, and it is supposed to be handed back to you as you leave the plane. This avoids the 2 most likely damaging parts of the whole experience: Baggage Handlers and the conveyor/carousel situation. Some airlines will not return the instrument to you at the plane, instead sending it to the carousel. Ask the flight attendant to have it returned to you at the plane with the baby strollers. Those are getting special handling, and will be given to the parents at the door of the jetway, just off the airplane. I never ask about boarding with an instrument, I just carry it to the plane, usually in some type of backpack harness. I use this for guitar/banjo cases: http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/BACK.htm They make a smaller sized one that might work for a dulcimer case. When I reach the plane, I ask if there is closet space,if not, I put the dulcimer in the overhead. Done. I don't advise using a soft case. If the dulcimer has to go in the cargo hold, it could be damaged. Bing had this problem, there is a YouTube about the incident. No case is completely immune to baggage handler lunacy, but an aluminum gun case is probably as close to immunity as can be gotten. Don't buy a used one in a yard sale or thrift store, if it has had a fired gun in it, gun powder residue will make the bomb sniffing equipment go crazy! Buy a new one and don't use it for your Tommy Guns, keep it strictly for dulcimers or camera stuff. When you buy these cases, you cut the foam lining to fit the gun you are using it with. In your case, you cut it to fit your dulcimer. It's the best protection you can get for a dulcimer. There are very fine flight cases for guitars, but not enough market for a dulcimer version to be made. I don't like a gig bag in the back of my car, let alone in an airplane. You never know who will get on after you, and try to shove "who knows what" into a full bin. Cardboard cases have been OK so far, but it only takes once. It may be worth looking into a smaller sized dulcimer, or an inexpensive travel or beginner dulcimer, if you are still concerned. If you are playing gigs, this may not be an option. You may want your favorite with you.

Paul

Ben Barr Jr
Ben Barr Jr
@benjamin-w-barr-jr
10 years ago
60 posts

Not too much that I can add to this discussion. I haven't flown in many years now. However, when I used to fly about once or twice a year, I never had any problem, but that was a while ago.

I always stowed my dulcimer in the overhead bin and would keep an eye on things to make sure someone didn't try to jam things up against it. But now with tighter regulations and passengers attempting to carry all their gear by carry-ons, it certainly has become a different game.

On one flight I was seated in the mid section of a plane near the front (not first class) and there wasn't enough room, so the flight attendant stored it nearby in another section and showed me where it would be and she was very polite and asked if there was anything else I needed.Smile.gifSmile.gif

folkfan
@folkfan
10 years ago
365 posts

I think a major portion of the problem you'll have is on loading. Depending on which section you manage to get in on and how much others have carried on before you, there may or may not be much room left in the bins. And the space breaks up in to smaller and tighter spaces as those overhead bins fill up. There have been a couple of times I know of recently that the last loading section had all their carry on luggage gate checked. No ifs ands or maybes. There was not room in the bins for what they were carrying and it went to the belly of the beast.

If you are travelling on different airlines be sure that the size for a check in bag is the same size. Though as I remember Bing Futch got on one plane and discovered that the bins had all been cut down in size and his instrument didn't fit anymore. Here's part of that story.

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/discuss/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2...

Hope your travels are better, and that you can find an overhead bin with enough space for your instrument, and don't have any other passenger force their bag in on top of yours. The last trip I took on American to England was a disaster with over crowding. One of the earlier flights had mechanical problems and half of that flight ended up traveling in the evening on mine. Not one seat was free. And bags were being shuffled up and down the plane trying to fit them in. It delayed departure. So be prepared.

Robin Clark
Robin Clark
@robin-clark
10 years ago
237 posts

I'm sure you will be fine. I've carried a travel guitar (baby Taylor size) and a dulcimer (McSpadden Ginger) on inter-continental flights to Asia and Central America from the UK - and we don't have the benefit of the new US regulations. I would suggest that you actuallyfly with the smallest, lightest case you can for the instrument - a fitted gig bag like the McSpadden one is great.That way itlooks like an instrument to airline staff and security will look certain to fit easily in an overhead. And place it yourself in the overhead bin - just keep an eye on other passengers loading that bin and offer to help them. I never ask permission to carry on - wait until you are challenged and then pull out the new US regs.

A Ginger has proved an excellent option for travelling - it's gig baglooks like a fiddle case and so airline staff are dead scared about its potential value and leave well alone!!!!

Here it is in Costa Rica Grin.gif

10ashus
@10ashus
10 years ago
13 posts

Good day to Dusty Turtle and folkfan.

DTurtle, I will carry a copy of that article with me. Like you said, tact and diplomacy and respect for the employees is also important. Our travel experiences and their jobs have both become less pleasant than it was years ago.

Folkfan, you make a good point about the leg room. I am 5'0" and even I am crowded with the seating. You mentioned using a gun case or golf bag. Is that better protection than the padding in the dulcimer bag?

Buying a seat is not an option. My budget was stretched to pay for me a seat. I do agree that I need to have a Plan B, and maybe a plan X and Y and Z.

My trip is scheduled for May 6-11. I will share what happens.

folkfan
@folkfan
10 years ago
365 posts

If you can try to get into a situation where you can board early and get your dulcimer in the overhead. Then pray that all other bags that will also be shoved into the same compartment don't over fill. I remember one attendant yelling down the length of the plane to a man who just put in the last suitcase in the bin that the bin had to close. She ended up coming down and taking it out. I don't know where she finally stuck that case. It's alright for the government to say that the airlines have to take the instruments but no one has quite figured out how they are going to get all the extra carry on bags in the plane. Several times now family members when traveling have been in boarding groups where their carry on bags weren't even taken into the plane as the plane's compartments were crammed full. Everything for that group of passengers had to be gate checked. Or you could always buy a seat for your instrument and have no problem.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
10 years ago
1,576 posts

Just a couple of months ago, Congress passed a law on this issue, mandating that all airlines allow passengers to carry on any musical instrument that will fit in the overhead. Check out the New York Times article: http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/flying-with-instruments-gets-easier-for-musicians/

Of course it would still be a good idea to garner the support of the flight attendants, but you now have the law on your side.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
folkfan
@folkfan
10 years ago
365 posts

Whatever you do don't plan on putting your case under the seats. I've yet to see a plane that has a completely obstruction free area under the seats to begin with. Plus the person sitting next to you might seriously object to having what foot room the plane does proved for each seat taken up by your extra long under seat bag. Plus if the flight is of any length, your legs might protest the cramped spacing they'd get if you completely fill the space in front of you with a bag.

If I was going to carry a dulcimer with me, I'd get a gun case or golf club case and pay the extra for check in baggage. But trying to carry it on, nope. Sometimes passengers even end up having to check their carry on bags as there isn't enough room for all the luggage people carry on in the overhead bins. So you'd have to be prepared for that situation anyway.

10ashus
@10ashus
10 years ago
13 posts

Is there a secret password I can use to get my instrument on the plane with me?

I have called the airline and gotten mixed answers on whether I can carry my dulcimer on board. It sounds like it depends on the whim of who checks you in as to how strict they want to be about the carry-on size limits.

It would fit under the room allotted for 2 seats, if the person next to me didn't have anything to stuff on the floor.

If forced to check it in, I cannot imagine any dulcimer case, even hard sided, being able to withstand a luggage handler tossing it around, stacking it under a 100 pound suitcase, nor the wood withstanding the temperature and pressure changes in the luggage hold.

What do you folks do when you travel with instruments?


updated by @10ashus: 02/25/19 01:48:13PM