A couple of blog posts related to airline travel with musical instruments have caught my eye so far this week:
Saxophonist Greg Vail had a bad experience checking his horn. Yes, he did check it—sent it to be stowed in the airplane’s cargo hold rather than carrying it on himself. But it wasn’t the baggage handlers who caused a problem. It was security inspectors who opened the strong custom flight case, damaged the key clamps, broke some reeds, and couldn’t get everything packed up properly again.
I know I need to carry this case because they have done this before, but the real question is why?? I feel like these goofballs would riffle thru my medicine cabinet given the chance just because they are noisy and idiots, but I digress.
Matthew Amster-Burton, a Mint.com blogger (and not, to my knowledge, a musician), opined that fees for carry-on bags are a good idea. Nobody wants to pay extra fees, but I have to admit it might be worth it to me to guarantee a spot in the overhead bins for my instruments.
When I wheel my suitcase onto a plane, I’ve learned to take the first overhead spot I see that is anywhere near my seat. The last thing I want is to be holding the bag when the announcement goes out that the overhead bins are full and we’re going to have to check any remaining bags if you want this flight to leave today. In other words, price controls—for example, offering discounted or free items or services—cause shortages.
Economically speaking, this is nuts. The right way to allocate overhead bin space is the same way we allocate most things: put a price on it.
Check out my previous posts on airline travel with musical instruments, and travel safe.