How To Take A Guitar On A Plane

Repaint your Guitar

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Going to a family vacation?

If you have to carry your instrument on a plane, it can be a hassle. But it is not impossible. The following tips show you how to take a guitar on a plane.

First things first…

As long as your luggage obeys the law set by the TSA and the regulations of the airline, it is legal to take your guitar on a plane without extra charges apart from carry-ons. Nevertheless, you are responsible for the safety of your guitar.

Here’s how to take a guitar on a plane

Choose your guitar

The first step is to decide the type of guitar you will be taking on your trip. As much as possible, avoid taking your special guitars with you, as you can not fully guarantee its safety during the trip.

Guitars in the “special” category include:

  • Guitars with sentimental value e.g. guitars gifted by someone special, guitars with autographs from your icon. The list goes on, you name it.
  • Guitars that can not be replaced.
  • Expensive guitars.
  • Your favorite guitar.

It’s best to play safe. Take a guitar that you won’t be so hurt if it gets damaged. If you do not have options, take your guitar and do the best you can to protect it.

Decide how your guitar will fly

Wondering how to take a guitar on a plane? You have two options: check in or have it as a carry-on. Although stressful, you should choose to carry it with you. This way, you do not have to worry about the safety of your equipment. Whichever you choose, you will have to follow different steps for them.

As a carry on:

If you would like to have your guitar with you on the plane, the first step is to research the airline you will be boarding. When you understand their regulations, you can take the following steps:

Select the casing

For better chances of keeping your guitar in the overhead storage bin, use a gig bag instead of a case. Thus, it does not exceed the weight limitations or take up all the space in the bin. Alternatively, you can get your parents to buy a travel guitar since it can be detached and packed in a normal bag.

Know the rules

Make sure your guitar is not above the standard weight accepted for carry-ons. I advise you to check with the airline you will be flying with.

Alien- free

Your guitar case should not contain any material that goes against the regulations of the airlines. If this happens, you will be detained or your guitar will be banned from entering the plane.

Get there first!

Ensure you get a seat in the front or rear, depending on the airline. You get to enter the plane first and store your guitar in the overhead storage bin before anyone does. Smart, right?

And the last option to be considered:

A seat for one more

In the case you are unable to have your guitar as a carry on, you should ask your parents to book an extra seat for your instrument.


Checking your guitar in is quite risky, so you have to be as careful. You must ensure there will be little or no damage done to your instrument while in the cabin.

Thicker casing

Reduce chances of damage by keeping your guitar in a thick case and stuffing the free space for insulation. You can fill it with clothes or paper.

Keep up the humidity

Your guitar can get damaged from temperature changes in the cabin. You should loosen the strings or keep a humidifier in the guitar to avoid damage.

First to Leave!

Get a seat in the rear of the plane so you can be the first person to leave the plane. You can get your ax right off the conveyor belt, before anyone else.

How to take a Guitar on a plane: conclusion

Yay! So you made it on board with your guitar as a carry-on. It’s not quite over yet.

Finally, ensure you maintain calm and politeness for the rest of the trip since you would have to deal with passengers and hostesses concerning storage space.

With these tips on how to take a guitar on the plane, you are sure to experience less stress and worries over your instrument (also learn about how to make a guitar capo).

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)