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flutes and airport security 
 

flutes and airport security

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flutes and airport security    13:05 on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

travel2165
(260 points)

What are current U.S. airport security policies for musical instruments as carry-on baggage? Do you have to open your case and assemble your flute and play it for them? Or does it just pass through the x-ray machine and they say, "Okay, that's just an instrument. Move on..."?

I really don't want anybody handling my flute or inspecting it during my upcoming flights in May. But I also don't want to check my flute as checked baggage and have it leave my sight.

What do you recommend? Any experiences to share?

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Re: flutes and airport security    14:48 on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

jose_luis
(2365 points)

No recent experience on USA airports. But in Europe there is no problem (at least that have occurred to me). The security personnel identifies immediately that you carry a flute.



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Re: flutes and airport security    15:35 on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

musicman_944
(255 points)

Do not under any circumstances check your flute as baggage (unless you play a Bundy ). TSA regulations allow you to have one musical instrument as carryon baggage. It's up to each airline whether that counts toward your carryon limit.

For a carryon instrument, you do not have any choice but to allow the TSA inspectors to examine the instrument either by x-ray or physical inspection. It may pass on the x-ray alone, but it's really a judgement call on their part whether they choose a physical inspection. But the TSA is sensitive to the special needs of musicians. Here's an excerpt from the official TSA Guidelines for transporting musical instruments:

Security officers must x-ray or physically screen your instrument before it can be transported on an aircraft.

Security officers will handle musical instruments very carefully and will allow you to be as involved as possible in any physical screening.


http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1235.shtm



<Added>

You may find this interesting too:

http://www.amismusicalcircle.com/library/checking-musical-instrument-with-airline_p1.htm

<Added>

And one more:
http://www.local802afm.org/about/TSALetter.pdf

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Re: flutes and airport security    16:56 on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

InstrumentCrazy
(219 points)

I go to California ever year and always have to fly there. I've always brought my flute with me and experienced no problems. They just slide it through the x-ray machine and there you go.

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Re: flutes and airport security    17:01 on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

DaveandKateplus1
4

I have had nothing but head aches with it. If I have to travel with my flute, I will first over night it by USPS to it's destination. It is much safer that way. They do NOT know how to open French style cases and will open it the wrong way. They won't let you touch it either. If you must travel with it, then I would put a sticker on the top of the case saying this way up or something to tat effect. Let them know how much the flute is worth so they have some kind of respect for it. The LR airport is a night mare with this and I refuse to take a musical instrument through that airport ever again. Sorry, I don't mean to scare you, that is just my own experience with it. Flying has become so terrible that I would rather drive 5 days in a car.

<Added>

Some airports or more lenient, and you won't have to deal with this.

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Re: flutes and airport security    00:00 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

mormika
(78 points)

I had this situation in Canada and in Europe. I had to open my case but I didn't have to assemble it and to play them cuz we're not harlequins... They check the case and that's it.

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Re: flutes and airport security    03:14 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Pyrioni
(437 points)

Never check your instruments as baggage! One of our orchestra's cello was badly damaged at arrival. Also check out this video "United breaks guitars" :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

Our orchestra travelled to several European countries and UK many times, and I always carry 3 flutes with me in my back-pack, no problem, they never open or check my flutes in airport. Our violinists are the same, no problems. I alway think of those flute mechanism shaft and violin strings could be lethal weapons in the wrong hands, couldn't they?

<Added>

I'm not sure about the US airport, never been there again after 3yo and don't want to go there, but I heard from my friends that they check very seriously, and even search your body thorough on the foreigners. And if they suspect you are carrying dangerous items, they are very rough on you immediately:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcCmmaCqZhg

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Re: flutes and airport security    10:33 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

InstrumentCrazy
(219 points)

http://8notes.com/f/26_255473.asp

This is about a clarinet but it basically is the same topic.

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Re: flutes and airport security    12:50 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

travel2165
(260 points)

Thanks for the helpful comments and experiences with U.S. airports. And thanks especially to musicman for the useful links.

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Re: flutes and airport security    13:10 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

TBFlute
(130 points)

Airport security in the US is full of thugs who really have no intention of keeping you safe from the "terrists." Sure, it puts on one heck of an inconvenient show, but it's really no more efficient than any other country.

Story time! A few years ago, my grandparents were flying down to Florida as senior citizens are apt to do. While going through airport security, they were taken into separate rooms, made to empty their pockets/purse, and interrogated. (Apparently, terrorists are known to pose as old people so as to not arouse suspicion. I, too, distinctly remember the 9/11 hijackers flashing their AARP cards.) After they were deemed to be no threat whatsoever, they got their stuff back.

Well, not all of it. Most of the cash from their wallets was missing. They complained and went through all the proper channels, but the response was pretty much "You can't prove anything, tough."

You'd probably be better off mailing your flute, especially if you happen to be flying out of Logan.

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Re: flutes and airport security    13:44 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Pyrioni
(437 points)

Hey, TBTUBE, there was a news here many months ago, that an American woman complained $2000 was missing from her baggage after security check, later survellence video shown some airport official took the cash while checking her baggage, and he was put in jail now already. See, there is less official power or cover-up in other countries.

<Added>

sry, I meant TBFlute ;)

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Re: flutes and airport security    15:27 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

InstrumentCrazy
(219 points)

Yeah once my brother had one of his checks stolen. An expensive one too!

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Re: flutes and airport security    21:35 on Thursday, February 25, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

meisjevanfluit
(47 points)

Just stick it in your backpack. They may ask you to play it, but I always kept mine in my backpack to and from Europe.

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Re: flutes and airport security    16:07 on Friday, February 26, 2010 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Tibbiecow
(480 points)

I took my backup flute on a flight to Denver in 2004 or so.
They weren't worried about the flute, because in the x-ray it was obviously a flute, but they did take a close look at the metal cleaning rod.
I think that people are no longer allowed to take metal, pointed knitting needles on planes, and that is what the cleaning rod looked like to them.
I would suggest that you take a plastic or wood cleaning rod, and respectfully ask that they be very careful handling your expensive flute.

   

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