Flying w/ Synths

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truckasaurus
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Flying w/ Synths

Post by truckasaurus » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:07 am

So, next month we're going to be flying w/ our entire set up. I think we'll be able to carry on nearly everything but my sh-101 is too big to carry on and will need to be checked. I have a flight case for it but I'm still a little apprehensive. Do you folks think that it'll be fine in its case, or should I be overly cautious and pack the synth within its case into a box w/ packing peanuts or something of that nature?

Any advice and or experience with gear and air travel would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by truckasaurus on Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by bigbadbarns » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:49 am

I'd really try to take it onboard with you if you can. If you have to check it, forget packing peanuts - wrap it in plastic bag and wrap that in bubble wrap. s**t loads of bubble wrap. Have you ever seen baggage handlers at work? I can't imagine that an analog synth would actually make it to your destination undamaged. But if you've got to check it, do that, and then put it in a full suitcase sandwiched between clothes.

The plastic bag is because on several occasions I've picked my luggage up off the carousel and found it (and half the contents of my bag) soaking wet. NO f**k idea how/why that happened, but yeah.

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guillermotin
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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by guillermotin » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:30 pm

Flying with synths has always been a nightmare for me.

It pretty much depends on a lot of variables: the company you'll be flying with, your departure/destination, the airport crews that will be handling the luggage, the airtport's security protocol, the person next to you on the plane, and - of course - the kindness of the airplane crew...

I strongly recommend you to keep your synth with you at all times. But that might not be possible on certain flights, depending on the size/weight ratio of your synth. I've managed to take an Evolver Keyboard with me in a plane once, as well as a Microkorg on another flight, but nothing beyond that. I had to check in my Korg Z1 in a hard case, and a few other bigger synths quite a number of times.

In your case, I believe that it is perfectly possible to take a Sh-101 with you in the cabin, but I give you some tips:

- Take ONLY the Sh-101 with you to the cabin. If the airline crew/airport security see that you'll be carrying just one volume, they might not complain at all. Check in the other items you'd normally carry onboard.
- Try to pack it with the lightest and smallest soft-case possible, that still offers sufficient amount of protection. Additional volume is not welcome when you're trying to fit synths in the luggage cabinet.
- Get inside the plane wearing an extra jacket, so that you can later pack your beloved synth with it if you feel it is not protected enough.
- Try to be one of the first people to get inside the plane, so that you'll have plenty of space available to accommodate your synth before everyone else gets there.
- When in the boarding line, stand right next to the person who has the most number of carry-on items, so that nobody will draw attention to your synth.
- One very good alternative is to wear one of those generous travel backpacks and carry (only) your synth inside it. This is especially good for mid-to-small synths. This is how I managed to take the Evolver Key with me. A Sh-101 might share this same benefit.

Beware that some companies might easily charge you with an extra fare, if your synth's volume is beyond limits and you still want it to fly in the cabin. This is especially common with low-fare airlines.

... and good luck!
Last edited by guillermotin on Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by StepLogik » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:05 am

I've always been able to cram a surprising amount of stuff into the M-Audio studio pack backpack:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/StudioPack.html

Also, it fits perfectly under the seat in even the smallest aircraft (like those Embraer regional tin cans).

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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by Electroluver » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:30 am

Yeah, the SH-101 is just big enough that putting it in a suitcase would not work. I don't see why you couldn't bring it with you in a knapsack. You might need to be able to test it in front of customs, so bring batteries. Best to ask at the gate and have a plan B.

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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by diezdiazgiant » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:40 am

Ha I work for tsa and if customs asks you to 'test' it or demonstrate its function then they're not doing their jobs right.

I would expect that they're just going to test the casing surface for explosive residue and visually inspect it and send you on your way. Run it thru the xray by itself to reduce chance that a bag check will be called. Oh and don't fly with circuit bent s**t, modded electronics tend to scare the s**t out of some of the morons who work there.
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Re: Flying w/ Synths

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:12 pm

If you've got a hard case you'll be fine. Hard cases are designed to be strong enough to protect synths from baggage handlers, I've toured with the V-Synth a bit and then the MEK lately, been fine each time except on the last flight back from vietnam they managed to drop the MEK case upside down which broke one of the internal straps of the case, but the synth was fine.

If you're really that worried get instrument insurance, mine covers me for all damage whether it's caused by me or someone else. Pays for replacement instrument hire for the show too. If you're touring then you can deduct the cost of the insureance anyway, so you might as well do it.

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