Flying With a Musical Instrument Part 2: Advice for the Day Of

flying with a musical instrument

Now that we fully understand how to be prepared when flying with a musical instrument, it’s time to take a closer look at the actual day of travel. It is important to consider the best airlines for transporting instruments and Department of Transportation guidelines when flying with an instrument. In this second part of her two-part series, Donna discusses just that.


Common Advice When Flying With Your Musical Instrument

  • Before traveling, it is important to know the carry-on luggage dimensions. For most airlines, they are approximately 22″ x 14″ x 9″ or 56 x 35 x 23cm.
  • Be sure to purchase priority or early boarding to ensure that you have the opportunity to get your instrument in the overheads while they are still relatively empty. If your instrument can fit in the overheads, storage is on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • Many airlines will not assume liability if your instrument is in a soft case.
  • Many airlines will not assume any liability at all for fragile items such as musical instruments.


Donna makes some really important points here. First and foremost, you want to check to see if your instrument will fit in the overhead bins. If it does, take it as a carry-on as it is much less likely to get damaged here than if it was placed under the plane with the other luggage. She also suggests bringing a measuring tape, just for proof at the airport.

Early boarding is also a great idea as you will get first dibs on the overhead compartments. Also be sure to always remember that airlines won’t be held liable for any damage done to an instrument if it is in a soft case, or simply because it is considered a fragile item. If you are curious about insurance coverage for your instrument, please view the first article in this series here.

Donna Schwartz is a professional musician, educator, speaker and podcast host in the Los Angeles area. She teaches online courses for Jazz Improvisation, Getting a Killer Saxophone Tone, Practicing Smarter and many more. You can contact Donna on her website,

To learn all of Donna’s tips on the day of the flight, or to view a list of the best airlines for musicians, please view the original article at

Be sure to check out Donna’s first article in this series: Flying With Your Musical Instrument Part 1: Be Prepared

Cassidy is the Digital Marketing Manager at Making Music and has recently begun her career in the music industry. In May 2017, she graduated from the Crane School of Music with a double degree in Music Business and Music Theory. Upon graduating college, Cassidy did an internship with DANSR, Inc. in Illinois before moving to Southern California where she was the NAMM intern for six months. Her favorite instrument is the clarinet, but she also enjoys dabbling with guitar, piano, ukulele, saxophone, and flute.

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