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Thread: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

  1. #1
    Registered User Froglips's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    I have to take a 3 hour flight a week from now, and I want to take my mando, but the case is 30" long. Which is over the length limit for carry on.

    I read some of the threads about flying with Mando's here on the Cafe', but I did not see anyone talking about bringing a Mando on as your 'Personal Item'. In other words... Bring your Mando onto the plane in your hands naked, without any case at all.

    What do you, folks, think about this seemingly terrible sounding idea?



    It's not how you pick your nose ... It's where you put the booger!

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Sep 2007

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    Don’t do it!!! Check your airline’s policy on musical instruments. The last flight I took to Mexico prior to the COVID-19 mayhem included a Taylor guitar and a Selmer trombone, both stored overhead By other passengers. Both paid to board earlier, I believe. I had a travel Uke in my backpack. I flew once with my “beater,” and it was in the flimsy-ish Eastman gig bag the 315s used to come with. I started out with it in the overhead, but had to save it from a lady too short to see it, so put it under my feet. It didn’t technically fit, and my current Reunion Blues bag would be too long because of the padding. But, I had a window seat and slid it up against the wall, prayed a little, did a lot of smiling, and all went well.

    FWIW, I see folks with tennis racquet bags frequently as well, so that may be an option as well. But,, no, I wouldn’t chance taking a nekkid mandolin on a plane...

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    I have a mandolin which I bought off eBay after some café members brought it to my attention by heartily mocking it in the "Ugly Scrolls" topic. It's an oval-hole with a scroll, no points, normal full length for an F instrument. It was the third mandolin from the builder, and it's been reliable and a great travel instrument to boot.

    I normally take it on planes by putting it in a lightly padded ukulele gig bag. I tuck it between my feet under the seat in front of me, and am careful to pull it out after take-off and hold it in my lap to avoid the risk of someone stepping on it while trying to pass me.

    I've also traveled in the same way with one of my Flatiron mandolas, in a Boulder f-mandolin gigbag which accommodates its length.

    I tend to fly light, with one instrument and a full backpack, sometimes with one checked pieces if the trip is longer than a few days.

  5. #4
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    New Mexico

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    That idea is as bad as it sounds, if not worse.

    Imagine trying to get an unprotected mandolin from the car into the airport while managing other baggage, through security, in and out of the restroom, and on and off the plane in a crush of people—although that may not be the case right now. What airline are you flying? My family has found Southwest to be very considerate of instruments. Large plane or smaller? With planes flying at 60% or less of capacity, there will be more room in the overhead bins. You might check with the airline.

  6. #5
    Registered User
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    Feb 2003
    lower alabama

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    Airlines are committed to letting musical instruments travel in the overhead, if they will fit, and if there is room. But check the airline's website and you should find a musical instrument policy.

    The overhead is first come, first serve, so it pays to pay for early boarding, but you should have no trouble with a mandolin. I fly with a baritone saxophone in the overhead. Double bass players are laughing at you right now.

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  8. #6
    Registered User cartershilts's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Madison, Wisconsin

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    It depends on your airline, but many airlines have special allowances for instruments / "special luggage." I've never had an issue carrying my mando on with Southwest, American, United, or Delta.

  9. #7
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    I've flown 6-8 times, domestically and to Mexico, with a backpack and A-style hard case, ALMOST never a question asked. The one time it was, the attendant saw the 3-raquet (padded + insulated) tennis bag and said "Go right ahead". The bag is technically 30" long but would crush down to the case's 29" if measured. I suspect (haven't looked it up) that some sports stuff gets the same privlidge that instruments are supposed to have.

    Also never had to differentiate between which is the "carry-one" vs. the "personal item".

    Mine was $40 or so 10 years ago, over $100 cheaper than a then-available Small Dog or Colorado Case equivalent. Heck, here's one now for $35:

    Two warnings:
    - While 3-raquet bags will hold a mandolin case, some zippers are too short (meaning the case is too thick) to let that case into the bag. Fortunately, a friendly local shop let me bring my case in and try them out.
    - Current tennis bags have adopted some more angular shapes. They'll probably accept a mando case, but without trying, who knows?

    On the good side, the shape of most bags would seem to hold a shaped F-style case just as well as an A.

    I'd never bring an uncased instrument unless I considered it disposable. As in: "Better to play it and leave it there than not bring it at all." Hate to see something GOOD dissolve in the rainforest!

    And yes, I have stuffed the backpack in the overhead while the technically-too-long case sat betwen my feet.
    - Ed

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  10. #8
    Registered User
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    Mar 2013
    Brooklyn, NY, USA

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    Double bass players are laughing at you right now.
    Only a little.

  11. #9
    Registered User GeoMandoAlex's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Traveling somewhere

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    FWIW, I have always flown with my mandolin and never had a problem taking on the plane with me. I usually have a backpack (with laptop and other items for work) which counted as a bag and the mandolin counted as a personal item.

    I would check before the flight. I have taken flights that were completely full and the people that were the last to board had to check one of their bags.
    I can only play half as much as I want, because I only play half as much as I would like.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    I've taken mandolins and guitars all over the world on planes and never had an issue. I'm an expert at sneaking them onto planes. lol

  13. #11
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Atlanta, GA
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    Default Re: Time Sensitive: Your opinions needed ASAP

    There's an FAA reg that universally allows all instruments that will fit in the overhead to be carried there. Search the forums; it's cited somewhere. It's also universally true that airlines think the reg doesn't apply to them. I've never had a problem by boarding early and letting the stewardx know that I have an instrument. Sometimes they let me store it in the crew's hanging locker. Nevertheless, I'd travel with my Lotus POS model, but not my Webers.

    The bad news is that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. The good news is that what kills us makes it no longer our problem

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