Tips for Flying with Musical Instruments

If you are one of those that are flying with musical instruments – lucky you! It means that you are a professional musician. That also could mean that you are traveling to your first concert. However, many musicians said that it is not that easy as it sounds. As a matter of fact, it could be your worst nightmare. There are a few very important things that you should worry about:

  • Firstly, you must think of the safety of the people around you and your own – large instruments are heavy and take space;
  • On the other hand, you should protect the instrument from possible damaging, especially if you are taking an expensive item with you;
  • You should be careful because of the possible stealing of the instrument;
  • There are many legislations that do not allow carrying the instrument, especially when moving abroad;
  • Musicians should take care of the comfort during traveling, especially if they have concerts after flying with musical instruments.

However, do not worry before you even have bought a ticket. There are so many ways to make this traveling comfortable and safe for your instrument.

A large piano
Preparation of the piano for shipping includes removing of mobile parts

Preparing for flying with a musical instrument

As in every other case, you should prepare yourself for traveling. However, this time you have an instrument that you should prepare, too. Even though there are many ways of carrying your instrument, you should make a few steps first. Keep in mind that planes are large, but there are not large spaces for luggage. They also do not have specially protected places for instruments. Take everything into consideration before flying with musical instruments.

Check policy and legislation about flying with musical instruments

This is especially important for expensive instruments. You should protect them from stealing and damaging. On the other hand, there is a special law for every country for expensive items, including instruments.

Special care for rare materials and instruments

If you have a violin that costs millions of dollars, do not just take it with you on the plane. There is special legislation for rare materials called CITES. Check with them first if your instrument is on their list. It usually means that you cannot take with you the instrument in a foreign country. That especially includes overseas moving. In that case, flying with musical instruments is the last thing you should worry about.

Find a reliable company

You should not fly with musical instruments on your own. There are many expert air freight forwarders that could help you. They will prepare you and your instrument for flying. They also should know the law and legislation.

A man writing a plan on flying with musical instruments
The legislation is something you should know before flying with instruments

Prepare instrument for security check

You should prepare yourself for questions that workers at the airport will ask you. Those are the same as the ones you will have when transporting your exhibition cargo. On the other hand, prepare the instrument for checking control. It means that they have permission to open the box with the instrument. The scanner could damage it, so take special documents for that. Keep in mind that flying with musical instruments demands longer preparation than for usual traveling.

Consider taking insurance

It is never bad if you take insurance when traveling. When flying with musical instruments you should be even more careful. There are many insurances for these occasions. Ask your moving company or travel agency for musical instruments insurances.

Flying and behavior in the plane

Now, when you are inside of the plane, troubles could occur. It means that you are a person with a large item. People will stare at you, but it is not a problem at all. The bigger problem is how to make that traveling easier and pleasant.

It is best to purchase an extra seat

If you have a large instrument, like a cello, it is best to have a seat for it. Do not worry, it is actually a common situation. There are many famous musicians that gave a name to their instruments after so many traveling on their own seats. It will provide comfort for you. Flying with musical instruments gets a new meaning this way.

Secure the instruments and other items

As you may think, the first thing when flying with a musical instrument is safety. It means the protection of the people around you, too. On the other hand, the instrument is fragile itself. Make sure that you have all of these in mind before traveling. Do not forget that your instrument belongs to heavy lift cargo.

Protect the instrument properly

You are not on your usual traveling, accept it. If you are flying with musical instruments make sure that you have protected them. It means that you may not take liquid in the same bag with them. You should not take fragile items, either. On the other hand, you should put stickers on the box. It is best if you can avoid any of things that could damage your instrument. Experienced musicians recommend putting a humidifier in the box with the instrument. Even though traveling should not take so much longer, but do it just in case.

A wing of a plane
You will have to be very careful if you want to come out of this endeavor without any damage

Make sure that instrument will not damage itself

Add cloth and paper to fulfill empty packets in the bag. Of course, it is best if you have a special box for that instrument. In case that you take it in an ordinary box, make sure that it will not damage itself in walls and edges. Make sure that you have packed the instrument in a sturdy box. Even if you have an original box which is good when you pack for a move without any heavy items, it could be soft for flying with a musical instrument. There are special boxes for traveling in instrument stores.

Loosen the strings

If your instrument has strings the best way is to loosen them. It will protect them from damage. Musicians know that removing and putting back of strings is not that simple. However, loosening the strings should protect the instrument, too.

Make a photo of the instrument

It sounds weird, but it should protect the instrument from damage. On the other hand, if your instrument is made of pieces, this will help in reassembling them. So, before flying with musical instruments make photos of them as a memory.

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