June 28, 2008 at 3:08 AMThis week I traveled with my family all the way across the United States, from Los Angeles to Orlando, to see grandparents and family and visit some theme parks.
All I can say about the plane trip is: Whatta pain!
First of all, we traveled on United Airlines. As we were checking our luggage, the person in front of us was assessed an extra $100 for having an overweight bag. In fact, everyone is now being charged even for a first bag on United. If people have to pay $15 each way to check even just one bag (and $25 for a second bag), I'm guessing that more people will opt to carry at least one bag on the plane. That will make for less room in those overhead compartments, and what does this mean for someone carrying a violin?
It can't be good news.
This time I wasn't flying with a fiddle, but the last time I flew, just a few months ago, I was. That time, I was flying from LA to Cincinnati on Delta, and I was flying with my good violin. Considering all the bad stories about Delta not allowing musicians carry their instruments on the plane, I was worried enough to carry a copy of the agreement that the American Federation of Musicians worked out with Delta a year ago, when it lifted the union's boycott of the airline. To my pleasant surprise, I had no problems carrying the violin on board, and there was plenty of room in the overhead bins for my violin.
Despite that, I was still quite worried about people shoving their heavy, clunky-wheeled suitcases up against my violin case. And this was several months ago, before this new business about charging for each and every bag. My guess is that there will be less carry-on space on planes with these new charges.
What has been your experience, in the last year, flying with your violin? Did you fly with no problems? Were your detained by security over your violin, was your violin refused aboard the plane? I'm wondering, what is the current state of affairs on this issue? Tell us your personal experiences below.
Not for long, however. I'm flying to Aspen in a couple weeks, so I'd better double check my airline's policies, eek.
Not for me...but that's what my younger sister would be voting.
On the day of departure, I asked airline worker if I could have back seat so I could get on board first. The answer was no problem. I asked if I could put my violin in the overhead luggage compartment – not a problem either. No one asked me to pay extra, and the extreme politeness I received from the airline workers made me feel as though brining a violin on board is something to be honoured!
I didn’t have any problem with the domestic flight from Vancouver to Victoria via Air Canada either. The plan was small but the overhead bin was sufficiently roomy. No one touched my violin.
I did opt to fly on a weekend that featured a popular sporting event that is famous for scintillating intermission entertainment, and witty advertisements. My flight was routed through Vegas, on Southwest (AKA "Steerage"). It seems that Vegas is a popular destination for partying on this sporting weekend. This flight was special. The plane was packed with loud drunks, at 9:00 am. 9:00 am! An hour into the flight, they actually sold out of all the beer. Bleh.
Next vacation trip, I plan to drive. With violin, and water.
One of my adult students travels to Japan frequently for his work, and he takes his violin with him. He uses the lightweight fiberglass case sold by Bam and described by Janet in her comment. He detaches the case containing the bow and has it shipped. I've seen the bow case and the violin case, and they're quite impressive. He has never had any trouble with the violin or bow.
I'd also be curious about what kinds of problems people did have.
I have had to check in my laptop once for having more than 2 carry-ons: purse, laptop case and viola on a few occasions. Since then, I use a backback and put my "purse" items in it along with my laptop and assorted sheet music.
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