Occasionally a few musicians need to travel with a musical instrument. If the instrument is of moderate size, the size of a medium guitar or smaller, it can often be taken as carry-on luggage. But this is never certain, and dependant on the room available in the plane’s overhead storage lockers. Occasionally the airline might refuse to take a larger instrument or insist that it goes in the stowed luggage, at a considerable price.
If a guitar or similar instrument is in stowed luggage it will require a case. Unfortunately, a standard hard case will not suffice. Guitars, basses and other large instrument require a flight case. These are both heavy and expensive, but they will protect the instrument.
The instrument inside the case should be padded so that it does not move about. Bubble wrap is the best option here. Also, put a length of cardboard or foam wrap between the strings and the fretboard.
If there are any small items inside the guitar case, picks, screws, capos, Allan keys …etc. It is best to remove them. Sometimes a separate compartment inside the case will keep these separate, but you will want to make sure this is secure.
Detune the stings on the guitar or instrument. This prevents force being put the instruments neck in low pressure environments, like the plane at high altitude.
Acoustic guitars, violins and violas should have a humidifier in the case.
If you can’t take the instrument on the plane as carry-on you will probably have to have it gate-checked. This means it is collected and stowed as you board the plane. And you may be able to collect it from the gate at your destination. This is helpful as the instrument and its case will not be subjected to as much rough handling as other checked luggage.
Consider buying a cheaper instrument for travel, to prevent damage to any expensive or valued item.
We have plenty of room for luggage on our Sydney airport shuttle services.