Topic: Air travel with bassoon

I'm planning a trip for next month and wondered if members could fill me in on the current status
of taking a bassoon on US domestic airlines. Are the airlines allowing bassoons as carry-on luggage?
Are there problems getting through security? Does the size of the case matter? (I have a Fox profession case.) Are particular cases or bags better for air travel? Thanks. Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson
Portland OR

Re: Air travel with bassoon

As far as airlines go, a lot depends on the which airline you are taking. Be sure to contact them before traveling. Delta is one airline that has had many problems with instruments. The AFM has actually asked musicians to boycott them.

Re: Air travel with bassoon

I travel twice a month on Northwest and United and have had little trouble using the following guidlines
1.  I use a Kim Walker case and it fits fine above the seats, as long as yours does fitting should not be a problem.  Concern about fitting above the seats in the shelf often leads to difficulty  2. Announce at screening and at boarding what type of instrument is in the case.  Always offer to open case/explain what is going on.  3. Never carry reed tools or instrument tools as carry-ons.  You will have to put them in your checked luggage.  I have built-up a complete extra set, so that I do not compromise my best set of tools.  They are very fussy about tools.  4. Because I have an unusual carry-on I more often receive the extra screening, where they check your baggage for explosives and wand you.  Accept this with grace and a relaxed air.  If they want to remove the instrument from the case, offer assistance(verbal in how to remove, etc).  5. Plan to arrive at the airport a little early and go through screening earlier just in case you are stopped.  6.  I have never had a problem following the above rules.
Peter Brower

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

I’ve had no problem flying domestically using a Bam bassoon case.  I carry it slung over one shoulder as one of my carry-ons and have been able to get it on “puddle jumpers” as well as the larger planes.

Re: Air travel with bassoon

The same with my Wiseman case. My wife has also had no problems with her bagpipes-- she uses the soft case for them.

David Bell

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

I have recently flown with American out of Saint Louis, and they actually asked me if my bassoon was in instrument when I went through security so they could be sure to catch it on the other side so it would not be damaged.  Carrying it on the plane was absolutely no problem, and they even put it in a closet at the back of the plane away from anyone's carry-ons.

Mike Nelson

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

I flew Continental in December 2006 with my Wiseman bassoon case without any problems. Security didn't even take a second glance at my instrument as it passed through the X-ray machine, and it fit in the overhead bin just fine.

"It's not my job to give you the pulse! It's your job to figure it out!"
-An Allegedly Professional Conductor

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

i am taking a plane to Prague from London Heathrow - my orchestra is using the "fantastic" czech airlines. The rules they seem to have a very oddd. there is nothing on their webiste about musical instruments, and nobody has replied to my emails/ phone calls. I have a kim walker bag. The restictions are as follows

(applying to general bags)
Must be smaller than 22 X 17.75 X 10 inches, also must be smaller than 45inches all 3 messurements added up.

The kim walker case fits in the second restriction, but is 28 inches, 6 inches over airline restrictions

do you reckon i will be fine with it??

cheers

Nick Macorison
London based freelance bassoonist and enthusiast.

Dont ask me about reeds.....

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

Hi Nick,
I just went through Heathrow yesterday. You will be fine with the size but I don't recommend you take on another carry-on in addition to your bassoon. I was able to get through but the policy is that they only allow 1 carry-on and a second small bag like a camera or purse not over 1 lb. in economy class.

Bassoon Professor, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Principal Bassoon, Winston-Salem Symphony
Bassoon, Zéphyros Winds
Associate Editor, IDRS.org

Re: Air travel with bassoon

The charter airlines do not seem to be as forgiving as some of the bigger airlines.  A charter flying from Vancouver to the U.K. has stipulated size maximums, and if you exceed these (and they're not very large) your case has to go into the checked luggage, no question.  I would not worry so much about the flight but about the handlers, who seem to enjoy seeing how far they can throw the cases and still have them land onto the conveyor belt (some don't).

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Re: Air travel with bassoon

I had no trouble taking a bassoon on Delta from Eugene to Minneapolis via Salt lake City this spring. Got back home with it, too.

C.R.B. Wright