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Old Jul 8, 10, 12:22 am   #1
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Musical Instruments on US Airways

Hey everyone,

I just reached silver after making enough segments, but I have a question. On this upcoming flight I'm going to be traveling with my guitar. It's thin and is in a soft case so it shouldn't take up too much space. I haven't had any trouble on any other airlines but this is my first time flying US with my guitar, has anyone had any experience flying with their instrument on US? Hassles with instruments at the airport is the worst thing so any info/tips would be great, thanks!

James
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Old Jul 8, 10, 12:54 am   #2
 
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Ive seen some people have problems and others not. it really depends on the FA and their mood. If you can board early, you can probably put it in the overhead or ask the FA to store it in the FC cabin.

Just remember it has to be stored and can not be somewhere where it can move, i.e. in your lap, resting against a seat, etc. A lot of flights I take from SFO always seem to have one or two people with a guitar and people boarding in zone 3 or 4 usually have to check it because of limited space.

Good luck tho
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Old Jul 8, 10, 2:34 am   #3
 
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As long as it's not over 79" for combined length, width, and height it'll meet the carry-on size limit. If so the only problems you may have are no overhead bin space left or one of more of your flights are on Express with smaller overhead bins. Your Silver status will get you zone 2 boarding which should let you find over-head bin space - just try to board among the first of the zone 2 group.

There's no way around the smaller bins on the Express planes so if you have any Express flights anything too large to fit the smaller bins goes in the cargo compartment and is returned to you either planeside or in the jetway.

US will allow a soft-sided case in the cargo compartment, but will require you to sign a release from liability if it's damaged/lost so it might be worthwhile to get an inexpensive used hard-sided case you're on any Express flights. Hopefully your soft-sided case will fit in the hard case so you can use the hard case for your flights only.

Jim
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Old Jul 8, 10, 2:46 am   #4
 
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Choose an exit row seat or bulkhead - these will probably bump you up to Zone1 instead of 2 so you'll have room to put it in the bins. I had no problem with a guitar on the 757. I was in 7C, and put the guitar above 8DEF.
Try to check your other luggage though.
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Old Jul 8, 10, 3:26 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by fets_be View Post
Try to check your other luggage though.
Thanks for mentioning that because I forgot to say that the guitar will count as your 1 carry-on bag that's allowed. You'll only be allowed an additional personal item that must be small enough to fit under the seat - laptop, briefcase, handbag, etc. The 1 carry-on plus 1 personal item limit applies even in the bulkhead row although both have to go in the over-head bin.

Jim
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Old Aug 28, 10, 10:26 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt75 View Post
Hey everyone,

I just reached silver after making enough segments, but I have a question. On this upcoming flight I'm going to be traveling with my guitar. It's thin and is in a soft case so it shouldn't take up too much space. I haven't had any trouble on any other airlines but this is my first time flying US with my guitar, has anyone had any experience flying with their instrument on US? Hassles with instruments at the airport is the worst thing so any info/tips would be great, thanks!

James
James & Co. writing here,
I never write on message boards but seeing as I have some very VERY important info for you I felt compelled to. I am a musician and recently (June 6, 2010) flew with US Airways as I have on MANY occasions WITH my guitar in a soft but VERY substantial case. They, each time I have gone to board, had me check it at the gate and they "valet-ed" it into the belly of the plane and each time the staff at the gate reassured me it would be SAFE there.
Well, June 6th they broke my $1,700 Taylor acoustic/electric guitar...in HALF. This means that someone must have stepped or crushed it. The case it was is TOUGH and sturdy especially for a technically "soft case." I immediately went to the baggage claim office where people file said complaints and got the damage documented and had a case number issued. I then wrote a letter saying that although it wasn't in a HARD case I had been reassured by airline staff that it would be fine and was NEVER made aware of the zero liability they so quickly divulge now. So they won't pay for the guitar which I had only had for 3 months.

Yes, I realize I should have been flying with a hard case but on the 35th time flying and after successful voyages, seeing how it was handled with care I KNEW it would be fine.
I was also NEVER made aware of the zero liability if I had known I would have picked a different airline or just simply used a hard case.

Please learn from what I already have. Ask the questions and be persistent it is you who will have to pay in the end if something is to happen.

Safe Travels.
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Old Aug 28, 10, 11:07 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt75 View Post
Hey everyone,

I just reached silver after making enough segments, but I have a question. On this upcoming flight I'm going to be traveling with my guitar. It's thin and is in a soft case so it shouldn't take up too much space. I haven't had any trouble on any other airlines but this is my first time flying US with my guitar, has anyone had any experience flying with their instrument on US? Hassles with instruments at the airport is the worst thing so any info/tips would be great, thanks!

James
Quote:
As long as it's not over 79" for combined length, width, and height it'll meet the carry-on size limit. If so the only problems you may have are no overhead bin space left or one of more of your flights are on Express with smaller overhead bins. Your Silver status will get you zone 2 boarding which should let you find over-head bin space - just try to board among the first of the zone 2 group.
What I found says:
"Musical instruments cannot exceed 10"x 16"x 49"."
If you are within those size limitations, you will be fine but I would print the baggage allowance off the website and carry it with you. It should be on the US Airways website somewhere, probably around carry-on baggage info.
If it's over this size, you may run into someone that will let you on with it but since it's an FAA Regulation, I wouldn't count on it. Any larger than the musical instrument allowance and I would suggest a hard sided case that is tagged with all of your contact information. It will get a Gate Valet tag that means you will pick it up in the jetway once you land (if you have multiple segments, you will pick it up each time). Your only other option is to purchase a seat in the cabin for it (and yes, people have done that before!) and then it stays with you the entire time.
Hope that helps and good luck!
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Old Aug 28, 10, 11:28 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by BobbieMusic View Post
James & Co. writing here,
Musical instruments are deemed "Fragile Items" by US (see "Special Items"). If the instrument isn't packaged according to US' specifications, you're supposed to execute a release from liability form before it will be checked. If you weren't given such a form to fill out and sign, I would say that US owes you a payment up to the maximum under the contract of carriage - $3,300 per ticketed passenger.

If US insists that they have no liability for your "fragile" checked instrument because it was improperly packaged, insist that they either provide you with a copy of your executed release from liability form or replace your guitar. If that doesn't work, file a DOT report as well as send a letter (or email I think) to the AZ Attorney General.

Jim
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Old Aug 30, 10, 12:28 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by BoeingBoy View Post
Musical instruments are deemed "Fragile Items" by US (see "Special Items"). If the instrument isn't packaged according to US' specifications, you're supposed to execute a release from liability form before it will be checked. If you weren't given such a form to fill out and sign, I would say that US owes you a payment up to the maximum under the contract of carriage - $3,300 per ticketed passenger.

If US insists that they have no liability for your "fragile" checked instrument because it was improperly packaged, insist that they either provide you with a copy of your executed release from liability form or replace your guitar. If that doesn't work, file a DOT report as well as send a letter (or email I think) to the AZ Attorney General.

Jim
At the gate the valet tags clearly state on the stub that is given to the passenger: "Checked baggage subject to tariffs, including limitations therein contained. US Airways does not accept liability for damage to strollers, child restraint systems and fragile items." By accepting the claim stub the pax agrees to the terms printed on it.
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Old Aug 30, 10, 1:04 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by awaflyboy View Post
By accepting the claim stub the pax agrees to the terms printed on it.
There's a term for that type of "contract" but it escapes me at the moment. The point, however, is that they don't always hold up in court. I suspect that a small claims court claim would be successful since no where on the website does it say that damaged "fragile" items will not be covered at any time. Rather, the website makes it clear that US will accept "fragile" items as checked baggage (normal or valet) as long as the item is properly packaged. And who would make the determination? The agent who did not have BobbieMusic complete the waiver of liability form as stipulated on the US website.

BTW, I thought US had standardized it's baggage policy. Mainline/Republic flights didn't do valet check any more while the other Express did. Was I mistaken?

Jim
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Old Aug 30, 10, 2:14 am   #11
 
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Quote:
BTW, I thought US had standardized it's baggage policy. Mainline/Republic flights didn't do valet check any more while the other Express did. Was I mistaken?
Mainline still gate valets items like musical instuments, car seats, strollers, F/C bags, etc... Not sure about Republic or Express.
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Old Aug 30, 10, 7:47 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by BoeingBoy View Post
There's a term for that type of "contract" but it escapes me at the moment. The point, however, is that they don't always hold up in court...
Yes. These adhesion contracts are common, serve a useful purpose, and provide an initial defense. Contract law is state law and we have 50 states with varying interpretations, but generally courts would carefully scrutinize the circumstances of the case to attempt a fair and equitable solution.
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Old Jun 12, 12, 4:51 am   #13
 
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Anyone had any experience lately ... ? Thinking about son taking guitar 320/757/757/321 ; let's assume all in F. Concern is that with 4 flights, only takes one bad situation (truculent GA or FA, IRROPS) to lead to unwanted check-in ....
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Old Jun 12, 12, 6:32 am   #14
 
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Have had many guitars on the airplane. Simply ask the agent if you can board early. Again, some agents are nicer about it. But do NOT put it in FC. Geez, we barely have enough room for the FC passengers bags, mustless a guitar taking up an entire bin.
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Old Jun 12, 12, 6:56 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Biggie Fries View Post
Anyone had any experience lately ... ? Thinking about son taking guitar 320/757/757/321 ; let's assume all in F. Concern is that with 4 flights, only takes one bad situation (truculent GA or FA, IRROPS) to lead to unwanted check-in ....
Well we know that United Breaks Guitars, and from what I'm hearing apparently US does as well. Worth the risk? I think not, what would FedEx run RT?
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