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Thread: Under Seat on Plane?

  1. #1
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Under Seat on Plane?

    I have an economy ticket with United; may have been a bad decision to buy the cheap seat. I’m not allowed a regular carry on, but I’m allowed a personal item if it can go under the seat. Has anyone tried this with a mandolin case? I hate to make this 2 to 3 week trip without a mandolin. I plan to borrow a guitar in Louisiana, but unlikely I could secure a loaner mandolin over there.
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    You're not gonna get a mandolin under your seat enough to satisfy an attendant. No mandos east of the Red River?????
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Just don’t know anyone in my hometown that even owns one.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I'm guessing it won't fit, but check the website for the dimensions that are allowed under the seat. Also, most airports have a little display near the entrance or your gate that works kind of like those height-checkers for kids at amusement parks. You put your luggage/carry-on/what-have-you in front, and it has little markers that show you if it qualifies as a personal item or if you need to check it.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    The planes I've been on have barely had enough room under the seat for a laptop.
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Last time I flew I had to pay $56 for an extra carryon.
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Won't fit !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I often travel with a Seagull mandolin which is small and ideal for travelling with.
    It is small enough to fit in my hand luggage along with my clothes etc, so I don't have any check in stuff.

    I just went to Crete with it like that - a journey which involved 6 flights altogether - and yes, I did have to put my bag under my seat on one of them. which I have done once or twice before. But in general, I think a standard mandolin case would not fit. A gig bag might though?
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    Celtic Strummer Matt DeBlass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I've kinda made it work in a hard case, though it was really uncomfortable and as soon as we were in the air I shifted it so it was sitting between my knees. I had better luck with one of my less-expensive instruments in a gig bag.
    If I call my guitar my "axe," does that mean my mandolin is my hatchet?

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    The allowed under-seat dimensions on US domestic flights are 18" x 14" x 8". A typical mandolin -- even without its case! -- is 24"-28" long. Therefore, it WILL NOT FIT in the underseat space. Period. That doesn't mean that some folks haven't simply gotten away with it, because they hid their instruments artfully from the cabin attendant, or because a lax cabin attendant simply did not notice. But no two ways about it: their mandolins intruded into the floor area intended for passenger legs and feet, not hand baggage. This area is kept clear by very strict FAA regulations to allow for a faster evacuation in the event of a problem.

    So please, do not board with the intention of placing your mandolin under a seat, despite what some folks may have written in this thread.

    That said, your mandolin will generally fit, inside a good, hardshell case, in the overhead space on nearly all large commercial aircraft (Boeing 700-series; Airbus 300-series). It will also fit, in most cases, in the overhead space found in many smaller regional jets, like the CRJ 700/900 series or Embraer ERJ series.

    My recommendation? (1) Place your mandolin in a good hardshell case (Calton, Hoffee, Price, Pegasus, etc.), just in case it has to get gate-checked because the overhead space is full. (2) Try to board early, so that some of the overhead space is still available. If you need to pay something extra to do this, then pay extra! You can also get early boarding privileges on some airlines (like United) by using their credit card. Or being a frequent flyer. Or having a disability. And so on. And don't be afraid to ask the cabin attendant for help. He or she might be able to find closet space for the instrument if no overhead is left, if you approach them politely with a warm smile.

    I travel frequently by air with a mandolin (perhaps 10-12 times a year), unlike some folks who may be offering advice based on very limited personal experience. The rules are constantly changing for travel with instruments, but under the latest rules, my mandolin goes successfully into the overhead on practically 99 of every 100 flights. I have only had to gate-check it once in the past five years, and I have NEVER checked it as baggage.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I stand corrected:

    Q: What is the carry-on policy for musical instruments on a Basic Economy ticket?
    A: In the case of customers who purchased a Basic Economy ticket, a small musical instrument may be carried on as long as the instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the customer at the time of boarding.

    A larger musical instrument that does not fit in the overhead bin due to its size and is brought to the gate will be checked to your final destination and subject to the applicable checked baggage fees plus a $25 gate handling charge (payment by credit card only).
    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...onomy-faq.aspx

    I would still recommend a good hard-case.
    Last edited by colorado_al; Apr-06-2019 at 5:13pm.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I always gate check an instrument if it it won't go on the plane.
    They take it from you out at the gate and hand carry it to the plane.
    It goes with the baby carriages etc.
    At the other end they bring it to you just outside the door of the plane, and you carry it the rest of the way.
    Pretty safe as checked luggage goes.
    I have done it with guitars and huge Sitar cases too.
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I stand corrected:



    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...onomy-faq.aspx

    I would still recommend a good hard-case.
    This is gold! I’ve been reading rules for carry on, when musical instruments are covered in a different section! Thanks Al, I’ve bookmarked that is on my phone.

    sblock, thanks, I agree with your sentiments. I have flown with my mandolin in overhead compartments before, just never flew United in the cheap seats that say I can’t have a carry on.
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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    I just traveled twice and learned there is the policy, with cheap tickets, that allows a small musical instrument like my mandolin to be carried on. Even if the ticket doesn't allow anything the musical instrument is allowed. An employee at the ticket counter looked it up as an afterthought.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Sometimes I wonder what this funny old world is coming to. What happened to priorities?
    As you board the aircraft there should be special racks where all the instruments can be placed.
    And that awful music they play on the speakers? What are they thinking?
    The flight attendants should all be trained, ok not necessarily on the mandolin, but at least guitar accompaniment.
    And obviously safety is important -the jam sessions begin when the captain switches on the jam session lights.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    the jam sessions begin when the captain switches on the jam session lights.
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    On today's always overbooked flights, there is usually a point they ask for volunteers to check in their carry-on. Volunteer. I have never seen them check your ticket or charge you. Then they walk your mando right over to the plane (no TSA rifling through your case) and it comes off the plane right away at the destination

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    On today's always overbooked flights, there is usually a point they ask for volunteers to check in their carry-on. Volunteer. I have never seen them check your ticket or charge you. Then they walk your mando right over to the plane (no TSA rifling through your case) and it comes off the plane right away at the destination
    Where do they put the checked carry-on? Do all airlines stow the carry-on somewhere in the cabin, or do some carry-ons wind up in the baggage compartment? I'd be happy to gate-check if I knew my mandolin wouldn't be placed in the baggage hold.

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Dery View Post
    Where do they put the checked carry-on? Do all airlines stow the carry-on somewhere in the cabin, or do some carry-ons wind up in the baggage compartment? I'd be happy to gate-check if I knew my mandolin wouldn't be placed in the baggage hold.
    It goes in baggage. Maybe if you give a sob story to the flight attendant you could convince them to stow it up in first class closet.

  26. #20

    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    The allowed under-seat dimensions on US domestic flights are 18" x 14" x 8". A typical mandolin -- even without its case! -- is 24"-28" long. Therefore, it WILL NOT FIT in the underseat space. Period.
    Well, the diagonal on that is 24.16", so, technically...

  27. #21

    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    For years (prior to 9-11) I carried a telecaster in a gig bag, always slung over one shoulder by the gig bag strap so the bulk of what I was carrying was behind me and largely out of site, when boarding, once inside the plane, IF it didn't fit overhead, I would ask nicely and they always let me put it in the closet. The key is to get past the gate and onto the plane. At that point, the staff have less options. Never had any problems, but I have a feeling it wouldn't "fly" today. Keep in mind, kinda hard to hurt a telecaster. Not sure about a hard case, etc......

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    For years (prior to 9-11) I carried a telecaster in a gig bag, always slung over one shoulder by the gig bag strap so the bulk of what I was carrying was behind me and largely out of site, when boarding, once inside the plane, IF it didn't fit overhead, I would ask nicely and they always let me put it in the closet. The key is to get past the gate and onto the plane. At that point, the staff have less options. Never had any problems, but I have a feeling it wouldn't "fly" today. Keep in mind, kinda hard to hurt a telecaster. Not sure about a hard case, etc......
    I see people flying with electric guitars in hard cases frequently. Easier to stow in the overhead than an acoustic guitar, which I also see quite a lot of. Just make sure you board on the earlier side of things and it is really no problem.

  29. #23
    Celtic Strummer Matt DeBlass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    It goes in baggage. Maybe if you give a sob story to the flight attendant you could convince them to stow it up in first class closet.
    Often it's handled separately from general checked baggage and delivered back to you at your arrival gate, but I've also had gate-checked bags taken and sent to the carousel at the baggage claim, so there's no guarantee of special handling. It varies a lot by airline and the particulars of your flight.

    I travel from the Midwest to the East Coast several times a year with instruments, and at this point, if I have time, I take the train just to save myself the uncertainty.
    If I call my guitar my "axe," does that mean my mandolin is my hatchet?

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    No room under these seats but it's ok, remember these are for the audience. Musicians will face the other way and perform on standard seats.

    https://edition.cnn.com/travel/artic...ing/index.html

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    Default Re: Under Seat on Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I have an economy ticket with United; . I’m not allowed a regular carry on, but I’m allowed a personal item if it can go under the seat. .
    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.
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