Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Traveling with a Guitar - Part Two

Getting through the security gate can be tricky as of late because many terminals/airlines have made the hole smaller on the conveyor belt through the x-ray machine. If it's plenty big enough for your acoustic's case or if you are just bringing an electric in a gig bag, no sweat, slide it on through.However, if you find that the opening is too small don't start sweating yet, I've had each of these six things happen to me...

Tip Four - Be open to options.

1. The metal flap making the x-ray machine's opening smaller was hinged and the security guard just lifted it up so my guitar would fit.

2. The metal flap making the x-ray machine's opening smaller was hinged and I just lifted it up so my guitar would fit.

Tip Five - Be generous. Generally smile a lot and say nice things.

3. The security guard said I needed to get permission from the counter before he could lift up the hinged flap and fortunately I had just come from the airline counter having successfully negotiated my way on to a flight other than the one I was booked on.  I had just given $25 to the airline's pet charity as a thank you to the employee who helped me, the same employee who by the way was needed to approve my guitar's passage into the deep recesses of the terminal.  Which she was more than happy to do.

4. The security guard just asked me to hand it to him over the x-ray machine so he could inspect it personally.  He even wanted play it a little.  Sure his hands were filthy but it was fine with me, it's not my guitar, everything I own belongs to God anyway.

Tip Six - Pull some strings.

5. One time when I was flying from Indianapolis to LA I arranged to be escorted through security by an airline employee.  She was the wife of a guitar playing friend of mine.  This was because my "guitargo" was a 1929 National Duolian metal bodied dobro that was impenetrable by x-rays and I didn't want them to take it apart to see that I wasn't carrying some form of contraband.  I swear.  I don't think in a post 9/11 world this would work.  I would just ship it today.  But it never hurts to have a contact in the business.

6.  The last scenario... I was sent to the ticketing counter where I was assured that my guitar would be handled carefully and waiting for me at the "fragile baggage" claim area back at home. It was there, but when I opened the case up and inspected it right then I noticed that the "G" string had been loosened and there was a dime inside (?!?). Whatever.

If you have any flying with guitars stories or tips feel free to post them in the comments.

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