A Guide to Air Travel

Flying with musical instruments

Air travel with instruments can be a very stressful experience for many musicians. Confusing policies and contradicting behaviour from many of the most popular airlines means that every trip is a guessing game.

At MyLuthier, we have experienced our share of pain trying to carry our instruments on board so we decided to compile a list of official airline baggage policies regarding musical instruments.
While most airlines have clear rules regarding what you can or cannot take on board (including measurements and weight limits), some do not, so it’s best to always check directly with the airline before traveling.

To make this list even more useful, if you have travelled with some of these companies in the past, feel free to rate your experience and let other users know what to expect!
Our goal is to find out which airlines are the most musician-friendly, both in terms of baggage policy and overall customer experience.

Please note that this list only includes official policies extracted from the companies’ official websites. It’s possible that some travellers have managed to bring larger or heavier items than specified, but this should not be taken as a guarantee for future travel! It’s always best to stick to the specified guidelines to avoid disappointment!

Before you travel

If your musical instrument is not insured – INSURE IT NOW – even if you’re not planning on travel!

Make sure your insurance policy provides worldwide cover, or the country you’re flying to is specifically mentioned.
Also note that some insurance providers state worldwide cover while excluding particular countries in the fine print (Iraq and Afghanistan are a common example).

It might sound obvious but always make sure your instrument is properly packed before even getting to the airport! This is especially important if you’re on tour or fly regularly, as the constant travel might inadvertently make you pack less carefully.

Only check-in cellos as hold baggage if they’re packed in a flight case! If not, it’s always best to buy an extra seat, but if for some reason the airline insists that your cello needs to be taken in the hold, DON’T DO IT – regardless of any assurances they might try to give you.
Sometimes is best to book another flight than to risk destroying your instrument.

Always call the airline before booking. While some airlines specifically mention double basses in their hold luggage policies, most do not, so it’s best to check before you even purchase your own ticket.

List of Airlines

air travel with instruments
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggade up to 48x33x20 cm

CELLO
Extra seat required. Must be booked under instrument name (CELLO/ONE Ms)

DOUBLE BASS
Special handling fee applies. Contact customer service before booking.

ADDITIONAL INFO
When booking an extra seat, check in at the airport rather than online.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage – provided it fits in overhead locker or under seat.

CELLO
Extra seat required. 50% discount will be applied. Contact customer service for more information

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
String instruments can be carried on board even if dimensions slightly exceed carry-on sixe requirements.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Baggage smaller than 115cm

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Contact customer service at least 48h before departure.

DOUBLE BASS
Accepted in the hold with prior approval from customer service. Contact at least 48h before departure.

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggade up to 40x20x55 cm

CELLO
Extra seat required and subject to Air Serbia approval. At the time of booking your ticket, inform the airline of type, weight and dimensions of instrument.

DOUBLE BASS
When the sum of the dimensions of the casing holding the musical instrument exceeds 203 cm, the instrument will require Air Serbia approval.

ADDITIONAL INFO
Transport of musical instruments requires Air Serbia approval. They recommend purchasing an extra seat for instruments such as cellos, violas and violins.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Small musical instruments may count as your one carry-on bag and may exceed the standard carry-on dimensions, as long as they can be safely accommodated in a proper stowage compartment in the cabin of the aircraft

CELLO
Extra seat required. In order to safely transport your cabin seat baggage, Alaska Airlines requests that you make reservations as early as possible

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked in hold. Extra fees apply depending on size and weight of the item. Check official policy page for more info on fees.

ADDITIONAL INFO
Cabin seat baggage is charged 100% of the applicable adult base fare, plus 6.25% cargo tax. You can earn Mileage Plan™ miles for both your seat and for the cabin seat baggage seat.
air travel with instruments
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Baggage up to 115cm, as part of allowance.

CELLO
Extra seat required – book through call centre at least 48 hours before departure

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
Light fare ticket not available for Extra Seat purchase
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Baggage provided it fits in the overhead bin or under seat

CELLO
Extra seat required – contact customer service for more information

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked as hold baggage. Max weight 75kg (165lbs.) Check policy page for more info.

ADDITIONAL INFO
Accidental damage cover for checked instruments provided they are packed in a hard-sided case.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage up to 80 x 30 x 25cm.

CELLO
Extra seat required. Contact customer service to purchase seat.

DOUBLE BASS
Must be checked as hold luggage and extra charges may apply. Contact customer service at least 24h before the flight

ADDITIONAL INFO
air travel with instruments
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage as part of allowance

CELLO
Extra seat required. Contact Service Centre to purchase seat.

DOUBLE BASS
Transported in the hold. Contact Service Centre before booking.

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Violins and other small instruments will be accepted as your free carry-on baggage item

CELLO
Extra seat required to be purchased at full fare

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked as hold baggage. Max weight 75 kg (165 lbs.) and total dimension doesn’t exceed 381 cm (150 inches)  Check policy page for more info.

ADDITIONAL INFO
 Small musical instruments may be gate claimed at the discretion of the passenger and as a result of limited overhead space
air travel with instruments
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage up to 30cm x 120cm x 38cm, subject to available space

CELLO
Extra seat required.
Book additional seat with the name MR SEAT CELLO

DOUBLE BASS
Must be checked in as Hold Luggage, subject to payment of the baggage fee, and cannot weigh more than 32kg.

ADDITIONAL INFO
Only one item of hand baggage allowed (including instrument)
VIOLIN/VIOLA
There is no special free baggage allowance for the carriage of musical instruments. Size limitations: 55  38  20 centimeters. Extra seat required

CELLO
Extra seat required

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
If you have any questions regarding a musical instrument with which you intend to travel on an Emirates flight, please contact your local Emirates office
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Can be carried as part of your cabin baggage allowance

CELLO
Extra seat required

DOUBLE BASS
Must be checked in the hold. Subject to excess baggage allowance charges

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage – no larger than a guitar

CELLO
Extra seat required.

DOUBLE BASS
Double basses must be transported in a hard case and checked in as luggage.

ADDITIONAL INFO
If you book an extra seat via telephone before midnight on the same day as you book your flight, the extra seat will cost the same as your own seat and there will be no extra charge. If an extra seat is added later, it will be charged at the current flight price as shown on the Internet.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage – no larger than 125cm (width + length + height)

CELLO
Extra seat required. Contact by phone to make a booking

DOUBLE BASS
Larger musical instruments up to 32 kg and/or 190 cm x 75 cm x 65 cm can be carried for an additional heavy bag charge. Heavier instruments may be accepted with a prior approval.

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage – no larger than 30x120x38 cm

CELLO
Extra seat required. Contact Iberia Bookings Centre.

DOUBLE BASS
The maximum measurements allowed for checked-in musical instruments are 190 x 75 x 65 cm with a maximum weight of 23 kg.

ADDITIONAL INFO
For short-haul and medium-haul flights, a single fee of €45* in each direction applies, regardless of the luggage allowance.
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Policy unclear – contact airline before booking

CELLO
Policy unclear – contact airline before booking

DOUBLE BASS
Policy unclear – contact airline before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
Excess Baggage fee between £33 -£46 will be charged
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hang baggage up to 56x45x25cm and weighing less than 10kg. Slightly larger instruments might be allowed depending on overhead locker availability

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Booking process unclear, contact customer service before purchasing a ticket

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
A musical instrument is allowed in place of one carry-on item, provided it can be stowed properly under the seat or in an overhead bin

CELLO
Extra Seat required

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked-in and will count as part of the customers baggage allowance. There is no oversize or overweight fee for musical instruments, as long as they do not exceed 150 linear inches (381 cm), 165 pounds (75 kg) or the applicable size or weight restrictions for the aircraft

ADDITIONAL INFO
Please note that these instruments must be packed in a hard-sided case and that JetBlue is not responsible for damage to baggage carried in the cabin or as checked baggage if it’s not packed properly
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Baggage as part of your hand baggage allowance

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Must be booked in advance through KLM Telephone Reservations

DOUBLE BASS
Contact KLM Telephone reservations at least 48h before departure.

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage up to 55 x 40 x 23 cm, max. 8 kg

CELLO
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before purchasing tickets

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
Unclear musical instrument policy
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage up to 90 x 35 x 20 cm

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Book through contact centre at least 48h before departure

DOUBLE BASS
Call contact Centre at least 48h before departure. Max 2 per flight

ADDITIONAL INFO
Musical instrument charge between 33 – 52 GBP may apply
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand baggage up to  142cm (56in) = 85cm (34in) +34cm (13in) +23cm (9in).

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Contact customer service

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Extra Seat Required

CELLO
Cello Not mentioned in terms and conditions and baggage policy

DOUBLE BASS
Doublebass not mentioned in baggage policy

ADDITIONAL INFO
 Notoriously unfriendly towards musicians. Avoid booking if possible!
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Unclear – hand baggage allowance up to 55 x 40 x 23 cm

CELLO
Extra seat required – Book through SAS Customer Contact Centre

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked in the hold. Must be registered prior to departure

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Small instruments can be carried onboard if they will fit in an overhead bin or under a seat onboard the aircraft and there is space available when you board the aircraft

CELLO
Official policy states that cellos cannot be secured in a seat and must be transported as checked baggage

DOUBLE BASS
Can be checked in the hold. Oversize or overweight charges will apply if the instrument is between 62-150 inches (157-381 cm) in size or if the instrument weighs between 51-165 pounds (23-75 kgs)

ADDITIONAL INFO
 For instruments booked on an extra seat, reservations must be made and a ticket must be purchased at a charge no greater than the Child’s Fare
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Extra seat required – contact customer services

CELLO
Extra seat required – contact customer services

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Extra seat required – contact customer services

CELLO
Extra seat required – contact customer services

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Luggage up to 25 x 117 x 38 cm

CELLO
Extra seat required – contact service centre to book ticket

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact service centre before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Luggage up to 118cm

CELLO
Carry-on luggage up to 140 x 42 x 25 cm. Contact customer services at least 48h before the flight.

DOUBLE BASS
Transported in cargo hold and not loaded onto conveyor belt at check in. Contact costumer services before booking.

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Luggage – provided it can fit in the overhead locker or under seat.

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Contact customer services before booking.

DOUBLE BASS
Overweight charges apply for instruments over 50 pounds (22kg)

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Hand Luggage up to 23 x 36 x 56cm

CELLO
Extra Seat required. Contact customer services before booking.

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Extra Seat Required- Book through Customer Services Centre

CELLO
Extra Seat Required- Book through Customer Services Centre

DOUBLE BASS
Not mentioned in baggage policy. Contact customer service before booking

ADDITIONAL INFO
VIOLIN/VIOLA
Free Hand Luggage up to 42 x 32 x 25 cm. Or 90 x 35 x 20 cm at an additional charge

CELLO
Extra Seat Required- Book through Customer Service Call Centre

DOUBLE BASS
Check-in baggage subject to additional fees.

ADDITIONAL INFO

NOTE: While we make every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date information, always check the airline’s official website before traveling. MyLuthier is not liable for any charges or damages occurred as a result of the information provided on this page.