The airport authority is not concerned with how precious your guitar is to you and how you dread to part from it, so flying with one may require you to consider having the best guitar case for flying before boarding the plane.
Just as the airport authority can check your luggage, they can do the same with your guitar and may not let you carry it into the cabin. So besides prepping yourself mentally for the wild separation anxiety attack, you will also have to focus on how you can give your instrument a fighting chance when chugged around like common luggage.
We definitely recommend that you always invest in a durable casing, rather than find a cheap substitute as it will serve you longer while providing better protection against any damage from whatever the journey may have in store for your guitar.
If you are not sure of where to start your search or don’t have much knowledge on the kind of guitar cases available then this post should provide you with all the information you need to know about the best guitar cases for air travel and how to safely fly with a guitar.
Top 7 Best Guitar Case For Flying
- Gator Cases Acoustic Dreadnought Guitar Case (GTSA-GTRDREAD)
- Fender Deluxe Molder Stratocaster- Telecaster Electric Guitar Case
- Crossrock Air Carbon 4/4 classical guitar case, 100% carbon fiber (CRF6000CBK)
- SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3i-4217-18)
- ENKI AMG-2 Guitar Case (Black)
- SKB 62 Jaguar Jazzmaster Style Electric Guitar Case
- Fender Deluxe Molded Jazz and Precision Electric Bass Guitar Case
Our Flight Case Recommendation
Review of Guitar Flight Case for Air Travel
1. Gator Cases Acoustic Dreadnought Guitar Case (GTSA-GTRDREAD)
While soft guitar cases are great for portability and are very comfortable to carry around, there is no denying that the best guitar case for flying is those with hard exteriors.
The Gator Guitar Case (GTSA-GTRDREAD) comes with solid construction and upgraded latches for the best protection against any damage or loss you can think of when checking in your guitar at the airport.
We choose these gator guitar cases as the best acoustic guitar case for a number of other reasons which you will find out below.
The shell is made of strong and heavy-duty polyethylene which is exactly what you need to shield your valuable instrument from exterior pressure while the latches ensure that the guitar is safe inside the case.
TSA approved locking and the non-locking system is the way to go when you need that extra assurance while parting with your guitar at the airport. The locks are easy to work with so you can check up on the contents in a matter of seconds.
The interior of the case includes heavy padding of EPS foam covered with black plush that absorbs shock and prevents any impact from reaching the guitar. The padding is thick enough to cushion the guitar and stop it from wobbling inside.
Furthermore, there is a neck cradle to secure the guitar.
You can also throw in other items such as guitar pedals, straps, capos, and other guitar accessories as there is a decent amount of storage space within the case. The storage compartment comes with a lid to ensure that the contents remain in place.
If you are not looking for the best acoustic guitar case then different styles of Gator guitar cases can be found for electric, bass, and even for classical guitars.
- Perfectly fits dreadnought shaped acoustic guitars.
- Ergo-grip injection molded carry handle.
- Thick padding.
- TSA approved locking system with 2 keys.
- Some buyers mentioned that the body of the guitar sits too low and the neck sticks out to the top of the case. This may be a concern for some who feel that this flaw in design could harm the guitar while gate-checking it during a flight.
2. Fender Deluxe Molder Stratocaster- Telecaster Electric Guitar Case
By now you probably get the idea that cases with hard outer shells are better suited for cargo and our next product which is the Fender Deluxe Molder Electric Guitar Case is already a favorite among many traveling musicians.
Of course, just having a hard exterior is not the only trait that’s important the material needs to be durable and strong enough to hold up against any force and for that reason, this Fender case is constructed out of ATA molded military-grade polyethylene.
The TSA-approved locking center latch keeps all the contents safe inside while the polyester plush interior with extended reach protective neck cradle ensures a proper fit and resistance from shock for your instrument.
The comfortable handle enables easy transportation while rubberized feet on the hinged edge make it possible for you to keep the case upright and balanced on the ground.
As you check in your precious guitar you can only hope that the airport staff are careful in handling the instrument but let’s face it, not everyone will take care of it like it is their baby so it is up to you to take all prior precautions.
Luckily with the best electric guitar case like this, you have some hope that your guitar will be protected against damage.
- High-grade polyethylene outer shell.
- TSA-approved locking system.
- Rubberized feet.
- Plush lined interior with a center pocket for storage.
- The storage pocket is placed under the guitar bed that requires you to lift the guitar up to access any stored accessory underneath.
3. Crossrock Air Carbon 4/4 classical guitar case
If you are looking for the best classical guitar case for air travel then you are at the end of your search. This Crossrock classical guitar flight case is specially designed for your 4/4 size guitar.
It is light as air but strong as steel. It has a net weight of 5 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 the 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.
- Right length right size for carry-on guitars.
- Comfortable for you and the guitar.
- Built tough to protect from bruises and bumps.
- TSA approves locks and latches.
- Decent foam padding.
4. SKB Acoustic Guitar Case (3i-4217-18)
These SKB iSeries 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.
This SKB acoustic guitar flight case is meant to offer maximum protection for your precious guitars. It comes in multiple sizes plus configurations and offers a lifetime warranty.
Other standard features include a molded-in hinge, comfortable rubber over-molded snap-down cushion grip handles, a patented release trigger latch system, an automatic ambient pressure equalization valve, and the case is resistant to UV, corrosion, solvents, fungus, and impact damage.
These components won’t only make it durable but at the same time make it last for a very long while. So, right now this is the best hardshell acoustic guitar case in the market.
As we all know, latches or locks are important and that’s exactly where this model stands out. This iSeries case features a patented latch system, signature to SKB. The latch system is TSA compatible and approved.
Since you’re going to carry it a lot it should have not only durable but comfortable handles. The handles on this case are extra tough and it features comfortable padded handles.
Attention to detail is where this brand stands out and its products have one of the longest service lives across the industry.
- Great fit for most acoustic guitars.
- TSA-approved latches.
- Quality injection molding.
- Built tough and durable.
- Maximum impact protection for your instrument.
- Super heavy but not because it should be but because of a design flaw.
5. ENKI AMG-2 Guitar Case
The Enki AMG-2 guitar 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 AMG-2 is also designed to hold almost all electric guitar styles with its body width of up to 13 3/8 inches (340mm). 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.
- Meant for 2 electric guitars.
- Travel efficient.
- Best for touring musicians.
- Portable enough because of the wheels and weight.
- Enough room for other stuff too.
- Can be a bit expensive but then again it’s meant for serious musicians.
6. SKB 62 Jaguar Jazzmaster Style Electric Guitar Case
The SKB62 is designed exclusively for Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster style electric guitars.
This SKB 62 electric guitar travel case comes in a rectangular shape and sports a hard shell made of durable proprietary rubber-modified styrene. The exterior is also contoured with stacking ribs that double up the strength and power to withstand heavyweight and force.
Fiberglass reinforced TSA locking trigger latches protect your guitar and all the contents inside the case from theft and other possible harm. The TSA-approved lock system is secure yet easy to use by the owner so you can always do a last-minute check at the airport. Due to the TSA lock system, airport security personnel can also perform an easy inspection of your case without breaking the lock.
For the best support and accurate fitting, the interior of the 1SKB62 is equipped with thick EPS (Expanded polystyrene). Once you lay your guitar inside, the plush-lined insert will firmly grip the instrument and prevent any movement.
After you have placed the guitar inside and secured the locks, you can easily carry the case to the point of gate-check-in by gripping on to the ergonomically designed cushioned rubber over-molded handle. The positioning of the handle is just right to ensure stability during transportation by hand.
- Stacking wells on the exterior.
- Thick padding for secured fit and protection against impact.
- Includes a storage compartment.
- Can fit some other brand guitar except Fender if body size matched its specs.
- It is molded to fit right-handed guitars only.
7. Fender Deluxe Molded Jazz and Precision Electric Bass Guitar Case
Bass guitars are bigger and bulkier so traveling with them can be a bit more challenging, all the more finding the right case for it. Look no further as this Fender deluxe electric bass guitar case is molded and made specifically for your Fender Jazz and P basses. Travel or store them with style!
Its outer shell made from advanced materials like molded polyethylene as per ATA specifications with a TSA recognized center locking latch. Boasts 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 case would be stable enough in your travels. This case would really make life easier for bass players.
- Military-grade protection for your guitar.
- TSA approved guitar case.
- Custom-fit for your Fender Jazz and P bass.
- Easy to carry around.
- Water-proofing needs some improvement.
How to Travel with Guitar on Airplane?
There are many things you can do to ensure that traveling with your instrument or flying with a guitar isn’t all that complicated or nerve-wracking.
If you are lucky and can stash your guitar in the overhead bin on the plane then kudos to you but if the situation demands and you are asked to send it with all your other luggage then the following tips may make things a little better.
Please note that while some tips may work for you, others may not so it really depends on the situation you find yourself in when you are traveling with a guitar.
1. Stuff the Inside of the Guitar Case
You probably know that guitars are fragile items, no matter how high quality the wood or body material is.
Ever seen how a guitar crashes to pieces when heavy metal or rock stars bang them against the stage floor during concerts? They clearly weren’t made for all that banging!
So to protect your instrument even when it is inside the casings make sure you stuff things like old t-shirts or towels into the extra spaces of the case. The items will provide padding like support to your guitar so that in case your prized possession is dropped or hit by another object the sensitive parts are well cushioned and protected.
This also minimizes movement within the case so there is less impact.
2. Loosen the Strings
Tight strings are crucial to get the perfect sound when playing the guitar but this pressure can be harmful to the guitar when flying.
Change in temperature is an unavoidable circumstance when you are high above the clouds and can cause the already pressurized strings of your instrument to alter the shape of the guitar’s neck. Simply loosen the strings before flying to prevent any harm to the body of the guitar.
3. Invest in a Guitar that is designed for traveling
We know what you are thinking-But the travel guitars are just not good enough! Actually, you couldn’t be any more wrong. With a little bit of looking around, you can easily get your hands on some amazing travel-friendly guitars that are just perfect for gigs or practice.
With effective internet searches these days everything is just a few clicks away so why not use it to your benefit and find the perfect guitar to fly with?
4. Ship it
Not all guitars can be shipped but some definitely can. If you think you cannot take your guitar with you into the plane and do not have the heart to let it accompany your other luggage then you could pack it up correctly and have it shipped to your desired destination before traveling there yourself.
Just make sure you get insurance from the shipping company so you know that you are covered if something goes wrong.
5. Consider the Airline
Not all airlines have the same policies and while some airlines are too strict in following them, a few airline companies are known to make exceptions on request.
It is important to be polite to the airline staff because they can help you with your guitar and even allow you to maybe carry it on the plane.
Nevertheless, you must check out your airline policies on traveling with instruments before you travel so you can plan ahead.
6. Check the parts of your instrument
Before going for an international trip with a musical instrument, check that some parts of your instrument may be produced from species preserved under the U.S. and international rules and regulations.
Turtle Shell, Ivory, Mother of pearl, different fine woods like Brazilian rosewood are among the preserved species commonly found in musical instruments. If your instrument contains any protected species, then you will need to collect proper legal paper or permit before an international tour. Check the details here.
Which airlines allow guitars as carry-ons?
As per the USA law, guitars and some musical instruments should be allowed as carry-ons on airplanes.
It is stated in section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that “Carriers must allow a passenger to carry into the cabin and stow a small musical instrument, such a violin or a guitar, in a suitable baggage compartment, such as the overhead bin or under the seats in accordance with FAA safety regulations.”
Carry-on baggage information of USA based popular Airlines:
Alaska Airlines: One musical instrument that surpasses the standard size limit of 22x14x9 inches is authorized to take as a carry-on bag if the instrument can harmlessly put in the overhead chamber or under the seat.
American Airlines: American Airlines granted musical instruments as a carry-on item, but it must be loaded in the overhead bin or kept under the seat in front of the passenger.
Delta Airlines: Carry-on bag size should not exceed 22x14x9 inches or 45 linear inches except for musical instruments that suit in the overhead or match the space under the seat.
JetBlue Airways: JetBlue allows a small musical instrument in the cabin to stowage in the overhead bin or under the seat if required space is available during passenger boarding.
Large size instrument will be allowed in the cabin if you purchase an extra seat for the instrument. Also, the instrument in its case should weigh under 165 pounds. Check Contract of Carriage.
Southwest Airlines: Though your guitar case dimensions exceed the size limit of 24x16x10 inches, you can still take your guitar in its case as carry-on baggage under this condition:
The instrument should fit in the overhead bin or can be placed under the seat if the required space is available during boarding time. Otherwise, you need to purchase an extra seat for the instrument.
Mentionable that, Southwest would not accept any musical instrument in its case that exceeds 150 linear inches or weight over 165 pounds.
How to Carry Guitar on International Flight?
Can you carry your guitar on an international flight? Yes, you can. If the size and weight of your instrument in its case are within the specified limits, then you can take it as carry-on baggage. Otherwise, you have to pay for an extra seat or carry it as checked baggage.
Also, confirm before booking that your desired airlines have made it mandatory or not to carry a guitar in a hard case. Here is carry-on baggage information of some international flights operated by Non-USA airlines :
British Airways: It is requested to take your musical instrument in a solid hard case instead of a soft case when you are flying with British Airways.
- Baggage (musical instrument in the case) dimensions of 31x18x10 inches are allowed as free of charge carry-on baggage.
- If the guitar or any musical instrument in a case measures up to 55x20x16 inches then an extra seat needs to be purchased at least 24 hours before your flight. Otherwise, they will take it as checked luggage.
- If your instrument in its case measuring up to 75×29.5×25.5 inches then you can take it as checked luggage but need to inform the airlines at least 24 hours prior to your trip.
- You have to pay an overweight charge If your baggage is more than 23 kg. You can carry a musical instrument that weighs not more than 45 kg.
Air Canada: You can bring one carry-on bag (standard size 21.5×15.5×9 inches) and one personal article for free regardless of any weight limit that can fit in the overhead bin.
Emirates: You can take a musical instrument as free carry-on baggage if it does not exceed the size limit of 22x15x8 inches and a weight limit of 7kg. If your guitar surpasses any of those limits, then you have to pay for an extra seat or take it as checked luggage. Also, the number of carry-on baggage and size limits may vary depending on airline fare classes.
Other Travel Cases We Considered
If possible we would say that it is best to avoid carrying a guitar with you when you travel, as there are many other kinds of risks involved. Having a high-quality protective casing doesn’t always guarantee the protection of your guitar from all possible harm.
But if you must carry your guitar with you then investing in the right casing (above mentioned best guitar cases) may somewhat help in reducing the chances of damage.
Moreover, we believe that along with a good casing it is more important to invest in an equally high-quality, travel-friendly guitar.