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JackLuis
04-09-2016, 11:31 AM
I'm headed to Washington DC in a few days and wondered how to take a uke. I only have a padded gig bag and was going to carry it on, but I'd like to take my Baritone, but thought my tenor might fit the overhead better?

Do you folks have any experience with taking a uke on an airliner? I'df hate to get to the airport and be told I'd have to check it. :eek:

:anyone:

mds725
04-09-2016, 12:00 PM
The current law requires an airline to accommodate an instrument as carry-on luggage unless there's no room on the plane for it.
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments
I've flown a number of times with a tenor ukulele and I've never had a problem. A baritone ukulele is bigger, obviously, but I think it should fit in most overhead bins on larger commercial passenger jets. The big risk of putting an ukulele in an overhead compartment is that someone may come along and try to shift your ukulele to fit in another bag or may try to shove a bag into the overhead compartment containing your uke. I prefer to use a hard case for that reason, although there are many gig bags that offer almost the same protection.

Here's a sampling of UU threads that have addressed flying with an ukulele.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/search.php?searchid=7917861

billten
04-09-2016, 12:22 PM
I fly most weeks for my job and bring a uke on all of my trips to have something to do in the hotel room. I started out carrying a tenor in a foam case and after a few times it was crunched and beaten by ignorant people trying to ram their bag in on top of my uke i got a really heavy duty hard case to protect it. Then of course it was too heavy and so on, but that's another story. Bottom line, you'll probably be okay but a stronger case is way less stressful.

igorthebarbarian
04-09-2016, 01:19 PM
Sounds like an excuse to get a Risa solid/stick! Or a Flea. Or a Martin OXK (solid, tank-like). Or a cheapo beater. Or maybe the Outdoor Ukulele Soprano-sized (I have the tenor and it's good).

Rllink
04-09-2016, 01:19 PM
I don't know how you fly, or what you take with you. People are going to say that I'm wrong, but I fly to Puerto Rico several times a year. I have a big solid suitcase, and my concert in the hard case fits perfectly in the suitcase. I couldn't get a bigger one in there though. I check it and go. It works well for me. Probably won't work for you. Most people won't do that. In fact, a lot of people don't want to check their clothes, let alone their ukulele. But I'll throw it out there anyway.

Bob-in-Alberta
04-09-2016, 02:00 PM
I've got a Kala travel soprano that fits quite nicely in my suitcase and has become my "go to" travel uke. Unfortunately, every time we go to Hawaii I end up buying something so we also do the ukulele in the overhead compartment thing as well. It has always turned out fine as I've always used a hard case but there have been some anxious moments with fellow passengers and their trying to cram a oversized carry on into a small space.

timmit65
04-09-2016, 04:47 PM
I fly most weeks for my job and bring a uke on all of my trips to have something to do in the hotel room. I started out carrying a tenor in a foam case and after a few times it was crunched and beaten by ignorant people trying to ram their bag in on top of my uke i got a really heavy duty hard case to protect it. Then of course it was too heavy and so on, but that's another story. Bottom line, you'll probably be okay but a stronger case is way less stressful.

I agree! Last time I flew, I did use a backpack for my computer and other carry ons. A soprano in a gig bag fit nicely in it. I stowed it under the seat in front of me. Note: I fly Southwest when possible. I've never been questioned about carrying on a uke....Just asked to play!


Bottom line, you'll probably be okay but a stronger case is way less stressful.


Again, I agree! If I don't use the soprano in a gigbag, inside the backpack, I use a hardshell case and put in the overhead.

Good luck!

blue_knight_usa
04-09-2016, 05:20 PM
Traveled internationally with my tenor with zero issues. I definitely wouldn't use a soft case due to others shoving bags around the overhead. Once I kept it in front of me under the seat in front where my fet go so I just rest my feet on top of the case. Baritone would probably be too big for under the seat but they can always put it with the flight attendant stuff if the overhead won't work.

I did have one time in Africa when I was on an Otter prop job and they had to put it in the luggage area but they put it on last and took it off first. No room on those planes for any carry ons.

JackLuis
04-09-2016, 07:18 PM
My Tenor gig bag is pretty well padded and I don't have one for my new Caramel baritone, would need to buy one for it. I had thought of bringing a concert in my suitcase as the only one I have is a big samsonite and it's only a four day trip, so I could bring the concert too. Probably overkill though.

I guess I'll take my Tenor-tone (dGBE tuned Tenor) and call it good. I'll probably never need a hard case and would rather spend my money on the trip rather than on a once used case.

farmerjones
04-09-2016, 11:16 PM
I've travelled on a plane once with a uke, and from the experience, I think I'd stick to the following rules:

1) Tenor or smaller. I took a tenor in a hard case, and I don't think anything larger would fit in the overheads. Maybe a baritone (which is what I'd like to take) would fit with a gig bag, but that leads to...

2) Use a hard shell case. They like to stuff those overhead bins as full as they can, and neither the flight attendants or your fellow passengers will be on the lookout for a (possibly) expensive instrument. Also, you might get asked to check your case at the gate. If this happens, in the advice I've been given by other musicians, smile and thank the staff, accept the ticket for the check-in, and then rip it off in the airway down to the plane... then carry it on like nothing ever happened. Feign ignorance if caught, and be glad you got a hard case.

3) Finally, don't take an instrument you can't easily replace. This really sucks... you want to take your nice instrument with you on vacation, right? Now you gotta leave the thousand dollar Kamaka at home and take your cheapie Kala. Oh well. If it breaks, at least it's not the end of the world. You always have the nice instrument at home.

LarryS
04-10-2016, 12:57 AM
Or just carry it on and entertain the passengers with it? ;)

JackLuis
04-23-2016, 11:47 PM
I just got back from my trip to DC. I took a tenor in my padded gig bag and had no trouble carrying it on the plane. I took a concert in my suitcase and used it to teach a friend how to play a bit.
I was sitting in the Salt Lake City airport in a layover and pulled my tenor out and played softly a bit. I got my first applause from a Delta Steward who said it was very soothing. I saw one other Ukester carrying on. The only problem I had was that the Uke had to be tuned after every flight?

hollisdwyer
04-24-2016, 04:02 AM
I just got back from my trip to DC. I took a tenor in my padded gig bag and had no trouble carrying it on the plane. I took a concert in my suitcase and used it to teach a friend how to play a bit.
I was sitting in the Salt Lake City airport in a layover and pulled my tenor out and played softly a bit. I got my first applause from a Delta Steward who said it was very soothing. I saw one other Ukester carrying on. The only problem I had was that the Uke had to be tuned after every flight?

I don't think that any future trip would be any different from what you just experienced. I've flown USA domestic, Australian domestic and internationally with Ukes in my luggage and in the overhead with no problems. They have been in hard cases though.

igorthebarbarian
04-24-2016, 06:37 AM
#3 is good advice that I think we forget to mention a lot of the time


I've travelled on a plane once with a uke, and from the experience, I think I'd stick to the following rules:

1) Tenor or smaller. I took a tenor in a hard case, and I don't think anything larger would fit in the overheads. Maybe a baritone (which is what I'd like to take) would fit with a gig bag, but that leads to...

2) Use a hard shell case. They like to stuff those overhead bins as full as they can, and neither the flight attendants or your fellow passengers will be on the lookout for a (possibly) expensive instrument. Also, you might get asked to check your case at the gate. If this happens, in the advice I've been given by other musicians, smile and thank the staff, accept the ticket for the check-in, and then rip it off in the airway down to the plane... then carry it on like nothing ever happened. Feign ignorance if caught, and be glad you got a hard case.

3) Finally, don't take an instrument you can't easily replace. This really sucks... you want to take your nice instrument with you on vacation, right? Now you gotta leave the thousand dollar Kamaka at home and take your cheapie Kala. Oh well. If it breaks, at least it's not the end of the world. You always have the nice instrument at home.

Cornfield
04-24-2016, 06:57 AM
I took a tenor Fluke to and traveled all around Australia and Tasmania. It was not in any kind of case at all. Not only was it resistant to breakage, it withstood the constant changes in humidity from coastline to desert.
For domestic flights, I have not had any trouble with my tenor Kamaka, Mya-Moe and others in hard cases. I don't like "gig bags"

markT
04-24-2016, 07:20 AM
This is all great information and one of the reasons I was drawn to these little gems.. :)