One of the most common questions I am asked by musicians new to traveling is ‘How to travel with a guitar on a plane, or is a guitar allowed on the plane?’
In this article, you will learn about all the regulations for traveling with a guitar as well as some helpful tips that will save you time and stress the next time you decide to fly with you.
In short, the answer is yes. According to the law, guitars and other musical instruments are already allowed to be carried on planes. However, the caveat is that there are certain regulations that you must follow depending on the specific airline you choose.
Guitars are allowed on planes…it’s the law!
Many people think that because guitars take up a lot of space and are oddly shaped, they should be banned from airplanes because of the inconvenience they bring to others.
However, this is a common misconception. In fact, the Department of Transportation in conjunction with the TSA has enacted new policies governing musical instrument travel. As an artist, the good news is that you are legally allowed to fly with your beautiful guitar.
The two organizations reached an agreement that airlines must consider guitars as checked baggage and carry-on items. You can carry your guitar depending on its size and shape. If you buy an economy ticket, you can carry a small musical instrument along with other small personal items.
Are there any restrictions when carrying guitars on planes?
Although many airlines may allow you to take your guitar on the plane, there are specific policies and procedures for flying with guitars depending on which airline you choose to go with. Some allow you to carry one tool and a carry-on bag.
Others have restrictions on the size of carry-on baggage allowance or require you to pay for a seat to carry your guitar.
In addition, you may be allowed to bring your guitar as a carry-on bag only if there is sufficient storage space at the time you board the plane.
Therefore, before boarding the plane, make sure that your guitar and bag are checked by airline security. This helps ensure that the plane you’re on has enough space in its overhead compartment to accommodate a guitar case.
The standard dimensions required for all tools are 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Available dimensions include both handles and wheels. It should basically fit in one seat.
How to travel with a guitar on an international trip?
If you’re traveling abroad with your guitar, there are a couple of options to think about how you carry your instrument. You can carry your guitar as a carry-on bag or as checked baggage. As a carry-on item, you need a high-density, well-reinforced bag for your guitar.
A light bag with a backpack strap can make it easier for you to carry your guitar. However, soft bags don’t offer the best protection, so if you’re going to pack your guitar as luggage, start looking for a hard case instead.
Invest in a heavy-duty hard case for your guitar that is supported by a steel frame. Cheap and low-quality bags and bags lack proper padding and support, which can lead to damage during transit.
You may also want to consider carrying a prominent, easily identifiable bag in case your instrument gets out of sight.
If you are interested in choosing a hard case, I recommend the SKB Guitar Bag. Just make sure you get one that matches the shape of your guitar. You can find SKB hard cases on Amazon.
Moreover, before booking a flight with any airline, be sure to check if they allow passengers to fly with guitars or other musical instruments. Make a list of them and then choose the list with favorable rules and procedures. This can help you avoid potential disappointments on the actual day of the trip.
When you measure the weight of your device, remember to include the carrying case. Its weight should not exceed 70 kg (it may vary from one airline to another). You must also not carry any tool other than the permitted machine.
How to travel with a guitar (4 simple tips)
The fact of the matter is that flying with a guitar would be uncomfortable.
Although the law allows guitars to be used in airplanes, there will always be some complications when you’re carrying a large and delicate item on a plane.
Here are some tips on how to fly with a guitar that can save you a lot of trouble.
1. Learn how to pack a guitar for flight
As a guitar owner, it is crucial that you understand how to pack a guitar for flight while getting ready to fly. Some tips on how to pack a guitar include:
Relax your guitar strings – This helps prevent strain caused by pressure and temperature changes on your guitar in flight. These changes can affect the neck of your instrument. Always do this before packing up your guitar for a flight.
Use Extra Padding – When packing your guitar for flight, make sure your guitar is properly wrapped in bubble wrap for proper cushioning, even if it’s in a case. If you don’t have bubble wrap, use common household items, such as extra shirts, towels, and sheets instead. Proper padding helps hold your guitar in place and reduces movement while in the case.
If you will be traveling with your guitar, learning how to pack a guitar for flight is essential.
It is also very easy as there are only a few steps you need to remember. So don’t be lazy! Packing your guitar properly can protect you from causing permanent damage to it.
2. Use a hard Case
This is an obvious thing that most people ignore.
Hard cases can be heavy and uncomfortable when compared to lighter bags.
However, in terms of protecting your machine, it can’t be beaten.
And if we’re talking about how to travel with a guitar, then protection is crucial!
There are thousands of different ways your guitar can be damaged when you travel with it.
So if you want peace of mind, do yourself a favor and invest in a hard case.
3. Reserve your seat on the plane in the front or the back
This will depend on the airline’s boarding policy. Some airlines will not have pre-assigned seats, others will.
However, if you can get a good seat in the front or back of the plane, it will make your life a lot easier when flying with a guitar.
The ability to board either first or last allows you to carry your guitar case without anyone else getting in the way.
Plus, when you get off the plane, you’ll be really close to the exit, which means you’ll be able to grab your guitar and be the first person to solo, avoiding all the chaos.
Like some people who travel a lot, this is a pro tip that is often overlooked when people think of flying with a guitar.
4. Have your guitar stored in advance
Often, if you politely express your concern about protecting your guitar to a flight attendant, she can accommodate you.
Explain that your guitar is fragile and expensive and that you would like to know if there is anything they can do to help prevent it from getting damaged.
In some cases, they will even have a front locker or storage space in the front where they can keep your guitar.
Storing your guitar in attic compartments can be inconvenient and risky as your guitar is likely to move around.
Plus, because your guitar cases have an unusual shape, they end up taking up more space than regular luggage.
If you politely ask a flight attendant, he will most likely store your guitar in the front of the plane because it makes there less room for other passengers to stash their luggage.
How to travel with a guitar – Conclusion
So to summarize, guitars are allowed on airplanes, period.
When you’re having a hard time flying with your guitar, just understand that the law allows you to carry your guitar on an airplane.
You will be able to travel with your guitar with any of the major airlines such as American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta without any problems.
Just be sure to keep in mind that there are procedures, provisions, and guidelines on how to travel with it specifically for each airline. You should consider calling the airline ahead of time to plan your guitar carry in advance. This will save you the stress of dealing with it on the day of the flight.
Finally, remember to pack your guitar properly before you travel. Poor packaging can cause damages that are not covered by the airline.