Nowadays, things aren’t so simple when you’re flying with a
Sometimes you’ll get away with stashing your axe in the overhead bin; other times you’ll get a stern communiqué from an overworked flight attendant instructing you to commit your precious
Yes, in some situations all you can do is swallow hard, send your
p.s. If you enjoy the quick tips and advice offered below, join free for more!
Flying with a
1. Loosen the strings on your
Temperature and pressure changes in flight can put enough strain on your
2. Stuff it like a turkey.
Guitars are fragile. Most of us know this. But a lot of people don’t. It’s a good idea to give your
3. Know which airlines allow guitars as carry-ons.
To make it easier for you, we put together this list of airlines that are
* Knowing in advance what type of aircraft you’ll be flying in will help you decide how to pack your
4. Get a travel
Why? Flexibility. Travel guitars aren’t just novelties anymore: you can get gig-worthy travel axes ranging from custom boutique jobbers to penny-pincher models. Here are a few brands to get you started:
Traveler Guitar.com ($299+)
Best Travel Guitars.com voted the Speedster model a 9.7 out of 10 for best travel
Voyage-Air Travel Guitars ($399 +)
Their motto is “go anywhere with Voyage-Air,” and they’re right. These fully featured electric and acoustic guitars fold in half (fitting into a specially made backpack) and are easily unpacked for your gig. Thom Bresh never leaves home without one.
First Act 34” Acoustic Guitar ($39.99)
Yes, this is a children’s model acoustic. Which means it’s small, lightweight, and dirty-faced affordable (in case it breaks or gets lost). Not to mention it has decent tone for the casual player. I’ve been known to take one on camping trips and to potentially dangerous field parties.
Shipping is not always ideal for the uber-transient guitarist, but it’s a safe and viable option when flying with a
6. Invest in a good
A good, sturdy
The strength of a gig bag isn’t in its nylon fabric; it’s in the negotiating power it gives you when you’re pleading your case to a stewardess. Says Jeff, “The slim, smaller size of a gig bag means you can politely ask the flight attendant to put it in the coat check, which almost always works when flying with a
Also, carry a gig bag like a suitcase; you want to keep it inconspicuous, especially if it will be out of sight during the flight. BEWARE! Take a gig bag at your own risk. There is no guarantee that you will be able to sweet talk your way out of every situation. If you’re forced to send your
These guys throw their
SKB has been around for over 30 years and makes some of the best hardshell cases out there for transporting and protecting guitars. As a rule, form-molded, plastic cases will give you the most flexibility when flying with a
These are road cases, the kind you see roadies hauling out of tour buses and stacking backstage. Solid, rugged, and TSA-approved, they’re perhaps the best protection you can get when flying with a
7. Always be polite.
No matter how much you prepare, you can’t be ready for every scenario. Your
Jeff says: “Sometimes I just lie. I’ll say, ‘They told me at the front desk that it was fine…’ Or I’ll make sure that I get a seat in the back of the plane so I can get on first and hide my
And remember, if you’re flying with a
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