support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

Saxophones Sax On A Plane

dave 645

Well-Known Member
A, A
I will be heading off on holiday in a couple of days. I want to take my alto, but do not want to check it in. Has anybody here tried taking an alto, in an alto bag, as carry on luggage with easy jet? I know the bag would be a bit too big if I had to fit it in the measuring box. But I think I could get away with it.
Any experience or advice please
altos usually ok as hand luggage- top tip- always use on-line check in so you don't direct face an agent of whatever airline it is until you're ready to board....
My sax teacher gigs abroad a lot and he takes his Tenor with him in hand luggage all the time, I'm also pretty sure his band mate takes his Bari on as well. They go by Easy Jet.
The budget airlines are getting much tougher on the size of hand baggage......since they started charging for hold baggage more people are taking hand bags only and this has put pressure on cabin locker space.

I took my alto for Stephen's ministrations a coupla weeks ago, but I played safe and packed it, in its Hiscox case, inside my suitcase and padded it with clothes. With my 'full-size carry-on, I had plenty of space.

I was just scared of getting to the gate...where they often now have 'measuring boxes' be told I would have to a)pay extra and b) put the Hiscox, unprotected, in the hold!
(I paid extra, anyway, but not as much).

Another tip I was given at Luton was to get a 'Fragile' sticker on my bag and take it to the 'Outsize Baggage' desk where, they claimed (!) , it would be handled more gently....although it still comes through on the carousel at the other end.

I don't know what I'll do when I need to bring the tenor (Get a bigger suitcase?).

For me it was not a risk worth taking ..... YMMV!

EasyJet also has an option for carrying 'musical instruments' as extras on their booking costs about €23 each way, IIRC, and I don't know what sort of 'special treatment' it gets!
Last edited by a moderator:
If you're worried about the sax, you can pay for a another seat and take it on board with you, and with preferential boarding, you can guarantee to have the sax on the seat next to you!
I don't know about others but Ryanair allow you to do this, and it was cheaper than paying the £40 to put it in the place for fragile items in the hold.
If not using preferential boarding, a tip when flying Ryanair, is don't join the rush to board (be among the last few). Ryanair keep at least one row of seats clear for emergencies and the last to board can use them (see you at the back of the queue!).
Last edited by a moderator:
You are allow to carry on two carry-on bags on an oversea flight. Total of the 3 dimensions (L+W+H) does not exceed 115cm (45in). First class max 9 kg, economy max 6 kg. I guess this depends from company to company. An alto is not a problem but a tenor in a flight case (Walt Johnson, SKB ... ) can be allowed as a carry-on bag. Last time they let through a BAM High-Tech tenor case which is bigger than a flight case. So if you want to be shure to carru-on your sax you should switch to altos (not straihgt) or curved soprano. The curved sopranino is a dream of every airline company!!
Be aware that some companies are more prescriptive about the proportions, rather than the overall total of the dimensions (it has to fit into the measuring box) and the budget lines only allow ONE bag(if you have, say a 'handbag' or 'duty free' goods, you may be asked to put them into your carry-on case ....I have seen it done several times, by EasyJet & Ryanair, for example).
Hi Roger,
That's why I buy a seat for the sax. Then theres no argument, and the sax is belted into the seat alongside you!

Perhaps we can get together for a drink soon (unfortunately all of the gigs I would have been playing at "La Marina" have been cancelled, due to pending formation of a new band).

Don't you also have to pay all the various taxes as well as the seat price, John? That would make UK trip for 6-7 days horrendously expensive, wouldn't it ??? If it were a 'cello I could understand it, but for a tenor sax en route to/from servicing... ?

(Yes, it would be good to meet-up sometime soon ...which side of Alicante are you?)
With reference to Ryanair, Johnboy's got it right, you have to buy a seat.
Despite the fact my tenor in it's Hiscox case fits easily into the overhead lockers, they always insist it must travel in the hold. This is not an option, since even this sturdy box will come back broken judging by the guitar cases that come off the carousel when our band flies. Other airlines are less pedantic and will allow the tenor inboard when I kick up a fuss, but I refuse to fly Ryanair on principle.

I've flown BMI Baby, Wizz, KLM, easyJet, and Monarch cheap flights without much problem, but Ryanair are always a pain. Rumour has it that their bag size check cage at the gate is smaller than the one at check in too, so they can force extra cash out of you (happy to spread malicious gossip in this case!)!

If in doubt book a seat, but don't under any circumstance put your sax in the hold!

Buying an extra seat is not economically viable , IMO, esp if you haveta pay all the taxes!
...which is why I try not to fly Ryanair. If I can't travel cheaply to the gig there's no point travelling at all. Mostly the seats are block booked by the agent, luggage goes under, sax goes in the cabin, end of story!


P.S. The Captain's never had a problem, obviously appreciates music!
Monarch Airlines' regs say
"can I travel with my musical instrument?

If you wish to take your musical instrument onboard the aircraft for storage in the overhead locker, it can be carried as hand baggage, but not in addition to your standard hand-baggage allowance. You must ensure that it complies with our weight and size restrictions for hand baggage – explained within our hand-baggage guidelines and your instrument should be safely housed in its own carry case.

Larger instruments may be transported in the hold of the aircraft in a suitable case – excess charges and baggage fees may apply. Alternatively, you may purchase an extra seat for your musical instrument, provided it fits comfortably into the dimensions of a single, standard aircraft seat and can be strapped in using a normal seatbelt. For further information regarding carriage of musical instruments please contact one of our reservations team. Additional seats for musical instruments will need to be purchased via reservations or your tour operator – pre booked seat fees may apply. "

OTOH Easyjet's regs say:
"Musical instruments
Musical instruments will only be permitted to be carried in the cabin and placed into the overhead locker if space is available and strictly subject to the Captain's discretion. The instrument including its carry case must not exceed the dimensions 30 x 117 x 38cms. Instruments which fit into this category include violin, viola, piccolo, flute, clarinet, bugle and trumpet.

Any instrument which exceeds the dimensions 30 x 117 x 38cms must be checked in as checked-baggage. The maximum weight for any single piece of baggage is 32 kgs.

That comfortably exceeds a tenor Hiscox case, so hope for a happy captain!!
It appears that, for me (to Luton) EJ would be the best bet....check your potential carriers' regs!
Last edited by a moderator:
My good lady (she does all of this sort of thing) tells me the seat price was £23 all in.

We are north of Alicante by about 20 min. (at Bonalba Golf, Mutxamel, Google earth 38deg, 26' 38" N - 0deg. 26' 25" W) but we can come down your way (I'm sure you have some nice bar/restaurantes down there.
Thanks to you all for your posts. The uncertainty, and level of human discretion is what bothers me in all of this. I'm leaning towards settling on music to listen to rather than play at the moment. Flight is tomorrow. See you all in a week or so.
I'm flying from Heathrow to Norway for 2 weeks of gigging in April and am taking my sax. A couple of the band are also taking their instruments - a guitar and electric bass. Just wondering if anyone has travelled with British Airways recently and knows what the latest is on taking instruments, ie can they be carried on as hand luggage actually onto the plane with you, or do they insist they go into the hold? I have seen posts on here before about flying but that was a while ago and these things can change. Drummer and piano player are lucky in that the promoter has instruments there for them, rest of us don't get that though.
Being on the other side of the world I wouldn't have a clue, but wish you all the best. I'll be taking a tenor over to Australia with me in two weeks and have already been told that it must be checked in. They do have a "special handling" section where delicate, oversized and unusual items can be checked in. Possibly BA has something similar? Regardless I pack the sax fairly tightly so that it doesn't rattle around in the case as this is the most likely cause of damage. Hopefully you are going to be there at least a day ahead of playing in case you need to have a tech do some tweaking?


John Talcott

We won't forget all your truly wonderful contributions. Your insight, skill, knowledge, support and humour made the Café a better place. Thank you jbtsax.

See some of John's contributions

Add your message for John and his family

New Posts


Top Bottom