As Dave Carroll’s "United Breaks Guitars" continues to grab YouTube views, if you read Bill Evan’s feature "Are You Protected," than you know we here at L2P are in total sympathy with Dave’s dilema. So, to further help you deal with the hazards commercial airlines pose to travelling with a guitar…

we’re pleased to offer this information from Taylor Guitars to help you keep your guitar safe as you travel:

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) came to an agreement to allow guitars to be considered as carry-on luggage in 2003, thousands of musicians can relate a personal tale of instrument mistreatment at the hands of any number of airlines.

With advice from the AFM, here’s a few tips Taylor Guitars recommends:

Know the pertinent policies of the airline on which you are traveling. There are links to many of them on the AFM website, so print them out and take them with you. Many flight attendants do not know their own airline’s policy regarding carry-on guitars, so if you can calmly explain that your instrument is within their mandated guidelines, and actually show them those guidelines, you will be way ahead of the game.

Know your instrument’s size in linear inches, which is the sum of your case’s dimensions. If, for example, your case measures 20 inches long by 20 inches wide by 10 inches high, it would be 50 linear inches. Almost all airline maximum size dimensions use either Length-by-Width-by-Height, or linear inches. In many cases, even though your instrument case does not fit in the "size wise" metal contraption at the gate, it might well be within the linear-inch maximum. Again, know the linear inch measurement of your case beforehand.

Carry a "fabric" tape measure with you. Even if you never use it, sewing-type tape measure takes up almost no space and weighs almost nothing. And it might just come in handy if you’re challenged about your case dimensions.

Additional Resources

Additional tips and information from the AFM on keeping your instrument safe.

Learn more about the TSA’s policies regarding musical instruments.

Originally posted 2009-07-11 21:48:59.