Travel with my bass international

Hi, everyone.
I’m going to travel for around 18 hours on a plane at May. I’m thinking about getting a hard case for my bass such as a Gator GTSA-GTRBASS. In case if I have to check it in. I would like know if that Gator is able to protect my bass, or if there are any better solutions.
Thank you!


A hardshell Gator or SKB case should do the trick nicely. Both brands are highly rated. The model you linked looks good. I haven’t travelled with a bass in a long time though. Not sure about the latest rules on this in regards to anti-terrorism and such. Not sure if you have brazilian rosewood or not, but luckily CITES law has changed recently and guitars are excluded now.

One last thing, if you have any weird shaped basses then a standard case may not work. If it’s the normal Jazz Bass or Precision Bass shape then you shouldn’t have an issue. If it’s something different then measure your bass and check the case dimensions before purchasing.


I have a Gator and this thing is built like a tank


That thing looks like you could roll it down a flight of stairs and have it be just fine.

Which, if you are flying through the US, might be something you want to plan for.


For what it’s worth: if you watch vlogs of some professional bass players (OK, I only watched a few of Janek Gwizdala’s vlogs), they seem to travel with gigbags and take their basses inside the cabin (even for international travel). Somehow, I would try and do the same (were I to travel with my bass), as the feeling of it being handled during loading and unloading would be a bit unsettling… (there are some “hilarious” videos of how suitcases are treated on their way in and out of airplanes)! Good luck!


Ah, didn’t realize you had a link in there - thought it was a stern warning in red/orange :sweat_smile:


True true true! And sometimes you really have to fight for your right to have it in the cabin. Musical instruments (up to a certain size) are allowed as carry-on. A bass in a gig bag will fit.
Pro-tip - as you’re boarding, sling it on your back with the neck angling DOWN toward your feet. If you have it over your shoulder looking like a giant, extra-tall, space-taker-upper, they’re more likely to hassle you.

I’ve traveled both ways. My upright had to be checked each time, and it was in a less-sturdy hard case, and it survived 4 years of international and national touring. Gotta roll the dice each time though. Scary.

It’s worth measuring the hard case. If it’s over… I think 60"? 90"? (someone check me on this) in perimeter (all 3 dimensions) they can legitimately charge oversize fees which can be up to $200 one way. Not fun. You can usually sneak through but that’s another bullet you want to not be dodging if you can help it.


This is a tricky one! In my medium-amount of experience, airlines are unpredictable. Sometimes you can carry on. Sometimes you can’t and have to gate check. My solution is to use a nice padded gig bag (MONO), and cross my fingers if I have to gate check it.

And try not to travel with anything I care about too much.


I fly a lot for work and I always travel with an instument (guitar, bass or CBG) in a soft or semi-hard case. I’ve always been able to take it as carry-on… except on one Lufthansa flight from from Venice to Frankfort.

It was my beautiful new baby, less than 2 months old, a classical guitar I had converted to steel strings… and they informed me that I could not carry it on (small plane) and that it could not be checked as luggage unless it was in a hard case (insurance liability). Of course I only had a little time to get to my gate and there is nowhere to buy a hardshell case in the Venice airport… :frowning: … so I ended up taking it to the airport police station and, it being late November, I asked them to find a child to give it to for Christmas. I really hope they did… my misfortune might produce Italy’s next blues guitar superstar. :slight_smile:

But oh how I miss you…


I’m always suffering because of that. I travel extensively inside Germany and I’ve only taken my basses when traveling by train, when it was always stress-free. I never flew with them, though; I own a fender hard case and a gig bag, so I’m always in doubt whether I should check the hard case one and hope they treat it right or bring it in the gig bag as carry on and hope they don’t bother me with its size.

I’ve used Easy Jet a lot recently and they are a pain in the ass with carry on in general, so I’d be expecting to be bothered. I’m going to write to some companies - at least the European ones - to try to clarify the best procedure and will come back here to share their answers.


Thanks!! This info will be more valuable than gold.


I’ve not traveled extensively with instruments but I’ve heard peoples experiences can be very variable once they get to the gate. Seemingly can depend a lot on how busy the flight is, mood of the flight crew-member etc.

I’ve successfully put a guitar in the overhead locker with no case! I’ve been forced to check a violin in a semi-hard case - it got crushed. One more reason I don’t do Ryanair when back in EU.

I don’t have any particularly valuable instruments so I’ve decided on doing beefy hard-case, check and forget!


I travel between Canada and Germany every two years or so. I take the neck off my bass and pack it in a back pack. It has always been able to travel in the cabin with me. I put a sock on the headstock to protect it while walking through the Iceland airport. I had visitors quite quickly. Leave the headstock open to see and I don’t have visitors (airport security). The x-ray people have told me to expect to have the neck checked every time since their machine is programmed in such a way that it will never pass automatic inspection.! Here is an article I found on taking guitars on planes. Namaste, Kevin Tough