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Thread: Uke on aircraft

  1. #1
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    Default Uke on aircraft

    So I bought this old white label Lili'u in Waikiki and it will soon be time to fly back to Canada. I have it in a half decent case that does not fit very tight. Can I just take it as carry-on and leave it as is with a cloth to stop it from rattling or should I pack it more tightly and tune it down or are there any other suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I'd be particularly careful about flying with any instrument, especially a tenor (or longer) scale instrument, and assuming you will be guaranteed to carry it on. When in doubt always check your airline's policies.

    For example, according to Air Canada's policy just to pull an example, standard carry-on bag size is no longer than 21.5 inches. This includes your case too! Even my little Ukecrazy padded soprano case is longer than that at 24 inches. Air Canada says "String instruments (e.g. guitars, violins and violas) can be carried on board - even if their dimensions slightly exceed Air Canada’s carry-on size requirements - as long as they fit in the overhead bin and there is space available in the cabin at time of boarding, or you have purchased a seat to accommodate them."

    So basically in this airline's case, you'll be able to carry it on if it's a little bit longer, if it fits in the overhead bin, and if there is room... but if you get there and find that you have any issues with any of these requirements, you'll need to be prepared to check it.

    Definitely check your airline's musical instrument policy and don't rely on what we tell you here! If there is any chance you may have to check it, I would really suggest some better padding, maybe even buying a better case, tuning it down, buying a humidifier to put in the case, and duct taping the case too.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    So I bought this old white label Lili'u in Waikiki and it will soon be time to fly back to Canada. I have it in a half decent case that does not fit very tight. Can I just take it as carry-on and leave it as is with a cloth to stop it from rattling or should I pack it more tightly and tune it down or are there any other suggestions?
    There have been a few threads over the last year or so on flying with Ukes so a search and review of them might help, apologies if you know that already and have checked them out. I don’t fly much but sometimes travel by other forms of public transport that also have hand luggage size restrictions and tend to obey the rules, as I perceive them, before setting off from home. So, when I had to use a ferry as a foot passenger I didn’t attempt to take my Uke as hand luggage because it was too long. However when we reached the passenger terminal hand luggage was checked for its fit within a box frame and the Uke would have fitted diagonal within that frame - in short I’d likely have been fine to take it. The other thing that I could have done was to take (or buy) a larger suitcase and pack the Uke in that alongside my other possessions (so a larger bag that contains both the Uke and my original case). I was well within the size limits for baggage and the Uke’s weight was insignificant; I’m inclined to take this route next time but normally play a Soprano (so small) Uke. With regard to the strings I’d say that posts on here have advised to slacken them off and that seems logical to me; you just don’t know what might push against the strings or how the bridge might handle loads during the flight so why risk those factors. A light cloth around the Uke could provide it with rattle and abrasion protection but I’d leave room between it and the case, allow the case to deform under impact rather than fill the gap and (inadvertently) have that force taken by the Uke too. I don’t know if humidity is really an issue on air travel or not, but wonder about being guided by the precautions normally taken, or not, with Ukes sold from the Islands and transported to customers on the mainland.

    I hope that you get better answers, but the above might be a help.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 11-24-2018 at 11:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    I flew with Westjet and everything went well. The flight attendants were friendly and it fit in the overhead bin, though I watched it and made sure that no moron would try shove their oversize bag against it. Now I am contemplating what repairs and new strings I might do to it.

  5. #5
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    The cargo holds on most passenger airline aircraft are not heated. At 35000 ft. the outside temp is about -60 F (-51C) with 0% RH. So your strings will shrink. If it's a long flight, the water in your humidifier may freeze and break the humidifier container. Ask the humidifier maker for advice.

  6. #6
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    I have flown Air Canada many times with a tenor ukulele in a hardcase with no issues what so ever. Nobody paid a moments notice, the flight attends were helpful when I needed assistance. I put the instrument in the overhead and it fit just fine with room to spare.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I flew with Westjet and everything went well. The flight attendants were friendly and it fit in the overhead bin, though I watched it and made sure that no moron would try shove their oversize bag against it. Now I am contemplating what repairs and new strings I might do to it.
    I am glad it worked out well for you and congratulations on acquiring a ukulele while in Hawaii.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    The cargo holds on most passenger airline aircraft are not heated. At 35000 ft. the outside temp is about -60 F (-51C) with 0% RH. So your strings will shrink. If it's a long flight, the water in your humidifier may freeze and break the humidifier container. Ask the humidifier maker for advice.
    I’ve been wondering about what happens and it seems to me that you could have been misinformed. Google ‘aircraft cargo hold pressure’ and you should get a series of results up that indicate that cargo holds are pressurised, some are heated too. YMMV.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/t...curity-breach/ :

    “Many are surprised to hear that the cargo hold in the belly of an airliner is pressurised,” Doug Morris, an Air Canada pilot, said.

    “Conditioned air is directed from the cabin, so the air tends to be a little cooler by the time it reaches the cargo areas, which are also less insulated than the cabin. Cargo temperatures vary in our fleet. The Boeing 767 maintains its baggage hold above 7˚C, but the bulk area (where animals are carried) can be heated above 18˚C.

    “Controlled temperature cargo bins are also available when temperature-sensitive goods are being shipped.”



    Congratulations to the OP on getting their new (to them) Uke home. I hope to hear how the work on it goes.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 11-30-2018 at 04:27 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    I’ve been wondering about what happens and it seems to me that you could have been misinformed. Google ‘aircraft cargo hold pressure’ and you should get a series of results up that indicate that cargo holds are pressurised, some are heated too. YMMV.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/t...curity-breach/ :

    “Many are surprised to hear that the cargo hold in the belly of an airliner is pressurised,” Doug Morris, an Air Canada pilot, said.

    “Conditioned air is directed from the cabin, so the air tends to be a little cooler by the time it reaches the cargo areas, which are also less insulated than the cabin. Cargo temperatures vary in our fleet. The Boeing 767 maintains its baggage hold above 7˚C, but the bulk area (where animals are carried) can be heated above 18˚C.

    “Controlled temperature cargo bins are also available when temperature-sensitive goods are being shipped.”



    Congratulations to the OP on getting their new (to them) Uke home. I hope to hear how the work on it goes.
    I agree about Kenn's post. First of all, I always pack my ukulele in a hard case and then in my luggage and check it. I do nothing to prepare it for the flight, and it has always done fine. I also bring liquids such as vanilla home for family and friends every time I fly to PR and I'm never had one freeze in there. People ship their animals in the hold of airplanes all the time. And when you think about it, how do you think your ukulele got to you, in the cargo hold of an airplane. It flew all the way from China in the cargo hold of an airplane. Or if it is a Hawaiian ukulele it flew from Hawaii. It very well could have flown to you in the hold of an airplane. And no one took any precautions doing so. I'm just saying, if you want to drag it on board with you, that's fine. Just because I don't do it I'm not going to tell everyone it is wrong, but packing it in your luggage, provided you've packed it in something sturdy, and checking it won't destroy your precious ukuele.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

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