Alternative title to this post could be “Shame on You Airlines!!!”
Let me start by saying that if you have any brilliant ideas about traveling with acoustic guitars, I am all ears. I am sitting in the Prague airport, still a little perplexed, as I write. Luckily I am here with guitars which are all in one piece and did not go broke getting them here.
Just when I think I’ve got the “flying with a guitar dilemma” licked, the ever evolving chess game between the dark forces of the airlines and us good guys (musicians) takes an unexpected twist.
I did everything by the book. I loosened the strings, bubble packed the neck within the hard shell case, and as I have written in an earlier post – I then pack the case in my casextreme.com travel case, like a good acoustic guitar student should. 🙂
I know many guitarists just show up to the gate either with a hard shell or a gig bag – and this is Russian roulette. God forbid they tell you is has to be checked, you are in trouble – or maybe you just don’t take the flight.
This tour was pretty extensive – so I traveled with 2 acoustics, and an electric. So, all in all thats:
2 acoustics in road cases (playing solo, one needs a backup axe)
1 Electric in a soft case (fits in overhead)
Laptop & Gear case
Guess what? The fun started when Swiss International Air charged $200 for taking a 3rd luggage piece getting out of the gates in NYC. That’s just one way, folks.
And flying from Koln to Prague – I had paid for 3 luggage pieces online ahead of time – but basically that just gave me the “privilege” of dividing my 23 kilo allotment across 3 bags.
Why must there always be surprises? At the counter I was told it would be 140 euros. But fear not – a creative solution came…
It did not take long to figure this out –
$200 NYC to Europe
$200 approx (140 eur) Koln to Prague
$200 Europe back to NYC
That would be $600 for this tour alone if I just took my lumps and handed my credit card across the counter. And guess what – I’m coming back to Europe in the Spring…another $400 – $600. That could amount to $1000 or more – just to shlep a backup guitar 2 times that I almost never play.
And The Solution Is…
First off, I twisted their arm to let me take a hard shell in the cabin, and left a road case with my friend in Koln. Having another person there to pass gear off to was key!
So friends – the solution is (drum roll, please) I will be leaving lots of gear here across the pond. Actually, guitarist and instructor Stefan Grossman put the idea in my mind so kudos to him – park guitars and other equipment junk in Europe, and travel light.
So, a Taylor, a Yamaha Electric (Killer axe – I bought 2) and maybe a boss multi-efffects board will stay here. I just can’t bear to pay the offensive B.S. money they want to charge.
Assuming my guitars foster parents will humidify it regularly, I should be in good shape.
I’d rather buy more guitars with the money I save. 🙂