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Thread: Under Seat on Plane?

  1. #26
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Just to be completely clear :
    Are you saying that a cheap seat with United does not allow you to bring a carry-on piece of luggage which can be stowed in the overhead space? I've never come across that before, even with cheap airlines like Ryannair.

    I've been wondering why you couldn't have your mandolin as your carry-on. Anything else could maybe be stuffed in your coat pockets, carried by your travelling companions or simply packed in a bag going into the hold.
    Well, now you have!

    United Airlines recently established a budget fare class below Economy for domestic travel, called "Basic Economy." And NO, you cannot bring an item aboard intended for overhead storage in Basic Economy: only a 'personal item' for storage under the seat, sized 9" x 10" x 17" or less. I, for one, would NEVER buy an "Economy Plus" seat for anything more than a 1-day trip (2 at most)!

    However, you may bring aboard a musical instrument, even with a Basic Economy fare, or so I've been given to understand. If so, that's good news. I have never tested this, however, because I have never flown in Basic Economy myself.

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Well, now you have!

    United Airlines recently established a budget fare class below Economy for domestic travel, called "Basic Economy." And NO, you cannot bring an item aboard intended for overhead storage in Basic Economy: only a 'personal item' for storage under the seat, sized 9" x 10" x 17" or less. I, for one, would NEVER buy an "Economy Plus" seat for anything more than a 1-day trip (2 at most)!

    However, you may bring aboard a musical instrument, even with a Basic Economy fare, or so I've been given to understand. If so, that's good news. I have never tested this, however, because I have never flown in Basic Economy myself.
    I've not flown Basic Economy on United but my daughter has a few times. When you factors in the fees for luggage she felt she really didn't save any money. I believe that flights you book from budget travel services like Priceline sell these seats. One option for the OP is to see if you can upgrade the seat. If you have a United account they usually show a set map with upgrade prices

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    In 1980 just after I had finished my first mandolin I was taking it to show my Grandfather. I was on Frontier on a prop-jet and I stowed it under the seat but it was in the foot area and they said they had to check it. It nearly turned into a scene like when they dragged the guy off the flight recently, but I finally relented and it made it just fine. Was in a terrible case, kind of a Loar replica that was made out of cardboard.

  5. #29
    Celtic Strummer Matt DeBlass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I can't find the thread right now, but I seem to recall there was a compilation of airlines and their musical instrument policies somewhere. For what it's worth, when I've flown United they've always been really helpful regarding musical instruments. Last time I flew United Economy (though not Basic Economy) with a guitar I approached them and asked if I'd have to gate check it, they told me "nope, it's a musical instrument, if we need to, we'll pull a couple of suitcases and put them in the hold."
    They're generally nice folks, and I think a few bits of bad publicity over the past few years have made them all the more eager to be helpful.
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I have flown 10 times with a mandolin in the last two years or so. For most of those flights I have hung my mandolin, with a flight attendant's permission, in the closet just as you enter the plane. I travel with a pretty inexpensive mandolin, and usually I keep it in a tennis racquet sleeve (!) which keeps it in a slim profile. It doesn't hurt to show them that it is a mandolin; they want to help keep it safe, too! My fatter gig bag would take up more room in the closet -- they are usually pretty full -- so likely would need to go in an overhead bin. I usually enter the plane among the last passengers, and if I am putting my mando overhead, I just select a bin that is already full so that no one else is going to put anything there.

    If your mando bag is small, I doubt a flight attendant, either at the gate, and certainly not on the plane, is going to care (if they even know, and the ones on the plane itself certainly don't) if you have paid for a ticket that allots you carry on space.
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  7. #31
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by johngdon View Post
    I have flown 10 times with a mandolin in the last two years or so. For most of those flights I have hung my mandolin, with a flight attendant's permission, in the closet just as you enter the plane. I travel with a pretty inexpensive mandolin, and usually I keep it in a tennis racquet sleeve (!) which keeps it in a slim profile. It doesn't hurt to show them that it is a mandolin; they want to help keep it safe, too! My fatter gig bag would take up more room in the closet -- they are usually pretty full -- so likely would need to go in an overhead bin. I usually enter the plane among the last passengers, and if I am putting my mando overhead, I just select a bin that is already full so that no one else is going to put anything there.

    If your mando bag is small, I doubt a flight attendant, either at the gate, and certainly not on the plane, is going to care (if they even know, and the ones on the plane itself certainly don't) if you have paid for a ticket that allots you carry on space.
    That's mostly correct, but you seem to be forgetting in your analysis that Basic Economy passengers are required to board last! At that point, there is generally no space remaining anywhere in overhead storage on most flights these days, and certainly not in the onboard closet (which is intended for priority passengers). It's not that the flight attendants care personally whether you're Economy or Economy Plus when it comes to using the overhead space. That question is MOOT!

    In my opinion, you are engaging in very risky trade-off when you put your mandolin in a smaller-and-flimsier bag instead or a proper gig bag or, better yet, a proper hardshell case. On the one hand, you may be more likely to convince the attendant to squeeze it into the limited closet space. That's good. But on the other hand, if you fail in that quest (and you surely will, eventually!!), you will then be forced to store your mandolin in the overhead with less-than-good protection, or -- God forbid -- gate-check it in that flimsy tennis bag. That's not good.

    The safer alternative is to use a hardshell case AND arrange to board early (perhaps by paying more, or taking advantage of various exceptions or special flyer programs), and storing the case in the overhead area. And for the 1% of the time when you may be forced to gate check it, you know it's as well-protected as possible, under the circumstances. That is the lower risk option.

    Or decide to live dangerously...

  8. #32
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    The reason I posted here was because time was up and I had only just discovered that my flight may not allow a carry on! Don’t ask me how this happened - too much to explain. I bought the flight at Priceline. I arrived at the airport very early, and what I finally discovered was that my ticket was not basic Economy but some other economy ticket, roughly half the price of regular airfare.

    My ticket did, in fact, allow for carry on + one personal item. I had to pay $30 for a checked bag to bring my clothing, etc. Still, I saved quite a bit overall on airfare. Next time, I will not buy a half price ticket! My old codger peace of mind is worth something.

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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I flew American last month; regional, connecting to a larger plane, w/a carry-on and a hard-cased mando (regular, not basic economy). Carry-on went overhead, mando under the seat. It does stick out between your feet, but I had no problem w/the airline. You do lose footroom but I found it manageable for my size 10s.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Pepe, I find that surprising because that would be considered an impediment to getting out and it's something they're supposed to check.
    One thing I learned was when they ask for people who need extra time boarding early they aren't supposed to question why. I flew with my first octave in a gigbag and did that to get it in the overhead. It was still the flight attendants call if they felt it was taking too much room.

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  13. #35
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    "Pepe, I find that surprising because that would be considered an impediment to getting out and it's something they're supposed to check."
    yes

  14. #36
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I have flown many times with my mandolin. I travel with an inexpensive instrument, in a cheap superior gig bag. I usually have the body under the seat and the neck sticking between my feet. No problems so far. I often have my tablet in the case down by the body and a paperback in by the headstock. I don't think either of my hard cases would work.

  15. #37
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I always fly with my mandolin, usually in a hard case though sometimes in my gig bag, and always put it under the seat. Provided I'm not in the exit row, usually there's no issue. Sometimes I do cover it with a sweatshirt or something but I don't think that's really necessary. I think of the hundreds of flights I've been on with my mandolin under the seat, maybe 3 times I've had an issue. All 3 times, the attendants took the case to the coat closet for first class after I requested not to have it gate checked. Never been forced to do so.

    If you are concerned about the mandolin and not so concerned about your fellow passengers, you could simply make sure you are first in your boarding group to get on the plane and toss your mandolin in the overhead along with your other carry on. I've done that before sometimes, while I don't feel particularly awesome if someone else needs to gate check because of me - I justify that by saying my mandolin is worth more than their suitcase and the mandolin case is not designed for a baggage handler to toss like a suit case. haha.

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