Traveling with a guitar is a challenge, though many airlines are taking steps to make it less cumbersome and safer for our instruments. Here are some tips Benedetto President Howard Paul has picked up along the way:
- Board early. Use the same airline to earn Frequent Flyer status, you will be permitted early boarding. Until you have acquired this status, you can purchase the option to board early. This will help to ensure have overhead space.
- Make sure you know what kind of aircraft you’re on. If even one of the legs of the trip is a CJA (regional jet), whose overhead space cannot accommodate a guitar, don’t bring a gig bag. If the planes are all bigger, consider not even bringing a flight case, just a leather bag.
- Allow ample connection time. If you can’t bring your guitar on the plane, you will not be able to leave the gate until your guitar is brought up, and now you run the risk being last aboard the next flight.
- Check all of your clothes and carry your guitar. The airline will stop you if you exceed the carry-on allowance of one bag, but not the size requirement of a guitar.
- Always dress nicely and treat the gate agents politely. Ask the crew to give final approval even if the gate agents try to block you into valet checking. They don’t really know how full the overhead space is, because they’re not on the plane.
- Let them make the call. When boarding, ask the attendant at the door if they’d prefer the case go in the overhead or in a closet.