Air travel: Outdoor Tenor in Gig Bag or Hard Case?

westcoast

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I was thinking about getting an Outdoor Tenor for some airplane travel and I was trying to decide if I should take it in a gig bag or a hard case.

With a gig bag, I might be able to take it on as a carry-on and place it under my feet or above someone's luggage in the overhead bins. On the other hand. the last few flights I've been on the overhead bins have been pretty full, so it seems like there's some chance that I might still have to check the uke. I know the outdoor uke is rugged, but I'm not so sure it could survive being in a gig bag and gate-checked as luggage. But if I get a hard case, it seems very unlikely I could carry it on or put it above someone's luggage in an overhead bin, since the hard cases tend to be a little more visually bulky.

I was wondering if any folks here had suggestions?

Thanks! :)
 
I've traveled with both an Outdoor Tenor and an Enya Nova Tenor. I would definitely use a gig bag. I was able to squeeze them into the overhead compartment already full of bags without trouble. Both of these are very rugged and should withstand most anything you can throw at them.
 
unless there's a risk of a crushing blow, like someone stepping on the top, a gig bag ought to suffice as a carry on. I've traveled with a ou soprano in a checked duffel bag, padded with clothes and stuff and it was fine. Carry it on and ask the FA to stow it in a closet.
 
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I traveled to a ukulele festival in 2019 with my Blackbird Clara in a Reunion Blues soft case. It worked very well in the overhead compartment on the airplane. The Reunion Blues case is pretty beefy for a soft case, with lots of firm padding. It also has very nice backpacker straps that stow in a zippered compartment. Those straps made it easy to carry through the airport & at the festival. If you can, put the case in the overhead across from your seat, so you can see it.
 
I was thinking about getting an Outdoor Tenor for some airplane travel and I was trying to decide if I should take it in a gig bag or a hard case.

With a gig bag, I might be able to take it on as a carry-on and place it under my feet or above someone's luggage in the overhead bins. On the other hand. the last few flights I've been on the overhead bins have been pretty full, so it seems like there's some chance that I might still have to check the uke. I know the outdoor uke is rugged, but I'm not so sure it could survive being in a gig bag and gate-checked as luggage. But if I get a hard case, it seems very unlikely I could carry it on or put it above someone's luggage in an overhead bin, since the hard cases tend to be a little more visually bulky.

I was wondering if any folks here had suggestions?

Thanks! :)
I have travelled frequently from Australia to overseas destinations and always take a concert size ukulele in a soft gig bag stowed under the seat in front. From my observation, anything going into the overhead lockers would definitely have to go in a hard case. Most passengers seem to not know or care what they’re crushing in their enthusiasm and haste to fit their luggage into the lockers. I will add that my concert just ‘fits‘ under the seat and i personally would not push doing the same with a tenor size, even though my main uke at home is a tenor.
 
Where are you traveling? Carry on rules vary significantly between jurisdictions.

On major carriers in North America I've never had a problem putting an instrument in the overhead. They're allowed either by the airline or FAA rules so long as they fit when you board, so it's helpful to swing an early boarding group (Air Canada will even let you pre-board if you have an instrument). Small planes don't always have an overhead, so check the plane model and plan accordingly.

Like coolforcats99 said, don't count on other passengers noticing or respecting your instrument. I haven't actually had a problem with a gig bag, but I switched to hard-cases only after a flight with a team of college gymnasts: women with large duffles, the strength to hurl them up there, and too short to see the guitar that was already in the bin. You can keep a better view on what's happening if you put it opposite your seat.

The downside to hard cases is that harder to carry around than a gig bag, especially if you have transfers or trains and not a straight shot from the airport to the destination.

I'd certainly worry less about an Outdoor in a gigbag, and I packed mine in a suitcase when I didn't want to worry about carrying it around.

For a multi-week trip I just went on I came close to just ordering an inexpensive instrument delivered to my destination with a plan to give it away at the end. I skipped because I didn't think I'd have enough opportunity to play, and by the time I did it was too late to get it there.
 
I have travelled frequently from Australia to overseas destinations and always take a concert size ukulele in a soft gig bag stowed under the seat in front. From my observation, anything going into the overhead lockers would definitely have to go in a hard case. Most passengers seem to not know or care what they’re crushing in their enthusiasm and haste to fit their luggage into the lockers. I will add that my concert just ‘fits‘ under the seat and i personally would not push doing the same with a tenor size, even though my main uke at home is a tenor.

Thanks! Yes, I am afraid the tenor might just be a little too big to fit under the seat. Perhaps I should reconsider and take a concert size instead.
 
Where are you traveling? Carry on rules vary significantly between jurisdictions.

On major carriers in North America I've never had a problem putting an instrument in the overhead. They're allowed either by the airline or FAA rules so long as they fit when you board, so it's helpful to swing an early boarding group (Air Canada will even let you pre-board if you have an instrument). Small planes don't always have an overhead, so check the plane model and plan accordingly.

Like coolforcats99 said, don't count on other passengers noticing or respecting your instrument. I haven't actually had a problem with a gig bag, but I switched to hard-cases only after a flight with a team of college gymnasts: women with large duffles, the strength to hurl them up there, and too short to see the guitar that was already in the bin. You can keep a better view on what's happening if you put it opposite your seat.

The downside to hard cases is that harder to carry around than a gig bag, especially if you have transfers or trains and not a straight shot from the airport to the destination.

I'd certainly worry less about an Outdoor in a gigbag, and I packed mine in a suitcase when I didn't want to worry about carrying it around.

Yes, I'll be flying in North America. Thanks for the advice on putting the instrument opposite my seat. In the past I've taken a first-generation Outdoor soprano in my backpack (with the thinnest possible gig bag) and it was fine at my feet under the seat. But traveling with anything larger seems like it'll be more work. I've also been able to do this with a Flea soprano which was also quite tough and durable and sounded quite nice, actually. (I had sold off the soprano thinking I wanted to get a concert Flea instead for the slightly longer scale length -- perhaps I should go back to that idea)
 
Hard case! Absolutely No one care about you uke as much as you do. Remember you're not the only one using overhead storage. Neaderthal can fly also. Last time I took my uke on a plane the flight attendants though it was a violin. The imp in me came out and I mettered something about a Stradivarius. It was well looked after. hey started it!🤪
 
I've travelled a lot with my OU tenor checked in a large duffel. I don't have to worry about where to put it in the plane and I've learned to pack shoes and clothes around the uke to offer sufficient protection in the duffel. This setup works very well for me.
 
I've travelled a lot with my OU tenor checked in a large duffel. I don't have to worry about where to put it in the plane and I've learned to pack shoes and clothes around the uke to offer sufficient protection in the duffel. This setup works very well for me.
That's a cool idea to put it an a duffle bag, thanks!
 
Thanks! Yes, I am afraid the tenor might just be a little too big to fit under the seat. Perhaps I should reconsider and take a concert size instead.
I bought a Tiny Tenor just for this reason and I did indeed get away with putting it under the seat.

Though I eventually gave up, sold it, and now just travel with a fiberglass case and the uke I really want to take.
 
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