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Violin And Case As Carry-on Luggage?

Scott S

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I have carried on a violin in addition to a Tumi roll on bag on every business trip I have taken since 1996.

Well over a million miles of actual travel. I have never had anyone tell me I could not take it on board. Once I had to give it to the flight attendant to put in one of the closets (not recommended). If anyone in the terminal hassles you point out that as long as the total dimensions do not exeed 44 inches you are good to go (which the normal case does not). If a flight attendant hassles you politely ask to speak to the captain. Under no circumstances allow your violin to go in checked baggage.


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I will be flying US Airways thusday, Detroit to London England with a layover in South Carolina. I would like to take my violin, but get conflicting information about taking it as carry-on luggage. Customer service tells me there are exemptions for musical instruments but the size regulations are conflicting. They told me that the flight crew has last say in matter. Please, any first hand knowledge or experience is greatly needed and appreciated. Thanks in advance.


I offer this just as an example of our experience

In late October last year we flew Emirates from Sydney to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Malta and back again in Jan '09, with a shaped case (containing the closest thing to a disposable violin we have - my number 3). At no point did anyone even mention the violin. Although it was my daughter's instrument I carried it over my shoulder - along with a backpack with a lot of camera gear - and said nothing to anyone anywhere about it. No problems at all. (which replicated my oldest daughter's experience of about 4 years ago with the same trip - and violin come to think if it)

However, my daughter has a friend who plays in a youth orchestra who did a tour of Germany last year and they HAD TO TAKE THE STINGS OFF THEIR INSTRUMENTS BEFORE GETTING ON THE PLANE IN SYDNEY I do not know what the airline was but I would have had some very interesting things to say to them if I had been there.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

FWIW (probably a lot), I talked to my distributor at Bobolock, and he said the following: Airlines normally request that a case be no more than 45", that is height, width and length altogether.

I sell one of their double violin/viola cases which is 34"x16"x6" -- which is 56". This case is usually accepted for carryon, but you should phone your airlines to make sure. Certainly if a double case is accepted, anything smaller would be fine. I've never had a problem, and often also carry a big briefcase of music, as well.


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  • 1 month later...

Recent experience with Ryanair and flying with a violin case was not positive. I payed to bring a musical instrument but still I had to send it as "fragile" baggage. They only allow one item as carry on luggage. I had a laptop and some measurement equipment in an rucksack and a quad violin case.

The quad case had to go with the fragile and arrived on the same belt as the other luggage. No information on the case that it was fragile, so so much for that.

If you plan to fly with an instrument and a laptop, I do not recommend Ryanair.

The instruments seems fine, but I would not take that risk again.

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