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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby sloan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:50 pm

ShoelessWes wrote:Just did the DIA to Seattle-Tacoma leg.

All they did was open the case and look around in it. Horn sat next to me. No problems at all. They even gave me my horn's diet coke and bischoff cookies.


Does your tuba accumulate Frequent Flyer miles?
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby tubabill » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:01 pm

I'm a Delta Employee so when I fly, I fly Non-Revenue (standby) so I can't buy a seat for my tuba. For me I think the best option is to fly with it and check it at the gate. As an employee I can carry it down and load it on the plane myself. Just for everyone's info, when you check a bag at the gate it generally goes into a different compartment than the rest of the checked bags. It's pretty empty in there so there's less chance of things falling on it. I have a Sound Wear gig bag which is pretty sturdy for a gig bag. I'm going to add a few inches some high density foam around the tuba for added protection. I can't afford a flight case right now (unless anyone knows of some inexpensive ones). I'm going to be auditioning for grad schools in different parts of the country and flying is the best option. Thanks for all the advice and experiences. If anyone else has any more I'd appreciate the information.

:tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba: :tuba:
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Donn » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:00 pm

That has to be the best idea yet - get a job with an airline (that goes where you need to go, of course.) Not only will you get to load your own tuba, there's probably some money in it that will come in handy between good-paying tuba gigs! Does everyone who works for the airline get access to the gate check baggage load like that?

Can you check anyone else's baggage? Would you mind coming along if we do a show in Austin next spring?
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby ShoelessWes » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:51 pm

sloan wrote:Does your tuba accumulate Frequent Flyer miles?


Nope, but I do. I just plug in my skymiles card for myself, too, at checkin.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby tubabill » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:04 pm

Donn wrote:That has to be the best idea yet - get a job with an airline (that goes where you need to go, of course.) Not only will you get to load your own tuba, there's probably some money in it that will come in handy between good-paying tuba gigs! Does everyone who works for the airline get access to the gate check baggage load like that?

Can you check anyone else's baggage? Would you mind coming along if we do a show in Austin next spring?

Unfortunately, no. I work on the ramp so my job is to load the planes. You have to have special security clearance to go out on the ramp.

Disclamer: I'm not one of the guys that throws instruments, bags, strollers, etc... down to the concrete. I try to handle the bags like I would like mine handled. And if I do see an instrument, (haven't come across any tubas yet) I treat it with extra care. So if you fly Delta out of Atlanta there's a chance I might load your bags.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby SousaSaver » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:13 pm

bloke wrote:so...

Some folks treat standard MTS (c. $500 molded plastic) cases as "flight cases" and seem to be lucky a fairly large percentage of the time;


:shock: gulp...
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby SousaSaver » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:21 pm

I just flew across the country with a Tuba in (what looks like) an Allied Supply "universal" wood shell case.

I bought the Tuba a ticket. When I went through security, the TSA agents did not open the case until I went through the metal detector, put my shoes back on etc.

When they opened the case, they looked into the mouth piece compartment, down the bell flare and swabbed the case with some kind of wipe. They told me the wipe was to check for "bomb making residue."

I was then able to take the Tuba with me to my gate and onto the plane. The flight attendant helped me set the case up right in the seat next to me and secured it with two seat belt extensions.

Made it to my destination safe and sound. It was definitely worth buying the ticket (one way about 120 bucks). In my opinion, without a flight case this horn would have definitely been damaged in it's current case.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Alex C » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:31 pm

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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby LARSONTUBA » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:42 pm

To those that have recently flown successfully with their instruments:

I have purchased a ticket for myself and my tuba. Did you fly with yours in a hard case or a soft case?
I am having a bit of a dilemma deciding which route to go. One one hand, I don't think I will have any problems getting my instrument onto the plane in its soft case. However, should I get a airline worker who is just having a total garbage dump of a day who wants to make my life difficult, I wonder if I should have the hard case there.

The hard case I have is one of the universal style cases. It has worked wonderfully in the past, when checked. I don't think the hard case would fit in the seat.

Thoughts?
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Paul Tkachenko » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:43 pm

Buy a seat and take the gigbag. I've never had a problem with that.

I seem to have more trouble with any kind of case and checking it in.

Quite how some things get smashed up so much is beyond me. I once saw two baggage handlers pick up my double bass in the flight case (which was quite difficult for them to do) and throw it as high as they could on the conveyor belt.

Amazingly, the instrument was OK.

Bill, anything you can do to stop jerks like that would be really appreciated.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby sousaphone68 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:38 pm

Paul Tkachenko wrote:Buy a seat and take the gigbag. I've never had a problem with that.

I seem to have more trouble with any kind of case and checking it in.

Quite how some things get smashed up so much is beyond me. I once saw two baggage handlers pick up my double bass in the flight case (which was quite difficult for them to do) and throw it as high as they could on the conveyor belt.

Amazingly, the instrument was OK.

Bill, anything you can do to stop jerks like that would be really appreciated.


This is the best advice I have in the past worked on airport x ray machines and have always kept in mind 2 events that I witnessed while working.
Once while updating the shift manager of a major international airline that both systems were now in operation a baggage handler for the airline stomped over and threw a set of golf clubs at the conveyor as hard as he could attracting the managers attention I stepped back to give him room and privacy but was amazed when the only thing he said was "if that's for the Boston flight it should be belt 2"
The handler took this as a personal affront and threw the bag even harder onto the correct belt.

Incident 2 was at the "out of gauge" x-ray where travellers with large or special baggage are sent.
A passenger presented to the screeners a carefully and meticulously warped and crated work of art replete with fragile and this way up stickers.
The passengers asked "will it stay this way up at all times?" With a straight face the screeners said "yes" and the passengers loaded it into the x ray machine it was deemed safe to fly and exited the machine and onto the handling system where it had to negotiate a 50° sloped conveyor belt where it pin wheeled all the way to the bottom.

So the moral of the story is that if the handlers dont wreck it then the designers of the systems will.

The safest way is to buy a seat or drive
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby tubabill » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:08 pm

Paul Tkachenko wrote:Bill, anything you can do to stop jerks like that would be really appreciated.

I will do my best to change the epidemic of instument abuse in my little corner of the Atlanta Airport!
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Josh deVries » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:59 pm

Paul Tkachenko wrote:Buy a seat and take the gigbag. I've never had a problem with that.

I seem to have more trouble with any kind of case and checking it in.


From someone who has flown 4 times in the past 6 months with TWO tubas, I agree. I've flown a couple airlines and if you say you have a seat there isn't a problem. Some airlines will ask you to sit in the back row with your tuba, but who cares. You do have to wait, most times, for everyone to leave for you to get off. But again, it's all worth it when you have peace of mind!!

Plus, no annoying screaming babies or smelly passengers next to you. Just your tuba.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby lowtones425 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:31 pm

Has anyone ever flown with the Yamaha 822 F tuba in it's stock case? I am potentially flying home from Memphis with one on Sunday, and will be checking it. If you have, any tips on packing and padding the horn? Also, what is the deal with gate checking? *If I've asked a question that has already been answered somewhere, please forgive me...

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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Pearl01 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:29 pm

mcvfifer wrote:Has anyone ever flown with the Yamaha 822 F tuba in it's stock case? I am potentially flying home from Memphis with one on Sunday, and will be checking it. If you have, any tips on packing and padding the horn? Also, what is the deal with gate checking? *If I've asked a question that has already been answered somewhere, please forgive me...

Thanks.


I have flown with the 822 in the stock case...which really isnt made for flying. The case got messed up, but the tuba was fine. You WILL get cracks/etc in the case, so don't expect it to come back intact. My case is now decorated with many different kinds of tape to hold it together.


ALSO- Bloke, that 6/4 wood case you are restoring; would you plan on using that for flying? Is wood better for flying than non-flight/molded plastic cases? THANKS
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby tubabill » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:32 pm

Just an update on all my tuba flying adventures! I have made 16 total flights to Portland, OR; Knoxville, TN; Nashville, TN; Madison, WI; Fort Wayne, IN; Phoenix, AZ; Baton Rouge, LA; and Washington D.C. All flights were with Delta Airlines. I used a large molded case. It's a heavy duty one with a metal lining in the higher impact spots. I don't know the make. I've flown with a CC padded with extra pillows and a E flat inside the gig bag which all fits in the case. Total damages include.... TWO BROKEN WHEELS!!! I used a folding hand truck after that. I put a sign on each side that read "EXTREMELY FRAGILE MUSICAL INSTUMENT TUBA HANDLE WITH CARE." It made each flight flawlessly! I was still on pins and needles untill I would get it back at my destination and inspected it. I took detailed pictures before every flight for damage proof just incase. A majority of the time I could look out the window at the loaders to make sure nothing happened. Every time they would see the signs they would be very gentle with it, even setting it on their foot before laying it on the ground. In all I am very pleased with the results. Over weight fees are $90 so it is cheaper than buying an extra seat. I'm not saying that a tuba will be protected every flight, every time; I'm just saying that with my flying adventures, I still have a perfect tuba with A LOT of miles on it!
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby Tom » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:21 pm

Coming back around to this post after some time, I see that several of you have reported flying very recently with your tuba next to you in the passenger cabin of the plane. That's encouraging.

I do still wonder about about one of the things I mentioned in my original post in this thread:

What were you planning to do if, after arriving at the airport with your tuba in a gig bag and it's own ticket, the airline somehow denied you ability to bring it on to the plane :?: Instead of saying "they can't do that!" just let me know what you would really do.

At least if I hit a snag with a horn in a flight case, I know I can always send it air, freight line, bus, train, or car as it's packed well enough in a flight case that I can get it where it needs to go as it stands. If I show up at an airport with a horn in a gig bag and hit a snag, what are my options? It seems to me like you have two choices in that case...check it or don't fly with it.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby tclements » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:36 pm

Seriously, take the train! I have had NO END of hassles with arilines and tubas. You may get to a transfer point, and THAT flight may not even TAKE your tuba. Not to mention extra fees, PROBABLE damage, and guaranteed mis-handling of your most prized possessions (I AM assuming you are taking a CC & an F). For the extra couple of days train travel takes, it is SO much more relaxing and you will have NO WORRIES about your instruments. I have taken tubas back and forth across the country with NO HASSLES on the train. MAKE THE TIME, have a great trip.
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby gwwilk » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:51 am



And if he's having a really bad day, that message may just push him over the edge...
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Re: Flying with a tuba

Postby niconitram » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:01 pm

I went to the custom flight case option (http://www.rouillardcases.com/products" target="_blank) for my PT-6. I had it done after some Northwest Airlines handler gave a good D-liner push on my horn damaging 3 valves

Thank God it was on the return flight from an audition.

After that, I travelled back and forth to South Africa and Europe several times, on a few airlrines trouble-free

Taking a tuba on board takes some good negociating skill nowadays, which I don't have so much...

The case is worth the investment

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