Flying with Your Guitar

Man, another large chunk of time with no blog updates. I really need to get better than that, I seem to go in spurts.  I guess I have just been busy with life, teaching students, trying to get gigs, etc.  I have a number of arrangements that I would like to TAB out and post, plus I need to work on trying to notate all the tunes from my cd.

I wanted to post some thoughts on flying with your guitar.  I have done so on and off for a number of years.  In the beginning I just carried it on in a normal hard shell case and never had any real problems.   Things are stricter now, and I dont want to risk my expensive hand made guitar getting checked in a normal case.  Since i dont fly with it a ton I use a Case Extreme, and have not had a problem yet.(knock on wood)

There is an interesting article here by Chris Smither.  Here takes a decidedly differently approach, involving nothing more than a gig bag and a bit of social engineering.  Its a tempting approach to try at some point, though perhaps a bit stressful.

If you can afford it probably the best bet is a Calton or similar flight case.  They are not overly heavy or big.  The cost is the main factor, as they run about 700-800 dollars.  While I would hate to have any guitar of mine broken, be it cheap or expensive, it would be hard for me to justify a $700 case for a $1000 guitar. 

Being that I only travel with my guitar once a year or so the Case Extreme fits the bill nicely.  Its affordable and provides good protection.  I can stand on the top and it won’t deform.  The only downside is the size.  Its pretty big.  On the way to the airport the other morning mine would not fit in the trunk of the taxi that picked me up, so we had to put it in the backseat.  So you have to consider your travel plans a bit, such as how you are getting to and from the airport, how many people are in the car, etc. 

I pack my acoustic guitar in its case, pad the headstock area, loosen the strings, etc, and then put that in the case extreme.  I try to use the foam inserts to keep it in place, but they are usually all knocked loose when i pick the guitar up.  But I think as the long as the guitar is packed well in its original case, the Case Extreme should protect that from any damage. 

There are still other things to worry about, such as theft, or TSA agents opening your case and not closing it up correctly.  I guess those are all things you risk when checking a guitar.  A good instrument insurance can grant some peace of mind.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on flying with your guitar, or flight cases?  Let me know!




Leave a Reply