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New costs for check-in luggage


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American Airlines will start charging $15 for the first piece of check-in luggage. Other airlines charge for the second. These costs for check-ins will probably push more air travelers to bring more carry-on luggage on board. This might have two consequences for violin cases as carry-ons:

1. The airlines may start strictly enforcing the 22 inch (some airlines, 24 inch) length limit for carry-ons. The typical 31 inch violin+ bow case would not be allowed as carry-on.

2. Even if airline personnel remain somewhat accommodating and allow you on with the 31 inch case, it's going to be harder to stow the case.

I'm going to use a 25 inch violin-only case as my carry-on for a summer trip, and carefully pack a rather inexpensive carbon-fiber bow in my check-in. This should help with issue 2, above, but won't help if airline personnel get hard-nosed about the 22 inch length limit.

Any recent experiences?

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No experience as of yet, though I do think your analysis of what may happen is accurate. Actually I expect a combination of #1 & #2, stricter enforcement of sizes as even more people try to carry all their stuff on, and more stuff thus making it harder to get the case in the overhead. Plus more people trying to shove their over packed rolling "carry-on" bag through your case!

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Thanks for the reply.

I think you caught my typo. I meant to write: The typical 31 inch violin+ bow case would NOT be allowed as carry-on.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but expect the mess you're suggesting.

PS: I just noticed the luggage ads to the left of this thread. That can't be a coincidence. Welcome to targeted advertising. That works for me; they're quite helpful.

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I don't use American Airlines (and will avoid any airline that imposes a surcharge for checked luggage for as long as I can!) but agree that the extra pressure to take carry-on luggage could have a negative impact on travelling violinists; if you've flown recently you'll notice that the bins are already fuller than they used to be as more and more people try to avoid checking luggage. However that said, the last domestic flight I was on, a month or so ago (Alaska Airlines) was full and the overhead bins were crowded but they still managed to accommodate a nice acoustic guitar that another passenger carried on, so at least some airline personnel "get it" and try to be helpful. I suppose that doesn't help when you come up against a steward/ess that's having a bad day, though... For dealing with item 1, my strategy for flying is to try to reserve seats towards the rear of the plane, so that I board early and have more likelihood of finding open bins. I fly with a standard Bobelock shaped case that has a relatively small footprint and have never been hassled about it. -Steve

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I suggest you call the airline before going to the airport and ask about the violin carry-on. I have a viola so it is even more worrisome. Luckily I have no travel plans for the foreseeable future.

I hate this shell game played by the airlines. The driving force is the cost of fuel, which is unstable. Just add a fuel surcharge tied to costs and stop trying to 'hide' these costs in other areas. The airlines should not operate at a loss, safety is too important, but the partial deregulation in such a highly regulated industry makes operating at a profit nearly impossible, unless you're Southwest Airlines. The airlines attempts to skimp has made flying an unpleasant experience of poor service and chronic overbooking.

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