Re: Flying with a mandolin...
This past week I flew to Phoenix [with connecting flights in Dallas/Fort Worth] and back on American Airlines. I carried my mandolin in a Travelite case as my carry on. On the initial flight I was asked to gate check the instrument and politely balked - I explained briefly what it was and the flight attendant then let me store it in the closet. On all remaining flights there was no problem [they didn't even ask about it] storing in the overhead storage bins. I've flown with it many times and this was the first time that I was asked to gate check; normally it hasn't been perceived a problem.
Those who think they should think, like they think others think they should think, need to think out their thinking, I think.