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 traveling!

    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.