I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiries; both Aaron and I want to ensure that we respond to any questions in a manner that is both concise and complete.
First, we'd like to address the idea of a case that would be under the 62 linear inches size requirement for checking a bag. Such a thing is not possible with a 6/4 tuba, even if the bell were converted to a screw top. Without a bell, the body of the MW 6450 6/4 CC tuba measures 30 x 22 x 14, for a total of 66 linear inches. Add a minimum of 1 inch of padding on each side and the total becomes 72 linear inches. The body of a 6/4 Nirschl is similar, though a bit slimmer around the waste at 30 x 19 x 14. In fact, a case under 62 linear inches would not be possible for a MW 2250 F tuba with the bell removed: 32 x 18 x 10 = 60 linear inches, add an inch of padding on each side = 66 linear inches.
This is important because it shows that it is not possible to have a hard shell case for a 6/4 tuba that is not technically oversized. Of the hard shell 6/4 cases that are currently available and intended for flight protection, the Accord Case is the smallest, lightest, and strongest
. What this means is that you are guaranteed
to not pay overweight fees and you have an excellent chance to not pay oversize fees, all while giving your tuba the best protection money can buy. Even if you do pay oversize fees on every trip you take (highly unlikely), you will still save money over checking a larger, overweight case:
With a Unitec, Walt Johnson or MTS Vault Case:
, and Delta
$200 over 70 lbs + $200 oversize = $400 one way / $800 round trip
USA TO EUROPE
American, Delta, Air France
: Over 70 lbs = not accepted
United: $400 over 70 lbs + $200 oversize = $600 one way / $1200 roundtrip
: $400 musical instrument over 32 kg = $400 one way / $800 roundtrip (Lufthansa will charge you either for oversize or overweight, but won't "stack" the fees)
Assuming you fly United for four domestic round trips (4 x $800) and one international trip ($1200), you will pay $4400 in oversize and overweight bag fees.
Buying a seat for your tuba:
Assuming you buy a seat for your instrument and fly four domestic round trips at an average price of $400 per extra ticket plus a $1200 round trip to Europe, you will pay $2600 in extra ticket costs.
With an Accord Case:
HIGHLY LIKELY SCENARIO (and mine and Aaron's experience thus far):
The case with tuba inside weighs under 50 lbs and the counter agent doesn't notice it's over 62 linear inches. (The Accord 4/4 case is 78 linear inches; the 6/4 is estimated to be 85 linear inches.)
Assuming you fly American for four domestic round trips and one international trip, you will pay $0 in overweight and oversize fees.
The case with tuba inside weights under 50 lbs, but you get charged a fee for oversize twice: once on your way to a domestic audition and another time coming home from visiting your parents.
Assuming you fly on American for four domestic round trips and one international trip, you pay $0 in overweight and $400 in oversize fees.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (highly unlikely):
The case with tuba inside weighs under 50 lbs, but you get charged a fee for oversize every darn time you fly.
Delta, American: $0 each way overweight, $200 each way oversize = $400 roundtrip
United: $0 each way overweight, $0 each way oversize = $0 roundtrip (United does not charge an additional fee for musical instrument cases under 90 linear inches
USA TO EUROPE
American: $0 each way overweight, $150 each way oversize = $300 roundtrip
Delta: $0 each way overweight, $175 each way oversize = $350 roundtrip
United: $0 each way overweight, $0 each way oversize = $0 roundtrip (same as above
Lufthansa, Air France: $0 each way overweight, $300 each way oversize = $600 roundtrip
Assuming you fly American for four domestic round trips (4 x $400) and one international trip ($300), you will pay $1900 in oversize and overweight bag fees.
Assuming you fly United for four domestic round trips and one international trip, you will pay $0 in oversize and overweight fees.
So, even given the worst case scenario: with an Accord Case you will save $2500
in baggage fees over an overweight case and $700
over buying a seat for your tuba. That's just in the span of one international and four domestic trips. And that's the worst case scenario - imagine the money that the case will save you over a lifetime! Oh wait, you don't have to because Ben stated it earlier: since 2011, he's saved $5000
in fees. His Accord Case has paid for itself more than twice in the past three years. (To give you an idea of what I've saved, I average 20 domestic round trips per year and I received my cases in 2008... you do the math.
Finally, if you really want avoid any and all risk paying oversize fees with an Accord Case, fly United
For instructions on ordering an Accord Case, please see this post
Please let me know via PM or posting here if you have any additional questions!