Flying with an upright bass
Flying with your upright bass can sometimes be a frustrating (if
not stressful) event, but it doesn't have to be. The airlines
have come to realize that bass players still need to be able to fly
with their bass and have gone from undocumented disasters (of
leaving it up to the ticket counter people) to super restrictive
travel, and now back to more acceptable rules and regulations of
flying with a bass.
In most cases, the bass should be only considered "over-sized"
especially when flying with the new Tuff-Lite Pro
upright bass case. Minimize your weight whenever
take off the endpin and put it in your suitcase (some of
these endpins can weigh 2-3 lbs)
hand carry the bow and bow case
if you need to have a cover at your destination (as most
people do), pack your cover in a cheap duffle bag separately
Even with a heavier case, you can pretty well find ways to reduce
the overall weight.
How to present yourself (with the upright bass
at the airport):
While some these ideas would normally be obvious to most, it's
still important to list and consider. Flying with an upright
bass can be stressful. Keep this in mind and remind yourself
that you will be stressed. Be thoughtful to the counter
agents. Always smile and be respectful. Yes, I know, we
learned this in kindergarten, but you'd be surprised how many people
end up paying more for their upright bass, when they are needlessly
rude or short with the airline agents. They are not used to
people showing up with these (double basses) as well. Remind
the agent that you are a professional (or very serious about your
bass.) Be engaging and conversational. I know we get
tired of people asking about our "big guitar" case, but don't be
afraid to tell the airline person where you're going, whom you play
with or what event it is you're flying to and calmly tell them that
you "fly all the time" with your upright bass.
I know that no one likes dressing up when traveling. I think
it was jazz bassist Keter Betts that wrote an article and said that
he would always dress up and wear a tie. I know we hate to
admit it, but looking good helps gain trust and respect. Look
presentable for sure.
If you have a case that locks, make sure it is not locked.
If the TSA cannot gain entry to your bass case, they will leave it
at the airport and not load it on the plane. A big shock when you
arrive at your destination city to say the least!
Special News: We have received the new lightweight
flight cases by Tuff-Lite. They are the lightest, most durable
and most protective bass
flight cases in the world. Their biggest, heaviest case
(the Pro) only weighs around 53 lbs, yet will fit the largest sized