Any recent Lufthansa experience?

July 26, 2023, 4:47 PM · Does anyone have any experience flying Lufthansa with a violin recently? According to their rules, a violin case is too long for a carry on. I found quite a few posts saying that they have been happy to accommodate, but none recent.
I'll be going London Heathrow to Munich.

Replies (11)

July 26, 2023, 8:03 PM · It is always hard to know... It is a bit impredictable. In Frankfurt I was not allowed to enter the airplane with my viola, so I took it out of the case, wrapped it with some clothes and took it with me. Prior to it my viola was tested by the police for explosives.... they rubbed something on the varnish... It is not a viola joke.
July 27, 2023, 4:52 AM · So stupid...the official Lufthanse policy on musical instruments is that you can take them with you in the cabin, as long as they the standard size and weight restrictions imposed for *any* carry-on baggage. Moreover, they stipulate that this then replaces your allowed carry-on. In other words, they might as well have written nothing at all in their policy, as this means the musical instrument is just any other carry-on, so no special policy was needed.

I really wonder, how do professional orchestras do this when they are touring? I am sure all violinists, all violists, bring their instrument in the cabin, although they clearly do not satisfy the size restrictions? So the orchestra makes a special deal with the airline?

July 27, 2023, 8:06 AM · Thank you, Luis.

Jean, I did intend to take it instead of a carry-on, the issue is exactly that they have the same size restriction for all carry-ons. So the case is a lot lighter than a standard small suitcase, quite a lot narrower in two directions, but somewhat longer. And way under the weight restriction as well. So technically, it is outside the size of a permitted carry-on, but also overall, smaller.

I wonder if they permit a long umbrella or, say, a rolled up poster, which is taking the same concept to an extreme.

Edited: July 27, 2023, 8:30 AM · Jean, I have seen the travel boxes for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in some of the offstage areas. They have large black boxes that fit three violins or violas in their cases. (They also have boxes for all the other instruments as well.) Basically, it is a case for the cases. These are then able to be flown either on a cargo plan or as baggage. Here's an article on how they travel:

I wish I had a pic of the boxes, as they are pretty cool!

Edited to add: I found an article with pictures of some of the trunks!

July 28, 2023, 5:16 AM · very interesting, thanks Susan!
Edited: July 28, 2023, 5:30 AM · Esther, certainly, poster tubes that scientists use when they have to present their work at conferences, I've seen that a lot in planes and have done it myself. I'm also sure they don't mind about umbrellas. I've brought my own violin on planes with me several times, but always in business class, where such things are typically unproblematic. traveling in economy I've never dared to do it, although many people on the internet report on their experiences, tips, and tricks, if you google around (which you probably already did). one of the main tips is to simply not ask anyone, just carry your violin on your back (assuming your case has backpack straps), have no extra carry-on, except perhaps a small purse (that is called a "personal item", one personal item is always allowed in addition to a carry-on). just confidently check in, and when boarding, again, just confidently board. that's the main tip you often read. then again, airlines in America typically have a slightly better policy about musical instruments. moreover, here on, there are already a lot of articles on the issue. search for [violin plane]. there is a nice blog article by Laurie, for example: Air Travel with your Violin and Bow: Getting the Documents You Need.
Edited: July 28, 2023, 7:36 AM · Lufthansa has an employees' orchestra, so how ironic it is that they are proving instrument-difficult. There is a 15 minute report on Sarah Willis' channel - type in her name, DW and Lufthansa.
July 28, 2023, 8:45 AM · Some teachers I see at Suzuki institutes have a small shaped case for the violin only and a separate tube case for the bow (I assume, attached, so that the whole package is still "one item"). The idea is that the profile and bulk of a standard case even on one's back is more likely to get the airline employee's negative attention than the two smaller things.
July 28, 2023, 9:34 AM · Yes, I do it sometimes, wrap the instrument in bubble plastic and take it inside the plane. But I am a luthier.
July 28, 2023, 4:06 PM · Reporting on the result - I went on the cheapest economy option with a small backpack for a laptop and a change of clothes, and the smallest cheapest shaped violin case possible. Took a carbon fibre bow, and my thinking was that if worst comes worst, I could put that in the case into the hold, hope that the case would act as a decent bow case, and wrap the violin in a jumper.
In the end, nobody looked and nobody cared. I had it on my back when boarding, and got the impression that they were only looking down on suitcases that were rolled.
In any case, here is one successful story. Return tickets are British Airways, so no trouble there.
July 29, 2023, 9:57 AM · hurray Esther! thanks for letting us know how it went!

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