Whether you’re a touring rock band or just enjoying a New Year break, airports can present all kinds of problems for the travelling musician. This is especially apparent when boarding a plane, with many a guitar-playing flier disembarking at their destination only to find a crack or two in their precious axe.
Each airline and airport has different policies regarding the size and shape of instruments which can be carried on board or stored overhead and under a seat and you should always check with your airline if they will allow you to carry your instrument in the cabin before booking your tickets.
If not, here are a few tips on protecting your guitar when you’re leaving on a jet plane:
#1 Loosen your strings
Altitude, air pressure and temperature can all play havoc with your guitar and having tightened strings can put an incredible strain on the instrument’s neck. Therefore always make sure you loosen the strings before flying. Some guitarists also recommend packing a humidifier alongside the guitar. The more you can keep a guitar comfortable during a flight the better.
#2 Pack your case carefully
It sounds obvious, but make sure there is no space in your guitar case after packing your guitar. Any empty areas increase the likelihood that your guitar will bash against the sides of the case so packing towels or clothes in any gaps should do the trick.
#3 Be polite to staff
A little peace, love and understanding can go a long way when you’re dealing with airport staff. Politely explain to the attendants how precious and expensive your guitar is and ask if there is anything that can be done to ensure its safety. When you’re doing this always keep your cool and get the staff on your side.
#4 Invest in a hard travel case
A good, sturdy travel case shouldn’t just be the preserve of a professional band and if you’re travelling regularly by air it’s worth investing some serious money to get that peace of mind when you’re flying. Casextreme is known as one of the best companies around, with the world-famous SKB also worth checking out.
#5 Check out Insure4Music
Insuring your musical instruments against loss provides the cover you need in case your instruments are lost in transit, on a plane for example, or are damaged beyond repair to the point where they are a “write off”.
Insure4Music’s specialist musical instrument insurance protect musicians and DJs from having to pay out for repairs or replacements should something happen to their equipment. Cover starts from as little as £25 per year and insures against a myriad of different aspects including theft, loss and damage of your equipment.
Most home insurance policies do not offer the cover musicians need, or take into account how instruments are used. Instruments and equipment are often not insured when taken away from the home, yet we understand that leaving your equipment at home 100% of the time is unrealistic, especially if you are a touring musician, a DJ or performance artist.