Traveling with a Guitar? 7 Best Flying Cases For 2023

best-guitar-case-for-flying
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Flying with your beloved guitar for the first time can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. You might be wondering: Will my guitar be safe? Can I bring my guitar as carry-on luggage? Where will I stow my guitar if I carry it on? Rest assured, in this article, I’ll address all your concerns and provide valuable insights.

One thing you’ll need to fly with your guitar is a good, sturdy, lockable travel case. To ease your journey, I’ve scoured through a selection of the best guitar flight cases.

Whether you own a standard electric, an acoustic gem, or a bass powerhouse, I’ve tested and handpicked my favorites, tailored to different guitar types.

What Are The Best Guitar Cases For Flying?

When it comes to choosing guitar cases for air travel, we recommend prioritizing protection, durability and portability.

For acoustic guitars, we suggest the Gator Cases Molded Acoustic Case. Its rigid foam interior cradles the guitar while the tough polyethylene shell withstands bumps and scrapes.

For electric guitars, the Fender Deluxe Molded Electric Guitar Case stands out as our preferred choice. Fender, a renowned name in the guitar world, has crafted this case to perfectly fit their instruments. It offers exceptional protection and durability, ensuring that your beloved electric guitar arrives safely at your destination.

If classical music is your passion, the Crossrock Air Carbon 4/4 Classical Guitar Case is a standout option. It’s incredibly lightweight yet offers impressive protection thanks to its carbon fiber construction.

Based on my own experience traveling with guitars, here is a list of 7 top guitar cases for flying:

  1. Gator Cases Molded Acoustic Guitar Case (GTSA-GTRDREAD)
  2. SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3i-4217-18)
  3. Fender Deluxe Molded Electric Guitar Case
  4. ProRockGear Electric Guitar Case (RGM380TSA)
  5. Crossrock Air Carbon 4/4 classical Guitar Case
  6. Fender Deluxe Molded Jazz and Precision Bass Guitar Case
  7. ENKI AMG-2 Double Guitar Case

These recommendations cover different guitar types and are suitable for musicians who travel often by air. The goal is to help guitarists choose a case that will protect their instrument during flights, so it arrives safely in good condition, ready to play at their destination.

Review Of Best Guitar Case For Flying

Let’s dive into the top 7 flight guitar case reviews and find the ideal companion to keep your prized instrument safe and sound during your air travel.

1. Gator Cases GTSA-GTRDREAD: Best Flight Case For Acoustic Guitar

Top Choice (Acoustic)
Gator Molded Acoustic Flight Case
4.7

Gator Molded Acoustic Flight Case

Key Features:

  • Maximum protection for Dreadnought Acoustics
  • Military-grade outer shell 
  • EPS protective foam with black plush interior
  • TSA-approved locking center latch
  • Lighter than a hardshell case

I have to say, when it comes to flying with my acoustic guitar, the Gator Molded Guitar Case (GTSA-GTRDREAD) has been an absolute lifesaver. Soft cases are nice for casual outings, but for air travel, you need that extra protection, and this case delivers.

The solid construction and upgraded latches give me peace of mind knowing that my guitar is safe from any potential damage or loss while in transit. The heavy-duty polyethylene shell provides the perfect shield against external pressure, and the TSA approved locking system adds an extra layer of security.

Inside, the thick padding of EPS foam is covered with black plush that absorbs shocks and prevents any impact from reaching my precious instrument. The neck cradle ensures that the guitar stays securely in place, so there’s no wobbling during the journey.

Not only does it accommodate my dreadnought guitar perfectly, but the storage room is also generous enough to hold my guitar accessories like pedals, straps, and capos. The storage compartment even comes with a lid to keep everything neatly organized.

However, if you’re not specifically looking for the best acoustic guitar case, Gator offers a wide range of styles to suit electric, bass, and classical guitars too.

Best Fitting Models

The interior dimensions are: Body Length – 21.7″, Body Height – 5.7″, Lower Bout Width – 16.1″, Upper Bout Width – 12.8″, Overall Length – 41.7″. So, any dreadnought shaped acoustic guitar that fits within these dimensions would be the best fit for this case.

Who Should Buy This Case?

I highly recommend the Gator GTSA-GTRDREAD for anyone flying with an acoustic dreadnought guitar. It’s a fantastic investment for keeping your instrument safe and sound during your travels.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Musicians who don’t travel often or individuals with non-dreadnought shaped guitars.

Pros:

  • Perfectly fits dreadnought shape acoustic guitars.
  • Ergo-grip injection molded carry handle
  • Thick padding
  • TSA-approved locking system with 2 keys

Cons:

  • Lacks wheels or shoulder straps for (extra) convenient mobility
  • Some users may find the grip location causes balance issues when carrying the case with the guitar inside

2. SKB Case (3i-4217-18): Premium Acoustic Guitar Case For Flying

SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3I-4217-18)
4.6

SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3I-4217-18)

Key Features:

  • Designed to fit most acoustic guitars
  • Top quality injection molded manufacturing
  • TSA approved latches
  • Tough and sturdy

I had the chance to test out the SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3i-4217-18), and I must say, it’s a premium choice for those seeking top-notch protection for their precious guitars. My bandmate uses this case, and I was impressed with its features.

These cases are injection molded, and military-grade waterproof models made from superior quality polypropylene copolymer resin, featuring a gasket-sealed that’s water and dust-tight, in a submersible design.

SKB i-Series case is meant to offer maximum protection for your precious guitars. It’s resistant to UV, corrosion, solvents, fungus, and impact damage, making it one of the best hardshell acoustic guitar cases for a long-lasting investment.

One standout feature is the TSA-compatible latch system, ensuring easy and secure transportation. The handles are not only tough but also padded for comfortable carrying.

Attention to detail is where this brand stands out and its products have one of the longest service lives across the industry.

However, budget-conscious individuals might want to explore more affordable options like the previous Gator Cases.

Best Fitting Models

This case fits most standard dreadnought and orchestra-style acoustics.

Who Should Buy This Case?

Though it’s pricier than some alternatives, the SKB iSeries Case is worth every penny for serious musicians who prioritize maximum protection and durability. If you value top-notch craftsmanship and longevity, this hardshell acoustic guitar case is definitely a top pick.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Those with extra large or oddly shaped acoustic guitars. This case may not fit jumbo or small parlor size acoustic guitar.

Pros:

  • Great fit for most acoustic guitars
  • Waterproof, airtight and dustproof
  • TSA-approved latches
  • Built tough and durable for maximum impact protection
  • It has built-in wheels for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Super heavy
  • Expensive

3. Fender Deluxe Molded Electric Guitar Case: Top Level Travel Case

Best Choice (Electric)
Fender Deluxe Electric Guitar Case
4.6

Fender Deluxe Electric Guitar Case

Key Features:

  • Designed for Acoustasonic, Stratocaster or Telecaster
  • Rock-solid military-grade outer shell
  • EPS protective foam and polyester plush interior
  • Large interior center pocket for accessories
  • Rubberized feet on the hinged edge for stability

It’s no surprise that many musicians love the Fender Deluxe Molded Electric Guitar Case, especially for travel. This case is built tough with ATA-molded military-grade polyethylene, making it sturdy enough to handle the rigors of cargo.

Luckily with the best electric guitar case like this, you have some hope that your guitar will be protected against damage during air travel.

The TSA-approved locking latches keep everything secure, and the polyester plush interior with an extended reach protective neck cradle ensures a snug fit and shock resistance for your instrument.

Carrying the case is a breeze, thanks to its comfortable handle, and the rubberized feet on the hinged edge keep it stable when you need to place it on the ground.

However, if you don’t own one of the compatible guitars, you might want to consider the next option that suits your specific instrument.

Best Fitting Models

This case is compatible with various right-handed electric guitar styles, including Acoustasonic, Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars.

Who Should Buy This Case?

If you’re a traveling musician with one of the compatible guitar models, the Fender Deluxe Molded Case is a great investment for keeping your instrument safe and sound during your journeys.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Guitarists with instruments that won’t properly fit in the case like a Gibson Les Paul or ES-335 style guitar. This is a contoured case specifically for Fender’s traditional electric guitar body shapes.

Pros:

  • High-grade polyethylene outer shell
  • Rubberized feet
  • Plush-lined interior with a center pocket for storage
  • Comfortable handle

Cons:

  • Storage pocket located under guitar bed; inconvenient access to stored accessories

4. ProRockGear (RGM380TSA): Flight Case For Electric Guitar

ProRockGear Electric Guitar Case
4.5

ProRockGear Electric Guitar Case

Key Features:

  • Made of hard molded plastic
  • TSA-compliant trigger release latches
  • Lightweight and extremely durable
  • ABS feet and bumpers for stability and protection

My second choice for the top electric guitar flight case is the ProRockGear Electric Guitar Case (RGM380TSA). Constructed of tough reinforced molded plastic, this case features reinforced valance and protective corner bumpers.

An interior neck rest helps support your cherished guitar while en route and the ample interior storage facility can easily hold your strings, tuner, capo, and more. The ProRockGear RGM380TSA boasts TSA-approved latches and a handsome protective plush interior.

However, some users report experiencing slight instrument movement when carrying Strats and Telecasters in this case, so you may want to add a bit of extra padding before taking it on the road.

Best Fitting Models

The RGM380TSA accommodates nearly any standard Stratocaster-styled guitar or bass and some Tele, SG, and Les Paul.

Who Should Buy This Case?

Musicians who frequently travel, own standard-sized electric guitars and want a case that offers good protection and durability.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Guitarists primarily use non-standard or unusually shaped electric guitars that may not fit well in this type of standard-sized case.

Pros:

  • Quality case at a cheaper price.
  • Designed to fit a variety of guitars.
  • Large storage compartment.

Cons:

  • Storage compartment comes without a lid.

5. Crossrock Air Carbon 4/4 classical guitar case

Best for Classical Guitar
Crossrock Air Carbon (CRF6000CBK)
4.4

Crossrock Air Carbon (CRF6000CBK)

Key Features:

  • 100% pure carbon fiber outer shell
  • Rigid foam padding with silk-like blue lining
  • Alloy TSA-lock with heavy-duty metal latches
  • Only 5.5 lb net weight
  • Also, compatible with Martin 00-style acoustic guitar

If you are looking for a classical guitar case for air travel then you are at the end of your search.

It is light as air but strong as steel. It has a net weight of 6 pounds and is impact-resistant. Made out of 100% carbon fiber exterior with rigid foam padding and premium silk-like lining.

The easy latches come with a TSA lock and are sure to secure your guitar on your travels. It is also infused with the Crossrock signature designed genuine leather handle which is comfortable to grip.

Lastly, the deluxe backpack straps are comfortably padded to minimize the strain on your body. It also comes with a free protective cover which is padded as well.

Best Fitting Models

This Crossrock Air Carbon case is specially designed for your 4/4 size guitar. Brands like Yamaha, Cordoba, Kremona, etc. will fit great.

Who Should Buy This Case?

This case is highly recommended for those classical guitarists who value the safety of their instrument and are willing to invest in a high-quality expensive case.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

This case might not be the best choice for those who are on a tight budget, as it falls into the expensive category.

Pros:

  • Right length right size for carry-on guitars
  • Comfortable for you and the guitar
  • Built tough to protect from bruises and bumps
  • Decent foam padding

Cons:

  • Expensive

6. Fender Deluxe Molded Jazz and Precision: Top Bass Guitar Travel Case

Top Choice (Bass)
Fender Deluxe Molded Case for Electric Bass
4.7

Fender Deluxe Molded Case for Electric Bass

Key Features:

  • Fits most Fender electric basses
  • Military-grade polyethylene outer shell
  • EPS protective foam and polyester plush interior
  • TSA-approved locking center latch
  • Ergo-grip injection molded handle

Bass guitars are bigger and bulkier so traveling with them can be a bit more challenging, all the more finding the right case for them. Look no further as this Deluxe Case from Fender is molded and made specifically for your Fender Jazz and P basses. Travel or store them with style!

Its outer shell is made from advanced materials like molded polyethylene as per ATA specifications with a TSA-recognized center locking latch. Boasts a rock-solid military-grade shell with comfortable handles, and a high-grade plush interior lining.

Its center pocket also has more room for some other of your accessories. The rubberized feet will also ensure that your guitar inside the case will be stable enough in your travels. This case would really make life easier for bass players.

Best Fitting Models

This case is designed to fit Fender Jazz and Precision bass guitars.

Who Should Buy This Case?

Bass guitarists who own Fender Jazz or Precision Bass models and want a dedicated, high-quality case.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Those who do not own a Fender Jazz or Precision bass may not find this case suitable as it is custom-fit for these models.

Pros:

  • Military-grade protection for your guitar.
  • TSA-approved locking system.
  • Custom-fit for your Fender Jazz and P bass.
  • Easy to carry around.

Cons:

  • Water-proofing needs some improvement.

7. ENKI AMG-2: Best Double Guitar Case For Travel

Double Guitar Case
ENKI AMG-2 Double Guitar Case
4.4

ENKI AMG-2 Double Guitar Case

Key Features:

  • Double electric guitar case
  • Tough and lightweight Roto-Molded Polyethylene outer shell
  • Convertible design for standing guitars upright as a stage rack
  • Solid axle smooth glide wheels for easy transportation

The Enki AMG-2 case can carry not just one but two of your electric guitars. It promises to provide solid, and airline-safe protection for the working musician. It is perfect when you go on tours! The convenience and efficiency it brings would be surely beneficial.

The dual guitar hard case features superior toughness, it is lightweight and made of roto-molded polyethylene shell construction and at the same time, a custom-fitted EVA foam insert that securely encases the guitars.

The guitars can be horizontally or vertically accessed with the use of just a single latch. Not only that, but this AMG-2 also works as a guitar rack whenever needed, just make it stand vertically.

Its smooth-glide wheels plus the front and top handles make it easy to carry or move around too. This should be a great investment for the serious musician.

Best Fitting Models

The AMG-2 is designed to hold almost all electric guitar styles with its body width of up to 13 3/8 inches (340mm).

Who Should Buy This Case?

Guitarists who own two electric guitars and want to transport them together in a single, highly protective case.

Who Shouldn’t Buy?

Guitarists with one electric guitar who don’t require a double guitar case, and budget-conscious individuals who prefer affordable single guitar cases.

Pros:

  • Meant for 2 electric guitars
  • Travel efficient, best for touring musicians
  • Portable enough because of the wheels
  • Enough room for other stuff too
  • Can be used as a guitar rack

Cons:

  • Expensive price tag, targeted towards serious musicians
  • Lid size could be slightly larger for easier guitar access

Things To Consider When Choosing A Travel Guitar Case

When choosing guitar cases for flying, several important factors should be considered.

how to travel with a guitar

Firstly, opt for a sturdy and durable case with reliable latches and hinges to protect your guitar from potential damage during handling. Look for cases with ample padding and neck support to shield your guitar from impact and pressure changes.

A guitar case suitable for flying should have latches approved by the TSA, and if it features security closures, they should be TSA-approved locks. Ensure that the case fits within the airline’s carry-on size limits and complies with their regulations.

Lightweight cases are preferable to avoid exceeding weight limits. Also, consider features like wheels or backpack straps for ease of transport. Waterproof or weather-resistant cases are ideal for protecting your guitar from the elements.

US-Based Airlines and Their Guitar Carry-On Policies

According to US law, guitars and certain musical instruments are allowed as carry-ons on airplanes, as stated in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Here are the carry-on policies of popular US-based airlines for guitars:

Alaska Airlines: One musical instrument exceeding the standard size limit of 22x14x9 inches can be carried on board if it fits safely in the overhead compartment or under the seat.

American Airlines: Musical instruments are allowed as carry-on items but must be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the passenger.

can a guitar fit in an overhead bin

Delta Airlines: The carry-on bag size should not exceed 22x14x9 inches or 45 linear inches, except for small musical instruments that fit in the overhead or under-seat space.

JetBlue Airways: Small musical instruments can be stowed in the cabin’s overhead bin or under the seat, provided there is enough space during boarding. For large instruments, an extra seat must be purchased, and the instrument’s weight in its case should be under 165 pounds.

Southwest Airlines: Guitars in their cases can be taken as carry-on baggage, even if they exceed the size limit of 24x16x10 inches, given they fit in the overhead bin or under the seat during boarding.

Otherwise, an extra seat must be purchased. However, Southwest does not accept musical instruments in cases that exceed 150 linear inches or weigh over 165 pounds.

Always check with the specific airline for their latest policies to ensure a smooth travel experience with your guitar as carry-on luggage.

Also Read: How To Pack A Guitar For Air Travel

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Take My Guitar On As Hand Luggage?

Most standard electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and basses, which are within forty-five inches in length, width, or height, can be taken as hand luggage on planes. Airlines cannot charge you extra for carrying them aboard.

However, keep in mind that you might still need to check your guitar if there’s not enough storage space at boarding. To be sure, contact your airline to inquire about their specific policy, as some may have different rules regarding instrument carry-on.

Also, be prepared for airport security to inspect your guitar and case before your flight.

Will My Guitar Fit In The Overhead Bin?

Generally speaking, guitars do fit in overhead storage. Every airline has different specifications, so you should contact your airline ahead of time to verify the dimensions of their compartments.

Keep in mind, though, that a standard acoustic guitar case will take up nearly as much room as three normal-sized suitcases, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

Can I Take My Guitar On A Plane Without A Case?

Whether you stow your guitar beneath the seat in front of you, in the overhead storage compartment, or buy it a seat on the plane beside you, it must be in a case. The Department of Transportation, the TSA, and federal law all require guitars to be kept in cases during the duration of any public flight.

Ostensibly, this rule protects fellow passengers from accidental injury, but it also protects your valuable instrument in the case of turbulence or other jostling.

How Much Does It Cost To Fly With A Guitar?

How much it will cost you to fly with your guitar depends on how you plan to stow it. When flying with a guitar, bringing it as carry-on luggage is usually free. However, if you check it as baggage, the airline’s standard fees will apply, which vary by airline.

Purchasing an extra seat, like Eric Clapton is reputed to do so, for your guitar is another option, but it comes at the regular price, with no discounts. Always check the airline’s rates in advance to be prepared.

What If Your Guitar Is Damaged During The Flight?

If your guitar gets damaged during a flight, contact your home or renters insurance, as some policies cover damage worldwide. To ensure better protection, talk to your agent about purchasing a special rider for it; by “scheduling” the guitar into your policy.

Alternatively, you can opt for flight insurance, but be aware that vintage guitars may not receive sufficient reimbursement if damaged.

About the Author

guitar teacher
Music Teacher

Gustavo is a music teacher and classical guitar player from Brazil, currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. He holds a graduate degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Federal University of Pelotas. In 2020, Gustavo successfully completed a Master's degree in Sound Engineering from the Academy of Sound in Ireland.

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