Airplane & violins: which case fits?

April 18, 2010 at 03:53 PM ·

 Hello everyone,

I'm traveling often by airplane this Summer but given the cabin luggage restrictions there are in many carriers, I'm thinking to buy a new case for my violin. Since there's no case that fits the maximum dimensions of cabin luggage (55x40x20cm, while a violin-only case would have to be at least 65cm long) I have to look for the smallest possible case. That is, a case that will still do the job of protecting the violin from heat, rain and shock!

The two more realistic options seem to be these two, does anyone has experience with them? And am I missing something else?
- BAM Trekking 
- Gewa "Sport" 307V.

Greetings from a worried unfrequent flyer.

Replies (11)

April 18, 2010 at 06:25 PM ·

 I live in San Diego but I went to college in the midwest as a music major.  So I very frequently had to haul both my violin and my viola back and forth on a plane.  For my violin I just have one of those standard, rectangular prism shaped cases with room for music on the top.  Like one of these:

Most violin cases, although not regulation sized, will fit in the overhead compartment of most planes so long as you don't have too much music stuffed on top.  Occasionally I got hassled because they wanted me to "check" my bag, but once I explained to the flight crew that it was a fragile instrument they were pretty understanding.  

If there was no overhead room or if I had to fly on a smaller plane, they would let me put my instrument in the coat closet.  It's this area where they hang all the suit coats of the captain and the people flying first class.  Every plane has one.

Aside from the awkwardness of lugging around my instrument, I rarely had problems when traveling with it.  Again, just be sure to mention that the thing you're holding is a nice instrument and that usually fixes any questioning glares.

April 18, 2010 at 08:41 PM ·

 I use an oblong Jaeger and have never gotten hassled in the US on any flight. Fortunately, the other passengers have carry-ons that are comparateively larger, especially now with baggage charges.

April 19, 2010 at 01:35 AM ·

I've had no problems travelling with my Musafia case which is larger than the dimensions you mention.  If you do a search on here on "airlines" and travelling by air,  you'll find some threads with lots of helpful hints about travelling with your violin as hand-luggage.  You may find them very useful if you are not a regular flyer.

April 19, 2010 at 02:23 AM ·

When I lived in Bermuda I had a Bobelock shaped violin case. I flew with it a ton and never had a problem. It's also really protective and lightweight. As much as I love it, my Musafia case has sat in the closet since I got back to the US almost a year ago!

April 20, 2010 at 04:12 PM ·

Hi Joao

I have the BAM trecking case and really like it a lot. You will be aware that it has a seperate bow tube. I am a violin maker so do not carry a bow and do not know if the seperate bow tube presents any difficulties. The case is well designed and practical with extra pockets and a neat rain cover.

April 20, 2010 at 05:49 PM ·

I have a Bobelock Fiberglass Shaped case #1007. Very strong, small and light weight. It is full suspension comes with a padded case cover (need it with the shiny finish) and shoulder strap. Not much room inside for accessories but the case cover does have a decent zippered pocket that will fit 8.5 x 11 sized music. Never had a problem getting on an airplane with it and fits nicely in the overhead bin.

April 21, 2010 at 12:32 AM ·

Take a look at the Bam Airline Overhead Hightech 2003XL. It is a Violin case which dimensions comply with airlines carry-on restrictions and can be carried as a hand luggage in the airplane.

April 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM ·

I'm living in a country with lot of rains, and we don't travel by cars here so I have to roof above my head to protect my violin, and chance of falling my motorbike is quite high :)

I'm also looking at the Bam Trekking. It's really pricey to my budget, but guess it might be worth it. So I'm with the OP on this question.

@Melvin: I've seen many pics of the Trekking, and seen it has 1 slot for the bow. Is it correct? As separated bow case is optional I think, so it must have something to hold at least one bow in the case?

April 22, 2010 at 09:10 AM ·

Most airlines do have stipulated sizing for carry-on luggage, but they also make exceptions for instruments like Violins and violas given the fragility and high cost of these instruments.......Over head compartments are way long enough for a violin case      (I don't know how cello and double bass players get on though)....Phone ahead to make sure and/or shoparound for an airline that will allow you to take it onboard.....You also may have to put spare strings into your booked luggage

If your violin has too much space around it inside the case thereby allowing it to move, tuck paper or fabric around it to prevent it from moving about....don't fall into the trap of using polystyrene beans.  Besides making a great mess when you open your case and they fall out all over the counter top when you open it at your destination,  they move and are no protection at all...I always also put a piece of foam under the  tailpiece where the strings attach just in case the bridge falls while in transit...

Good luck, and lets know how you get on...


April 22, 2010 at 08:28 PM ·

 In reply to Phuong Bui........

The BAM Trekking case I own does not have space for a bow. The case is too short to fit a bow so a separate but attachable sturdy bow tube comes as standard with the least that is how my case came about 5 years ago when I bought it. ...Hope that is useful.


April 23, 2010 at 02:43 AM ·

 @Thanks Melvin. I think it's still the same now.

I was stupid that I didn't go to Bam site to have a good look. So, when I figured that out, the case has a string tube which I mistook to a bow holder. And the separated bow tube is included - not have to pay more.

In the OP's case, that might be fine. But with the name trekking, if you want to carry your instrument to top of mountain for a romantic play night then I think it would be an issue.

For a more realistic situation, such as mine, I have to travel on motorbikes on a daily basic under the heat of 38-39 Celcius,  rains are as often as your daily meals, so would my bow - even a composite one such as Coda/Prism survive? The instrument might be fine, but I'm worried about the bow if I fall off....etc...

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