Airlines and musicians seem to be at loggerheads with one another when it comes to transportation of the musical instruments. Since the musicians have to carry their favorite instruments with them for their performances or even for routine practice, there is no other way but to carry these aboard the airplanes. Problems in carrying these by air are many. Prohibitive or highly restrictive airline rules and policies of the airlines are the first layer of hindrance which the musicians have to cope with. If they are lucky enough to carry these on the flights, whether as cabin or as checked in baggage, the next hindrance to ensure that these remain safe and are not lost or damaged. Whether it is the favorite sitar of Indian maestro Ravi Shankar or even the guitars or violins of the less popular musicians, airlines have a bad reputation of ensuring their safe carriage.
Department of Transportation of US has now permitted the carriage of guitars, violins and other smaller musical instruments on board as cabin baggage. However, here is a general checklist of some important tips which have to be considered before taking musical instruments along:
- Check whether the airline allows its carriage in the first place. You can also check which airline has the most friendly policies regarding its carriage.
- Check for the size restrictions and weight restrictions.
- It is better to inform Customer service reps of airline at the time of making the booking for tickets about the nature, size and weight of musical instruments before making the reservations.
- Ascertain where all these can be kept and whether there is sufficient space for it to fit in.
- Generally, stringed or fragile items, which are not too bulky or fragile, shall be carried as hand baggage.
- If you have to place the instruments in checked baggage, do take all precaution in its packing including proper labeling to ensure safe handling.
- Always have some extra time for checking in since it is advisable to check in instruments after screening in your presence only. So, arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled check in time.