Airline drops extra fees for large instruments

It appears that American Airlines has dropped its excess baggage charge for checked-in musical instruments.

You used to have to pay $150 for a tuba or a doublebass.

Now, it’s free.

(No guarantee, of course, that it will arrive in one piece.)

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  • Not so sure about the double bass being free. A bass in a hard flight case usually exceeds the weight that airlines are willing to accept at all. That’s in contrast to, say, a tuba or bass saxophone, which they would accept for an over-weight charge (now apparently free at American).

    • I’ve handled both. A double bass in a modern flight case is much lighter than my orchestral tuba in a flight case, which is 31.9 kg.The bass is bulkier and more awkward, but not as heavy.

      • It’s true that bass cases are getting lighter. The older David Gage (the best known bass-case supplier) cases are 31 kilos empty. A bass weighs about 10 kilos. The total of 41 kilos is over most airlines’ limit. His newer case is 27 kilos, with bass 37 kilos, still overweight. He also makes a “feather weight” case at 22 kilos, for a 32 kilo total. That might be accepted.

  • Isn’t it just a tad hard on AA, which company now finally is doing something good for musicians, that last sentence? Why take away from the good they’re doing with a sneer like that? There is no guarantee with any airline that things don’t get damaged, paid passage or not, so why single out AA here?

  • A double flight case (like a Matryoshka Russian doll) is the way I check my cello into the baggage compartment and there is never a problem. The whole thing weighs 12 kilograms and I am so happy to walk through security unencumbered. (I travel with a modern instrument.)

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