Saturday, January 5, 2013

Delta Airlines ruins vintage Gibson ES335 - Guitar Travel tips as well!!!

Yes, that is the remains of a Gibson 1965 ES-335 guitar case (total value ~ $10,000 USA) - The guitar probably doesn't look much better. Let me tell you a true story. A few years ago my buddy and I traveled to South [Seoul] Korea on United. His guitar almost didn't make it. It seems the guitar was transferred to Australia which is understandable because South Korea and Australia, ah, well, those two countries have similar names......Don't they? Well, we will never know the root cause and analysis is futile. The guitar (nice Heritage Guitar) finally showed up but not before my friend almost took a airline employee as a hostage! The reality, even insured, you would be lucky to recover $1000,00 USA currency. They have all sorts of limitations on reimbursing you for your ruined gear, reasons why you will not see but a fraction of the value of your instrument. Buy a ticket for your guitar or travel with a beater guitar!
You MUST USE A HARD CASE! Still a hard travel case might not have spared this instrument! Vintage guitars coupled to vintage cases = huge loss of personal revenue. Most people I work with use Workhorse cases.
Some suggestions and tips:
  • Don't expect to stow the guitar on the plane as a carry-on as it will not fit in most over head compartments. Don't expect the flight attendants to make room and supervise your expensive ax (just who do you think you are??? LOL).
  • Stuff it like a turkey, pack it and ship it. 
  • Nothing is certain except for uncertainty, death, taxes, and Donald Trump . Some guitars show up at the dealer ruined - be prepared for the worse and just be prepared!!! 
  • Hard cases that are cumbersome and difficult to manage are your best protection - Yes! It's a pain but the alternative is painful - Read to the bottom!!!!!!!!!!
  • Keep your vintage instruments at home - Travel with a decent alternative gig worthy instrument. One that will not make you cry if it's lost.
  • You must be prepared to lose your guitar if you check it. Thieves! Bulky makes stealing more difficult.
The following are some sources for travel duty cases (in no particular order):
Anvil Cases - I bought an Anvil in 1980. It's beat but works like new!
Case Xtreme
Case Xtreme heavy duty!
Work Horse Cases
Affordable Cases - All types of touring cases
SKB cases
Gator Cases
TKL cases - I own several.

It was a musician's worst nightmare.
At least that's how Dave Schneider, guitarist and singer for Hanukkah-themed rock band The LeeVees, described it when his guitar—a 1965 Gibson ES-335—got jammed in an elevator by baggage handlers at a Detroit airport.
Schneider was traveling with fellow LeeVees guitarist Adam Gardner from Portland, Maine, to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a gig last month at a conservative temple when their flight was diverted to Rochester, N.Y., due to bad weather, causing them to miss their connection in Philadelphia, Pa. They then drove to Buffalo, N.Y., to hop on a plane destined for Detroit, Mich., where they planned to make a connecting flight to Tampa, Fla.
While boarding in Buffalo, Schneider says he asked Delta staffers not to check in the vintage guitar—which he estimates is worth about $10,000—and allow him to carry it on the plane and place it in an available space, as he did on the flight from Portland.
"I've always carried it on," Schneider, who also tours as the lead singer of the hockey-themed rock group the Zambonis, told Yahoo News. "Never been a problem before."
Schneider says he even showed them a link to a story about Congress passing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that made it easier for musicians to fly with their instruments—allowing them to purchase an extra seat on the plane for their fragile instruments.
But he was denied.
When their plane landed in Detroit, Schneider says, "I had a bad feeling." He whipped out his iPhone and started filming.
As the pair of rockers waited at the gate for their checked guitars, Schneider asked a member of the flight crew to check on his prized ax as it was being removed from the plane. "He did and said it would be fine," Schneider recalled. But as the musicians waited for the luggage to appear, they could hear a screeching noise coming from the elevator.
"It was this crazy sound," Schneider said. "Metal on metal."
The case carrying Schneider's semihollow-body guitar was lodged between the mobile service elevator and a rail on the loading dock, shaking the elevator door. The case even bent a steel beam.
The guitar itself was pinned between two beams and took workers an hour to retrieve it. It sustained damage to the bridge, neck and tail that would cost an estimated $1,980. But so far, Schneider says, Delta has given him the "runaround."

He says the airline offered to cut him a check for $1,000 in Tampa, but Schneider refused it because he didn't know how much the repairs would cost. The online claim forms he filled out after the guitar carnage were blank when Schneider checked on them, and two emails he sent to Delta chief executive Richard Anderson were not returned.
Delta told Yahoo News that the airline "will be reaching out to the customer directly to discuss how we can make this right."
"This instance is certainly not indicative of the high regard we hold for our customers’ property when they travel with us, and for that, we apologize," Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to making a direct and sincere apology to the customer as we work with him to rectify what happened."
This is not the first time touring musicians have clashed with baggage handlers.
In 2009, Dave Carroll, a Canadian singer-songwriter, turned his experience with United Airlines into a music video ("United Breaks Guitars") that went viral and landed him a book deal.
Schneider, though, says he isn't looking for that kind of fame.
"I'm not a greedy dude," he said. "I'm just looking for $1,980."

MORE TRAVEL INFORMATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In 2003, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the American Federation of Musicians reached an agreement allowing airlines to treat guitars not only as checked baggage but also as carry-on items. Even so, flying with a guitar still poses a number of complications and risks for traveling musicians. Utilize some simple strategies to avoid problematic scenarios.

Policies and Measurements

The TSA recommends checking with airlines before booking flights to find out carriers' exact policies regarding instruments. Figure out your guitar's size, including the case, in linear inches. You can do this by taking the sum of your case's length, width and height dimensions, according to Taylor Guitars. So, for instance, a guitar case 20 inches long, 15 inches wide and 10 inches high would have a total size of 45 linear inches. Print out a copy of the airline's policy to take with you to the airport on the day of travel. This way you have proof of the facts if there is any hassle over your guitar's dimensions.

Guitars as Checked Baggage

You can always check your guitar as a baggage item, but this also puts your instrument at extra risk of damage and theft. Acoustic Guitar Magazine writer Kristina Rose suggests musicians check their guitars in baggage only if they are prepared to lose them. That does not mean you will necessarily lose your guitar, but you do have to be careful when it comes to rough treatment by luggage handlers and opportunistic thievery at the baggage claim carousel. Always pack your guitar in a sturdy case and head directly to baggage claim after your flight lands to make sure you can grab your guitar off the conveyor belt before anybody else does.
Gig Bags and Flight Cases
Ted Drozdowski of Gibson Guitars recommends purchasing a high-density foam reinforced gig bag with rigid panels if you plan on bringing your guitar as a carry-on. Features such as a backpack strap on the gig bag will also make carrying the guitar easier. Drozdowski also warns travelers not to use a gig bag when checking a guitar as baggage. Rather, passengers should invest in a heavy-duty flight case such as the steel-framed and reinforced cases sold by the Air Transportation Association. Budget bags and cases tend to offer far less protection than expensive gear, and it can be worth the extra cash to have your guitar arrive in one piece.

Extra Care

Acoustic Guitar Magazine recommends loosening the strings on the guitar, as shifts in air pressure at altitude can cause the headstocks and strings of tightly wound guitars to snap. You should also put some additional padding around the peghead. The peghead ranks as the most commonly damaged part of checked guitars, so stuffing extra padding around it is imperative.

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