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goljawari

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Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #1 
Basic question - Is there a possibility of traveling on the airlines with a travel sitar with out checking in the instrument? I'm figuring not b/c I'm thinking they'd still be too large for the overhead compartments, but I haven't seen one in a while and was just getting curious? Does anybody have any experience with this. Traveling with sitar size instruments, especially if you're doing a bit of moving around (hiking, traveling between several cities, getting on various public transportation...) can get really burdensome.
GJW
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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yes,

But the only way is to beg the check-in clerks, and it will be up to them. They usually say no. The last time I flew with my sitar they said, "Ok, we'll carry the sitar on the plane for you by hand, along with the baby strollers, but only if it can fit through the x-ray machine."

My sitar just didn't fit through the machine, so I had to take my chances with checking it in as fragile item. Check-in luggage is a game of Russian roulette, and there are plenty of horror stories that have been posted on this forum (including my own) of terrible things that have happened to instruments on flights. 9 times out of 10 it will be OK, but it's that 1 in 10 that could destroy your sitar. Flying with a sitar is risky.

My best advice is to get the strongest indestructable reinforced rectangular case that you can (a case for your case) plaster it with fragile stickers, pack it with foam so that instument doesn't move around inside, and check it in.

Pelican makes some good cases. This one is *almost* big enough for a full sitar, but will definitely accomdate a travel sitar:

http://www.pelican.com/cases_detail.php?Case=1770

(I wish they had made it just 2 inches deeper - it would have been a perfect sitar case!)
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cwroyds

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Reply with quote  #3 
The best thing to try is to "Gate Check" the sitar.
You take it to the gate and they give you a tag.
You take you sitar down to the plane.
At the door to the plane a worker take the sitar and hand carries it down to put it under the plane.
At the destination, you exit the plane and the sitar is right there for you to take.
(Rex, I think this is what you were describing. Sorry if I am repeating.)

Much better than sending the sitar through the airport baggage system.
This is where the damage occurs.

I personally don't understand why the baggage handlers can be careful with a music instrument.
They just dont give a crap.
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theprosperone

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Posts: 437
Reply with quote  #4 
In a gig bag there is a chance a studio sitar will be able to taken on as carry-on. I was able to take a full sized classical guitar onto the plane as carry-on without question. I think different airlines have different dimension specifics but I have a bass guitar gig bag and with the MA and SA pegs taken out of the headstock, the bag will zip up safely. I'll look for my tape measure and give you measurements of the guitar + case I've been allowed to check and the current gigbag my studio sitar fits into. Now I'm curious as well...
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #5 
Check your airlines website is the best bet, they're all different. I've had an instrumental tanpura as carry on before, you may get lucky. If it has a case then just pack well, I've never had any problems at all with sitars but I've always been very careful in packing as they will get tossed around.
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goljawari

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Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for all the tips. I think I'll go with calling the airlines and seeing what their policy is.
GJW
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