Flying with your harp can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be.
Whenever you plan to travel with your harp, you will remain worried the entire time. As you approach the airport, the anxiety increases.
You are unsure whether you will get in with your tool without the many bothers. Again, you are not sure how attendants will handle your precious and expensive harp.
In all, you must consider the safety of your instrument.
You should have transport logistics in place too. Do not check in your harp with other luggage. By doing this, you should expect a damaged harp in the end.
If you must check your device, let the airplane security personnel check it as oversize baggage even though it is not over-sized. Regular luggage often goes into conveyors, where they stack on carts and then handled roughly.
The oversize luggage-type is usually hand-carried and treated more carefully.
Getting through the airport
Usually, it is necessary to check with the airlines in advance, what their pricing and other regulations are, for such-like instruments. Airlines change their policies at any time.
Therefore, you should not expect things to be as you thought they were previously, or as told by someone who traveled before with their harp on board.
You should also get online and access every information policy regarding airplane traveling with musical instruments.
You should then print a copy of the regulations, and carry it with you to the airport. It is a proof that you have the rights to fly with your harp.
In the case where your harp is too small for the overhead, things may be somewhat more manageable for you.
If the airline personnel try to can't take it on as a carry-on, you can site the bylaw which states that they should not charge you for musical instruments.
There were changes made in 2012, which made it easier for musicians who travel with their devices. There is an exemption of instruments from size limitations that concerns various carry-on items.
Protecting Your Harp from Damage
Try to make your device the only carry-on. You must also take every necessary precaution.
Ensure that you place your harp in a very protective casing. Remember that you cannot prevent other travelers from placing other stuff on top of it, or squeezing the harp in between different luggage types.
Suitable types of flight case include the aluminum ones or hard-formed cases like the fiberglass or wooden types.
Such kinds are perfect since they are also zip-locked and covered with nylon. These cases are also made to appear light-weighted, thus keeping the airline check-in prices lower.
However, unlike aluminum which is immune to fork lifting, the other hard-formed types are not.
The best option of flying with your harp (though expensive), is buying an extra seat ticket for your valuable harp. It is especially the case for large devices.
With the harp on its seat, you do not need a flight casing; instead, a soft cover works well. If the harp is extra-large, ask for a strapping using a seat-belt extension.
If you cannot afford to pay a seat for your harp, it is still okay. Just ensure that you place the instrument in a soft casing, before fitting it in a hard casing.
You can pack your clothing in the instrument casing. That way, you will not require a separate clothing suitcase. Make sure you do not pack liquid substances in the harp case. They may pour out and damage your instrument severely.
Arrive at the airport early enough so that attendants can pack your device early enough before the bins are full.
Whenever you arrive late, the airlines cannot remove other passenger items to fit your instrument perfectly.
Always try to take a harp that fits easily in an ordinary overhead bin just like other luggage types.
It can also fit perfectly behind the seat of the last row. If your flight type is a business class, the well-covered instrument fits in the garment closet.
In case you have to carry your harp in a cardboard box, be ready to have it opened up for inspection. Carry along a lot of packing tape for closing it back.
You also need to use lots of bubble wrap. Otherwise, you risk the cardboard opening up and exposing your harp to damage.
Whatever the reason may be, going through all this hassle can be done but just a bit of research needs to be done on regulations and your specific airport. We suggest calling them and asking them for the best course of action is and they should work with you.
Also, remember that if they try to say you can’t take it on board cite the law and maybe print it out and give it to them. Read the law here.