Air Travel with Your Instrument

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If you are planning on travelling with your instrument there are a few things to think about before heading off to the airport! These things will also depend on whether you are a violinist, violist, cellist or double bassist.

For violinists & violists:

  1. Does my violin or viola case meet the required measurements for overhead baggage? – Each airline has their own set of individual requirements for overhead baggage so it is important to check on the airline’s website for details. Below are the links to carry on information for a few major airlines:
  1. Is my violin packed up securely for travelling? – There is a certain way in which you should pack up your violin to ensure its safety when travelling. If it is in the overhead compartment of a plane it can be subject to bumps and knocks which can affect the set-up of the instrument. If your bridge gets knocked down not only can the tailpiece fall down onto the instrument and aesthetically damaged the belly of your violin, but the sound post can collapse as well. To prevent this from happening, roll up some paper towel and place it under the strings on either side of the bridge. The paper towel will support the bridge if it sustains a knock. We do not recommend loosening the tension off the strings as it may cause the bridge and soundpost to fall over.

Violin Packing

  1. Will I need to purchase a new case? – If your current case does not meet the dimensional requirements of your airline you may need to buy a travel case. Travel cases are smaller than your average case because they do not include a bow. If you take your violin in a travel case and have your bow in a bow case airlines with strict dimensional guidelines are more likely to accept your instrument.

For Cellists:

  1. Will I be charged extra for checking in an instrument? – Because a cello is so large, you will either need have to check it in as additional baggage or buy an extra plane seat for it. Each airline has their own set of rules, requirements and charges for checked baggage so it is important to check on the airline’s website for details. Below are the links to bulky or larger baggage for a few major airlines:
  1. Is my cello packed up securely for travelling? – There is a certain way in which you should pack up your cello to ensure its safety when travelling. If it is in the cargo pit of a plane it can be subject to bumps and knocks which can affect the set-up of the instrument. If your bridge gets knocked down not only can the tailpiece fall down onto the instrument and damaged the belly of your cello, but the sound post can collapse as well. To prevent this from happening, roll up some small towels (or shirts) and place them under the strings on either side of the bridge. The towels will support the bridge if it sustains a knock. Your cello should be packed up in one of our recommended air travel cases (mentioned below). We do not recommend loosening the tension of the strings as it may cause the bridge and soundpost to fall over.
  1. Will I need to purchase a new case? – There are only a few cello cases that we recommend for air travel, and even then, the safety of your cello in a plane cargo pit is not guaranteed. The hiscox cello case is made from durable ABS plastic and has a steel rim around the opening which limits the flex in the case. This is probably the most affordable option if you are looking to purchase a case. A more reliable but more expensive option is the bam flight cover. This is a cover which goes on top of your original case. This case however is specifically made to fit over Bam and other slimline cases, so it is always best to bring your case in to see if the bam flight case will fit over the top of your existing case. We now have an option to rent a Bam flight cover (and hard case if you don't already have one or if your current case doesn't fit inside the flight cover).

For Double Bassists:

It is not very common for a double bassist to travel with their bass unless they are leaving for an extended period of time. Usually a bass is organised at the intended destination, however If you are planning on taking your bass there are a few things you have to think about before heading off to the airport!

  1. Will I be charged extra for checking in an instrument? – Because a bass is so large, you will either have to check it in as a bulky/oversized item or as additional baggage. Each airline has their own set of rules, requirements and charges for checked baggage and bulky/oversized items so it is important to check on the airline’s website for details. Above are the links to bulky or larger baggage for a few major airlines.
  1. Is my double bass packed up securely for travelling? – There is a certain way in which you should pack up your double bass to ensure its safety when travelling. Having said this, there is always no guarantee that your double bass will arrive in one piece! If it is in the cargo pit of a plane it can be subject to bumps and knocks which can not only affect the set-up of the instrument, but can also cause serious breakages. If your bridge gets knocked down not only can the tailpiece fall down onto the instrument and aesthetically damaged the belly of your double bass, but the sound post can collapse as well. To prevent this from happening, roll up some small towels (or shirts) and place them under the strings on either side of the bridge. The towels will support the bridge if it sustains a knock. Your bass should also be packed up in a hard case. We do not recommend loosening off the tension of the strings as it may cause the bridge and soundpost to fall over.
  1. Will I need to purchase a new case? – If you are putting your double bass in the cargo of a plane, you definitely need to invest in a hard double bass case. Here is our selection of hard double bass cases.

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