Whether you’re getting ready to set out on a world tour or on the holiday of a lifetime this summer, as an avid musician you’re likely to want to keep your instrument firmly at your side. If you’re planning to travel by aeroplane, this can pose problems. Many musicians worry about the potential for damage if their instrument is stored in the cargo hold, or even if they’ll be allowed to take it at all. With a little planning, you can help to ensure that you and your instrument both arrive safe and sound at your destination. Therefore, we have put together some top tips to help your trip run smoothly.
- Generally, you should be able to bring your instrument as a carry-on item or check it in with your other luggage. However, we advise contacting your airline well in advance to check their individual requirements.
- When you arrive at the check-in desk, speak to staff about storage of your instrument. Carrying your instrument as hand luggage may be subject to there being available space in the overhead lockers. Larger instruments may not be permitted in the overhead compartment or hold. As an alternative, some airlines offer you the option to buy an additional seat.
- Pack your instrument carefully with plenty of padding and use a strong, sturdy case, such as those offered by Fusion Bags. Secure your case carefully with a lock. You can also include special instructions for packing and re-packing your instrument in case your bag is chosen for inspection.
- Remove all unnecessary items from your case, and make sure that what remains is not going to breach regulations. Problem accessories can include pliers, string cutters or liquids such as cleaning fluids. Allowing extra time to pass through security checks can be a good idea, just in case there are any hold ups.
- Keep a close eye on your instrument bag while in the airport terminal as these high-value items can be enticing targets for thieves.
- If you have a guitar or other stringed instrument, be sure to detune it a little before you travel. It’s best to keep some tension in the strings though, as if it is stored in the cargo hold it can be affected by changes in temperature and pressure.
- We also recommend clear labelling of your luggage, including your instrument bag. This can help to reunite you with your instrument if it gets lost in transit.
- When removing your instrument from the baggage carousel, open the case and check carefully for any damage. If any harm has come to your instrument, report it to airport personnel and fill out a baggage irregularity report. Remember to keep the reference number you are given in a safe place for future reference.
With some forward-thinking and by following our handy tips, you can have peace of mind while taking your music all around the globe.