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Thread: Travel with mandocello...?

  1. #1
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    Default Travel with mandocello...?

    I have a 1912 Gibson K4 which I would love to bring with me to Kalamazoo CMSA, but I am afraid to take my chances with TSA or a flight attendant on a crowded flight. "Sorry sir, that goes in cargo." That DID happen when I had a cheap guitar conversion in a hard case: they would only allow a soft case on overhead, so that Calton would not have made it.
    I have been given different advice (including in the cafe a few years ago) ranging from "just act cool like it's a guitar" to loosen the strings to get a Calton case. But all of these run the risk of a precious instrument in a sub-freezing unpressurized cargo hold.
    "Regular" mandolins probably don't get the attention of an attendant, but the K4 is a big instrument that doesn't fit so neatly between other people's carry-ons.
    I have played borrowed-from-locals instruments at conventions, but it's not the same. I also have an inexpensive travel mandocello (my wife says "everyone should have one") that I am willing to take my chances with.
    I am sure there are people who have experience with a fine instrument being stowed or shipped in a hard case. Is my beautiful 110 year old mandocello safe in a Calton if it is thrown into the cargo bay?
    Jim

    Dr James S Imhoff
    Boston University
    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

    1912 Gibson K4 Mandocello; Thomann Mandocello; Stiver F5; ?American? Bowlback; Martin 00016; coming: Dusepo Cittern/liuto cantabile

  2. #2
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travel with mandocello...?

    If you can stomach the cost, you could ship it ahead to someone (a reputable music store, perhaps). Airlines charge for a lot of check in luggage these days, anyway.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Travel with mandocello...?

    Another thing you need to consider is avoiding smaller planes, which you might experience flying into Grand Rapids (GRR).
    You will want to make sure your last flight is 737 or larger and not a regional jet.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Travel with mandocello...?

    Looking at PDX to OHare to Kzoo; last link looks like it might be a smaller local, Eagle Air or similar. But I will check before buying tickets. THANKS!
    Jim

    Dr James S Imhoff
    Boston University
    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

    1912 Gibson K4 Mandocello; Thomann Mandocello; Stiver F5; ?American? Bowlback; Martin 00016; coming: Dusepo Cittern/liuto cantabile

  7. #5

    Default Re: Travel with mandocello...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Imhoff View Post
    Looking at PDX to OHare to Kzoo; last link looks like it might be a smaller local, Eagle Air or similar. But I will check before buying tickets. THANKS!
    You can browse what types of airplanes use a specific airport here:
    https://flightaware.com/live/airport/KAZO

    Kalamazoo looks like regional jets only.
    I would be very worried that none of the overhead compartments could be large enough, regardless the type of case.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Travel with mandocello...?

    Once you get into the smaller/regional flights, you have to assume anything might end up in the hold. Now, you might not be flying at 35000ft, and the flights are likely short enough sub-zero temps or whatever are not a real risk, and the drop from the cargo door to the tarmac is not as far, but I'd still want to have a case that you can know will withstand normal handling, and be sure to have insurance for the abnormal.
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
    some home music videos

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