Taking violin as carry on in air travel.

January 2, 2022, 3:59 PM · I plan to fly with Delta Airlines soon and I am hoping to bring my violin with me instead of shipping it (shipped it one time, was outrageously expensive and late). The problem is that I can't find a clear answer if my case will be permitted as a carry on item or not. I definitely will not let my violin be flown as a checked item, I've seen what they do to checked luggage. I use a Gewa Air case, but the dimensions that Delta lists for acceptable carryon items are 22X14X9. The case is about 31-32 inches in length, but the other dimensions are within that restriction. I am not sure if it will fit in the overhead bin. I've flown with Delta before and, if my memory serves me correct, the overhead bin doesn't seem long enough to accommodate my case, but I can't be certain. I don't know what to do because it would be a disaster to get to the airport and be told it's not allowed.

Replies (7)

Edited: January 2, 2022, 4:06 PM · If you click through the various pages on Delta's website, you get the following:

Guitars and smaller musical instruments like violins or flutes will be accepted as your free carry-on bag item on Delta and Delta Connection flights. Your carry-on must easily fit in the overhead bin or other approved storage locations, in the cabin, based on available space at the time of boarding. Please note, if overhead bin space is limited or if you prefer, you may check your instrument at the gate.

1. Codeshare partner baggage policies may differ. Not valid for travel to and from the United Kingdom.


FWIW, I've never had a problem even flying to and from the UK, although I am more likely to use Virgin Atlantic and American. The bigger problem is in the regional puddle-jumper, where there is usually just enough room overhead for a shaped case. Boarding early, or upgrading to premium economy, generally forestalls the worst problems in any case (heh).

Edited: January 2, 2022, 4:11 PM · https://internationalmusician.org/revised-airline-travel-advice-musicians-instruments/

I think there is a link in there to the TSA letter that states that violins must be allowed as carry-ons if there is bin space. Please note the if. That is a big if. If the bins are full by the time you board, the airline is not required to remove items to make room for your violin.

The other problem that people sometimes run into is if they are booked on a smaller commuter jet with smaller bins. In that case you may well be told that those bins will not accommodate a violin case. It has been my experience that you will never win an argument with an airline employee.

Here are some of the documents listed in the first link: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments

January 2, 2022, 4:14 PM · https://sauriansaint.com/2011/10/17/tricks-for-getting-your-violin-on-a-plane/
January 2, 2022, 4:24 PM · https://sauriansaint.com/2011/10/17/tricks-for-getting-your-violin-on-a-plane/ Some useful tips, although she probably meant intra-USA, and (I hope) not actually flying piles.
Edited: January 2, 2022, 11:26 PM · I have never had problems fitting my viola case into an overhead bin, not even on smaller commuter jets (where it will at least fit on the side of the aisle with two seats).
January 2, 2022, 8:03 PM · I almost always fly Delta, and I've never had a problem. When I carry the violin case onto the airplane, I immediately ask if they can put it in a closet. They have a closet for the pilot's coats. They have either always done so, or helped me place it in the overhead compartments. They have even held it for me as I deplane and hand it to me with a smile.
January 2, 2022, 8:34 PM · That's reassuring. Thanks for the info!

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