13 August 2008

Air travel with an accordion

This post is for accordionists who want to travel with their instruments in addition to friends and family.

It's not too hard to travel with an accordion even with all the restrictions from the TSA. In fact it is easier now than years ago when you could board a plane with all kinds of stuff big and small.....except an accordion case which was always checked luggage. I tried everything from bracing the bases, splitting the accordion apart at the bellows and packing two containers to carry on (don't try this at home) and special hard shell cases to tears at the counter along with begging and pleading. Rarely was the instrument hand carried to the plane's luggage bays but instead went on its way tempting fate and gravity on conveyor belts and then workers brimming with apathy toward their mountains of suitcases.

In the 80s and 90s the airline companies managed to drop the instrument frequently which cracked the frame twice and broke the grill three times, once so severly that the manufacturer, Titano, had to rebuild it from the scraps - which they did expertly.

During the last eight years or so I've had no problems. My secret to free-reed flying bliss? A soft sided case. With a soft sided case the overhead bins of the most common planes fit even my concert model Titano Emperor with extended keyboard perfectly. I take the accordion on board as one of my carry-on pieces which means I can still have my laptop in a backpack. The instrument - along with the computer - never leave my care.

Even security checkpoints have been better as I always tell them in advance - after I take my shoes off - "this is an accordion". They usually want me to play a polka.

1 comment:

Cristian said...

Thank you for this article. I just purchased an accordion and I was wondering now, how am I going to travel with it to show it to my folks in Romania? I'll start looking for those bags.