Flying with a tuba

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Re: Flying with a tuba

Post by lowtones425 »

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

Post by Pearl01 »

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...

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

Post by tubabill »

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

Post by Tom »

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

Post by tclements »

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

Post by gwwilk »

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

Post by niconitram »

I went to the custom flight case option (" target="_blank" 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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Re: Flying with a tuba

Post by mctsang »

I recently flew with Delta from MI to FL, they charged me $375 extra for the tuba per trip , but my round trip flight ticket was only $290 :cry:
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Re: Flying with a tuba


I recently flew from Baton Rouge, LA to Washington D.C. for the US Army Band Tuba Conference. I flew with my tuba in its gig bag and had a seat purchased for it. I got the airport about an hour and a half early for departure and return and had no problems with any aspect of the trip.

Getting through security was my biggest concern. The security agents that I got both in BR and DC were amazed that my instrument cost so much, that I have a backpack case for it, and admired it for its craftsmanship. When I took it out of the case so they could inspect it, I made sure to tell the agent that it was very expensive and I appreciated their time and care. They seemed to respond positively to it.

Getting on the plane, I boarded with the families and "those who need some extra time getting down the jetway." The gate agents had no problem letting me on the plane early. Once on the plane, I asked the attendant for a seatbelt extension, placed the tuba bell down in the seat next to me, buckled it in, and started reading my book.

Overall, it was a great experience. I don't know if I can afford to travel to Europe that way, but for small flights in the U.S., it was definitely a way I will go in the future.

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Re: Flying with a tuba

Post by adsteve »

I flew to Taiwan over the summer with my tuba in a Walt Johnson Flight Case. The worst part of the trip was getting from STL to LAX. I told them I was more than willing to pay the oversize and overweight fees and they insisted they could not put the case under the plane. After much arguing and explaining, I finally agreed to pay for an extra ticket to LAX. I was wondering how they would strap a Flight Case this large in even with the seatbelt extensions. I took it through security and everyone was fine, the TSA agent swabbed it and was very careful. Then, I boarded early and took my tuba on board and had three flight attendants struggling to strap it into a seat. Everyone else began to board and give me very dirty looks for causing such a hold up. After struggling with the case, they determined my flight case would not fit. The pilot came out and said it was illegal to fly it without being buckled down and they should just refund my ticket, charge me an oversize fee and put it under the plane. DUH!!! Once I got to LAX, the International people knew what to do and there was no more hassle. Moral of the story...I don't know, but flight cases are huge.
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