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 Ship it or check it...
Author: USFBassClarinet 
Date:   2010-07-12 16:31

Hello,

So I am going to Texas in a week for clarinetfest. I kinda need to take my bass clarinet. It is insured for travel but, is it safer to check it into baggage or to ship it through someone like UPS or FedEx? I have heard horror stories of both. I have called the airline and my case is too long by quite a few inches..like 8, for carry on. I can't really afford a separate plane ticket just for my instrument either.

Oh geez, the worry bug has hit me.

thanks!

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2010-07-12 17:09

If you have a car and can get a refund on your ticket, I'd say it just might be Road Trip time. That's what I'd do.

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Post Edited (2010-07-12 17:10)

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2010-07-12 17:29

You should be able to take a bass clarinet on as hand luggage with your other carry on. A normal case will fit in the overhead compartments.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: srattle 
Date:   2010-07-12 17:35

I would be very wary about shipping your instrument. . .

I once had an experience where I shipped my desktop computer to college, and UPS completely destroyed it (I salvaged the CD drive and that was it. . .)
When I complained to UPS about it, and had someone come over to evaluate it, he told me they would pay for the case (about $80 to $100) but everything else goes under normal conveyor belt vibration damage, and they wouldn't give me a penny more.

Keep in mind, this computer was fine before, and it came to me with a huge dent in the corner of the case (obviously from a big drop onto the floor) and the fan had been yanked out of its casing, screws and all and was bouncing around, hitting all the innards.

Basically, the moral of my story is, I wouldn't trust anything valuable to UPS ever again.

I hope that helps.

I have taken bass clarinets onto planes before as carryon with no troubles. Also, if it came down to it, I would rather get it put on the plane right at the door if it had to be checked, like people do with baby strollers. I definitely would never check it in like a normal suit case. . .never

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: davetrow 
Date:   2010-07-12 18:08

I have little experience to go on (I once shipped my R13 up to Backun and back by Fedex, which worked fine), but the thought of checking any instrument as baggage fills me with horror, imagining all sorts of awful scenarios involving not only the baggage muggers but TSA goons as well.

I'll be interested to see what more experience forum members have to say.

Dave Trowbridge
Boulder Creek, CA

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2010-07-12 18:47

Like what has been said, you should be able to take it in the cabin as one of your carry ons. I would do that. If your a member of the Union then you can always ask their advice. I always take my instruments in the cabin.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-07-12 18:49

I once traveled by airline with a bari sax. I put some bubble wrap around the instrument itself to secure it inside its hard case, then packed the hard case in a cardboard box as if I were shipping it, with more bubble wrap around the case. For lugging it through the airport I made a temporary handle for the large cardboard box using an old belt, and I checked the contraption as luggage (after removing the belt). It arrived in perfect shape (both coming and going). At some point in its return trip the TSA inspectors opened the box and case, took a look around and left a nice note explaining what they had done. Everything had been neatly re-packed, no harm done.

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: concertmaster3 
Date:   2010-07-12 19:00

Your Bass Case should fit... They said that my violin case was too big to take on the plane to NY but when I got there, they said it was fine. I think they just factor in half the space in the overhead compartment for each person, rather than the full size of the compartment.

Ron Ford
Woodwind Specialist
Performer/Teacher/Arranger
http://www.RonFordMusic.com

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2010-07-12 19:51

Given the choice, I would select in the order of preference:

1. Drive there and take your instrument with you.

2. Ship it through FedEx or another reliable carrier, paying extra for insurance for the full value of the instrument and its case and accessories.

3. Take it as carry-on bagage on the flight.

4. Fly with the instrument checked through as baggage.

I do not at all trust the airlines or the TSA folks who go through people's luggage. I have seen too many horror stories of expensive items disappearing from checked baggage.

Jeff

“Everyone discovers their own way of destroying themselves, and some people choose the clarinet.” Kalman Opperman, 1919-2010

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."


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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-12 20:56

Is it a long box case where both joints remain attached (for a low Eb bass) or a tenor sax sized box/lightweight case (usual size for a low C bass)? Both of those will be too long according to hand luggage dimensions go, though I do know bassoon and alto sax cases can go in as hand luggage.

If it's a bass to low Eb, then you should be able to take it on if the joints divide and fit in a case roughly the size of an alto sax box/lightweight case.

Chris.

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: USFBassClarinet 
Date:   2010-07-12 21:11

It is a Low C selmer. and like everyone has said, I am afraid to take it. it is the lightweight type case so it is slightly smaller than the normal selmer case, but still way over the limit.

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-12 21:19

Do you know anyone with a hard case it could fit in (plus bubblewrapping it so it won't shift around) that you could borrow for flight use?

The potential baggage handling damage to basses is the side keys and LH levers getting all bent up, but due to the length of the long joint they can only travel in a case around the same length of a tenor sax case.

Chris.

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: ohsuzan 
Date:   2010-07-12 22:53

Don't know what carrier you are flying, but if it is from Florida to Texas, it might very well be Southwest. They are actually one of the more baggage-friendly airlines, so I would be surprised if they couldn't accomodate you in some way, if you make a point to talk to them further.

As srattle said above, could you not ask them to "gate check" it for you? (There is a special compartment for things that cannot be checked as luggage, but also don't meet the criteria for carry-ons.)

I would pursue this further with the airline. If the first person you contact doesn't have anything but a stock/standard response, ask to speak to their supervisor or superior. Keep pushing up the chain, or if you can't get anywhere by phone or email, go to the airport and talk to the gate agents (BEFORE the day of your flight!).

I feel certain they have a way of dealing with this. You could not possibly be the only person using this carrier who has ever flown with a bass clarinet (or larger) instrument!

Susan

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: ClarinetGuy89 
Date:   2010-07-13 02:43

Hey USFBassClarinet,

My past experiences will hopefully help you out greatly! If you have a Low C Selmer(as I do) and have a 2 piece bass clarinet case, then you will be able to take it on the plane with you as long as you fly Southwest... I have done it traveling from Chicago to Florida. It more than fits in the overhead compartment with room to spare. They shouldn't complain as long as you do have the smaller 2 piece clarinet case. If not just explain the situation to the person at the gate, they do not care and will let you through.

I would never let my bass leave my sight in any place i don't know. It is just horrible thinking about it.

Happy flying!

Michael

Post Edited (2010-07-13 02:45)

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: concertmaster3 
Date:   2010-07-13 06:24

I did forget about the gate check, and they do put that in a certain compartment, which I'd feel a little safer about. But keep it as your carry on. My violin case was too big according to JetBlue, but when I got to the gate to check, they said that I could carry it on. It fit in the overhead compartment. The allotment was 26" and my case was about 32" I think (A bow is about 30"). I had no issue at all, and I even forgot to take my bridge off for the flight (though I did loosen my strings).

But if they say anything about the size at the gate, the gate check might be a decent choice.

Ron Ford
Woodwind Specialist
Performer/Teacher/Arranger
http://www.RonFordMusic.com

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 Re: Ship it or check it...
Author: grenadilla428 
Date:   2010-07-14 03:24

I flew with my double case for the first time this year, and was worried that it was going to be riddled with problems. To my delight, I didn't get any resistance, objections, or even questions about my instrument case! (which is rather on the large side) TSA backed it up and gave it a good hard look in the x-ray machine, but that was it. I had contingency plans, though, thanks to Dough Yeo. Although he plays trombone, he has a lot of helpful tips and information about flying with an instrument... and a trombone case is similar in length and shape to a bass case (unless you have the nifty new cases that look like a sax case).

Check it out:

http://www.yeodoug.com/resources/faq/faq_text/travel.html

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