Saxophones taking saxes on planes.

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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what are folks' experiences of getting tenors on as cabin baggage? Common wisdom is that it's usually feasable for altos but tenors are a risk... any of you folks had much direct experience?
 

griff136

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I live in Exmouth Devon.
Jules

the first time I flew with my tenor (in a hiscox case btw) I begged for it to go as hand luggage but they were adamant it had to go in the hold.

I asked then If i could at least take it to the bottom of the steps of the aircraft and they said fine.

I just walked on boarrd with it over my shoulder - no one bat an eyelid. The hiscox fits nicely into the overhead compartment.

Since then Ive flown at least 3 times a year for the last 4 yrs and have just taken it on board with it over my shoulder.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Make sure that the case is strong enough for the hold, just in case. It's over the official size for cabin baggage and won't fit under the seat in front of you. It's worth contacting the airline in advance. A lot will depend on the type of plane - if you're on something small like a Bombardier or Avro, then you've no chance, they'll be checking the size of your hand luggage as you board - and may even take it off you on the plane if you get that far... But the 737s and upwards usually have plenty of overhead locker space...

Griff's suggestion has a lot of merit. Use an electronic check in. Drop the suitcase(s) at the baggage drop. And don't overdo it with other hand luggage.....
 
OP
Jules

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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brighton by the sea
thanks guys- you're confirming pretty much what i suspected. Hm.. time to turn on what little yorkshire charm I've got at check in!!
serves me right for signing up for a gig on tenor, soprano, harmonicas, percussion and musical saw!!!!
 

SteveK

Member
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Guildford, Surrey
Just keep saying to the check-in assistant 'yes I understand that I am only allowed one piece of hand luggage but I really do not feel secure putting this in the hold' and then keep quiet and straight faced. They will then respond with another reason why you can't. Repeat the above 'yes I understand that ....... etc etc' and then remain quiet again. ('Yes I understand that it is too big ....). Always be sure to repeat the reason why tey say you can't do it. This shows that you understand and care for their opinion and so they stay on your side.
Continue this until they give in. Do not argue or rationalise or try to intimidate or use sarcasm. Just remain calm, unemotional, dignified do not draw attention as this will embarrass them and take away there option to be on your side.
This will leave them with the only option of allowing you to carry it on board.
If you try to argue or justify your case you will only open a hole that will allow them to take the upper hand.
I learnt this many years ago on an assertiveness training course. It works for most things e.g. taking something back to a shop to complain.
A friend of mine who was on the same course used this to always sit in business class even though he only had an economy ticket. He would board the plane and then sit in the first empty business class seat regardless of the fact that he only had an economy ticket. He did this for man years and always got the seat. He was 2 metres tall which helped. Last time I travel with him when he did this was 1998. I guess you can't get away with it now as planes are always so full these days and it's less likely that there is an spare seat.
I have flown many times with a large guitar case and have never checked it into the hold.
The fact is that the saxophone says you are a sort after interesting upwardly mobile person - just the kind that they want to fly their planes.
Steve
 

Rogerb

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Costa Blanca, Spain
Your best chance, IMO, is always to use on-line check-in, so that the only staff who see the case on your shoulder are those at the gate....they don't have a little box there to try it for size (at any of the airports I've flown-from), and they are usually too busy to pay too much attention to anything but those with grossly oversized wheeled cases ....
Even some of those people seem to get on my flights :)
(I only have an alto + Hiscox at present, and have never had a second glance at that)
 

taiwanpaul

Member
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145
Been through this many times before!
If they start to give you problems at check-in, politely and calmly ask to speak to the check-in supervisor!
Politely inform him / her that you have flown many times with your sax, you understand their side etc tell her the value etc.... then ask her if it is ok to meet him / her at the check-in gate (normally about 20 mins before check-in starts) and to accompany him / her and ask the chief purser of the flight if it's ok. (Now is the time to turn on your yorkshire charm "eh up lass!")
The chief purser will normally let you put it somewhere in business class behind a back row seat or in their bag / coat storage / hold area.
One disadvantage is, you cannot get your sax until all business class flyers have left the plane.
Chief pursers are much more understanding than check-in personnel.
Never had a problem checking my tenor in, also with a big box case (i.e. no shaped flight case)
The other option is to leave your tenor with a friend whilst checking in and then just take it on the plane with you!
 
OP
Jules

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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Phew- made it both ways without mishap- for future reference, on-line check in is definately the way to go. BA we're absolutely cool about the tenor throughout...
Apparently getting away better than the previous saw player in the band, who- following an altercation with Swedish custom ("its an offensive weapon!" "no, its a musical instrument!") was required to play a tune on it in the middle of check-in. cue for a small hoard of japanese tourists to appear and start snapping photos :))) :)))
 

Young Col

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Coulsdon, London/Surrey
I know there have been more recent posts on this subject but this came up first when I did a search, so here you are.

Item in my daily paper today about violins, but must apply to other instruments. BA have said they have reduced the length of instrument cases allowed in overhead lockers from 50 inches to 22. That would seem to rule out most things apart from a curved sop. Forum members will no doubt use their usual resourcefullness to get round this (don't fly BA?), but you might need to be more ready with the strategy than previously!
YC
 

dooce

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Daventry
Phew- made it both ways without mishap- for future reference, on-line check in is definately the way to go. BA we're absolutely cool about the tenor throughout...
Apparently getting away better than the previous saw player in the band, who- following an altercation with Swedish custom ("its an offensive weapon!" "no, its a musical instrument!") was required to play a tune on it in the middle of check-in. cue for a small hoard of japanese tourists to appear and start snapping photos :))) :)))
Another few :))):))):))):)))
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
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Daventry
I know it's a high-risk strategy, but from my experience, I would act the complete innocent and just walk onto the plane with it. I've never come across any kind of systematic check on hand baggage - no-one ever appears to be briefed to do it and if you make it as far as the plane, they'll be far more concerned about keeping to their schedule than getting a tape-measure out to see if you comply with the rules or not. When you see some of the stuff that gets stuffed in the overhead lockers, a tenor case is nothing.

OK, you will be struggling with a bari though.........
 

davidk

Paints With Notes
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322
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Earth
I know there have been more recent posts on this subject but this came up first when I did a search, so here you are.

Item in my daily paper today about violins, but must apply to other instruments. BA have said they have reduced the length of instrument cases allowed in overhead lockers from 50 inches to 22. That would seem to rule out most things apart from a curved sop. Forum members will no doubt use their usual resourcefullness to get round this (don't fly BA?), but you might need to be more ready with the strategy than previously!
YC
This item is described at http://www.musiceducationuk.com/news/2012/5/29/ism-condemns-bas-change-to-carriage-of-musical-instruments-p.html. There's a lot of posts about this on BA's Facebook page: British Airways. You can't start new threads, but musicians are adding their comments to existing threads faster than BA can delete them. :)

...A lot will depend on the type of plane - if you're on something small like a Bombardier or Avro, then you've no chance...
I've taken my tenor (Hiscox case) on Bombardiers on six journeys. On one, the cabin crew put it in their cupboard with their own bags. On the second, I took it to the bottom of the steps and handed it to the crew, who put it in the hold with the pushchairs. (These two journeys were from Southampton to France and back on FlyBE). For the other four journeys (Air New Zealand at Christchurch, Nelson and Auckland), I put it in the overhead storage. I was also able to take it from Gatwick to New Zealand via Dubai on Emirates 747s, again in the overhead storage lockers.

So in conclusion, large or small airports, large or small planes, (except BA's) it is possible to fly with a tenor without the baggage handlers handing it. I'm not sure about the super budget, "charge extra for everything" airlines like easyJet or Ryanair though.

And remember, United breaks guitars. :)

 
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