Since airline luggage handlers are forced to work quickly, take the safety of your guitar into your own hands before you travel, especially if you have an acoustic guitar made from delicate strings and wood. While your regular guitar case is a good starting point, you are still taking a risk unless you get absolute confirmation that you can carry your guitar on board. Otherwise, pad your guitar will cloth items that you are already traveling with, creating a safe environment and softening the load of your other luggage.
Contact the airline that you're traveling with to get specific guidelines for taking your guitar on the plane. Some airlines will allow you to bring it on your back as a carry-on, while others require you to check it.
Pack your guitar into a padded case that you can wear on your back if you will bring it as a carry-on. Once on the plane, place you guitar in the overhead compartment.
Place your guitar in a strong, hard case if you must check it. Even if the case is equipped with extra padding, put your own extra padding, such as clothing you are taking with you, around the peg head, and loosen the guitar strings to prevent damage.
Put the guitar case into a cardboard shipping box, and pad all around it very well to prevent any movement whatsoever. Pad the box with standard packing bubbles, or even more of your clothing to fill in extra space. Seal the box with packing tape, and write your name and contact information on it.
Check your guitar with the airline when you get to the airport. Be prepared to pay a fee.
Tips & Warnings
- Be aware that airline might lose your guitar, just like any other check baggage, especially if you're changing planes before you get to your overseas destination. Because this is possible, only travel with a guitar you are not attached to emotionally.
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