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AFM and Carry On Baggage


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On 4/16/2019 at 10:14 PM, b_erin said:

Thank you all for posting this topic, y'all really saved me as I'm about to fly British Airways. FWIW, I looked into it after reading this thread and they do allow violins on as long as you call them more than 24 hrs in advance of your flight departure and get it added to your booking. They will ask the dimensions and weight and have it added so you can be guaranteed to take it on with you. I just got off the phone with British Airways and had this done. I will update only if I run into an issue with actually being able to take it on with me for my flights. Cheers!

That's great to hear.

I'm a fiddler (Irish trad) and used to travel from the US to Ireland via Aer Lingus. I found, as mentioned above, that getting to the airport early was helpful. If I could get past the ticket counter I could get on with the fiddle. Once I got past the ticket counter I was OK - the "gate" people would always let me carry it on. In fact, I typically brought a cheaper fiddle anyway, just in case.

But once the ticket counter person told me I'd have to check it in as baggage. I said "But this is a $10,000 violin," which it wasn't. The person said "Then don't bring it."

 

Edited by Ergoetal
incorrect use of "gate person" - corrected "Aer" spelling
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

 I was traveling last week. I asked everyone I could about my case at the airport. They all said it would be no problem.

The trick is to board as early as possible, to get overhead space. Most people are carrying on "rollers" of a standard size. Once they put one in there is no room for violins or violas.

I boarded as soon as I could and had no problems. A violist from the Minneapolis Symphony boarded late and they had to scramble to accommodate his case, but they did find overhead space for him as well.

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  • 3 months later...
On 5/16/2022 at 3:58 PM, aleae34 said:

 I was traveling last week. I asked everyone I could about my case at the airport. They all said it would be no problem.

The trick is to board as early as possible, to get overhead space. Most people are carrying on "rollers" of a standard size. Once they put one in there is no room for violins or violas.

I boarded as soon as I could and had no problems. A violist from the Minneapolis Symphony boarded late and they had to scramble to accommodate his case, but they did find overhead space for him as well.

I have no doubt that many people carry their violins along on airline flights without trouble for whatever reasons, but I feel that everyone should know the following.

If you consult the carry-on rules (including those for musical instruments) for various US airlines, the usual length limit for carry-ons is 22 inches (21.9, international).  https://travel.usnews.com/features/carry-on-luggage-sizes-size-restrictions-by-airline

The conventional length for 4/4 violins alone (no case) is 23 inches.  Then, of course, there's your bow (24 inches?), as well, and my favorite case is 31 inches long......... :huh:

IMHO, this means that all violins board (or not) as a carry-on at the discretion of the ramp agents, the flight crew, and ultimately the Captain, who has final say.  Doesn't that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling as you approach the boarding area with your priceless companion?  And you'll have this uncertainty at every single connection of your multistage round trip.  Could all this be related to the possible sale of extra seats?  :ph34r:  If all full-size violins are technically in violation of the carry-on rules, it certainly explains the continuing horror stories.  :rolleyes:

 

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Usually, I put it on a shoulder strap so it is more or less hidden by my back.  It helps that I am 6'1".  For regional flights, a small shaped case would be necessary, but for international flights even a double case seems to work out OK.  

Alternatives would be a violin-only case (Musafia is now in that business!).  A separate case for the bow can go in almost any overhead compartment, no matter how full.  Or, if you want to take a different sort of risk, the bow case can be put into a large-ish suitcase that goes in the hold.  For that, I'd want a rigid piece, though.

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/9/2022 at 10:06 AM, violinnewb said:

my child is going on an orchestra trip and has been told that she can carry-on her violin.  I think I should mention that the school booked the entire plane.  There is your work-around to the TSA rules. :lol:

The rules affecting carry-on size are those of the airlines, not the TSA's.  Amazingly, the TSA rules are the more liberal of the two. 

On 9/12/2022 at 2:37 PM, Ernee said:

Usually, I put it on a shoulder strap so it is more or less hidden by my back.  It helps that I am 6'1".  For regional flights, a small shaped case would be necessary, but for international flights even a double case seems to work out OK.  

Alternatives would be a violin-only case (Musafia is now in that business!).  A separate case for the bow can go in almost any overhead compartment, no matter how full.  Or, if you want to take a different sort of risk, the bow case can be put into a large-ish suitcase that goes in the hold.  For that, I'd want a rigid piece, though.

My observations on my just completed trip were that rolling carry-ons (which I don't use) were particularly singled out for "valet check-in", which means confiscation at the departure jetway and return in the arrival jetway of each connecting flight.  Anything "valet checked" is tagged and stuffed in the cargo compartment with the pre-checked baggage.  I suspect that this was actually the intended fate of many violins in "The aircrew told me I had to check my violin case!!!!" horror stories, as they are hard cases like many small roll-ons.  "Valet check-in" is currently very popular with some (especially regional) airlines because they use aircraft with limited overhead storage and stuff them like sardine cans besides.  A contributing influence is also predicted inclement weather on certain flights.  Don't carry anything but a backpack and a computer bag (stuff your purse in it, too), and you won't be hassled.   Oh, and while it's not as much of a buffer as it used to be, use any perks you're entitled to, and also avoid flying main or economy.  :) 

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

OT...

If everyone only travelled with necessities and not with untold amounts of random sh*t...

None of this would be an issue. <_<

...

...

..

:ph34r:

I make it a rule to only travel with meticulously inventoried amounts of carefully chosen, top quality sh*t.  Random!  How dare you?  :P  :lol: 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/24/2022 at 12:55 PM, David Rosales said:

I don't know if this is helpful, but here is the relevant law in the U.S.: FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012

 

 

Here is the most recent federal regulation that I could find that implements this law:

14 CFR 251

 

David, please note that the judicious [pun intended] use of "can be stowed" as weasel-words in the legislation as passed, in practice produces the situations I described above for anyone without a privileged boarding status.  :)

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8 hours ago, Violadamore said:

David, please note that the judicious [pun intended] use of "can be stowed" as weasel-words in the legislation as passed, in practice produces the situations I described above for anyone without a privileged boarding status.  :)

Yup.  It is essential to buy your boarding group.  It's increasing my ticket cost by almost $100 these days since you usually have to pay around $20 per flight leg to upgrade to an earlier boarding group.

On the other hand... for the first time since 9/11, I've been allowed a few times to stow my viola in the coat closet at the front of the plane.  That used to be my go-to move and I'm glad the option seems to have returned.

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There was a company that developed a roller carry-on that took a violin inside.  If you stow it diagonally, you should be able to get it into a 21-22" suitcase.  They also developed a telescoping handle for the carry-on that concealed the bow.  When you get on board, remove the bow.  It should be almost undetectable in the overhead compartment.  You could fuss with your own luggage to do the same.  Take a nice, hard-sided Rimowa, Samsonite, Briggs & Riley, etc, and use cut-out pieces of foam to hold the violin. 

Of course, there are conventional cases that don't hold bows and are short enough to cause very little questioning.  Musafia now offers one.

The bow is a bit more of a trick, but if you aren't worried about theft you could put that into a strong case and stick it-- diagonally, again-- into a check-in suitcase.  Or take your chances by slinging the tiniest possible bow case over your shoulder.

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1 hour ago, Ernee said:

There was a company that developed a roller carry-on that took a violin inside.  If you stow it diagonally, you should be able to get it into a 21-22" suitcase.  They also developed a telescoping handle for the carry-on that concealed the bow.  When you get on board, remove the bow.  It should be almost undetectable in the overhead compartment.  You could fuss with your own luggage to do the same.  Take a nice, hard-sided Rimowa, Samsonite, Briggs & Riley, etc, and use cut-out pieces of foam to hold the violin. 

Of course, there are conventional cases that don't hold bows and are short enough to cause very little questioning.  Musafia now offers one.

The bow is a bit more of a trick, but if you aren't worried about theft you could put that into a strong case and stick it-- diagonally, again-- into a check-in suitcase.  Or take your chances by slinging the tiniest possible bow case over your shoulder.

Wonder who will make the first travel telescoping or foldable bow. :D

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