I'm traveling to Ireland next summer and need a sturdy case to survive airline handling. Calton? or Hoffee? or others. Please recommend. I built my own banjo so it may not fit a particular model from a company.
Looks amazing. One suggestion. Since you are an able builder, you may want to give serious consideration to removing the neck for the flight. If anything is going to go wrong, that's what will break. Pot and neck could go in a suitcase, or neck could go solo in a standard case. Also check the TSA lock requirements. If you use a case lock they can't access, they can cut it off. I'm sure you've seen the post with a sticky: banjohangout.org/topic/281603
If you want to lock luggage or a case try small zip ties. You can get them in different colors. If TSA opens them they will cut them off then replace them with one of their own and a notice that they opened the case. You can use a pair or nail cutters to cut them off when you get to your destination and carry a zip lock bag of them for the return trip. The good thing is that if anyone other than TSA opens your baggage you can see it right away.
To answer your question: Hoffee. Great protection, especially for the peghead, lighter and the handle alone is worth the price of admission. I don't know who your carrier is but we fly Aer Lingus every year to the Emerald Isle and have yet to check an instrument. They consider it a carry on. (We've traveled with fiddle or mandolin, guitar or banjo.) Ryk
I second Price cases. Gary makes a wonderful case. They're extremely durable and very well designed. I have one of his Price Classic cases and love it. On-the-other-hand, there's always the argument that a soft-sided (or apparently soft-sided, think case cover) case may draw sympathy from the attendants and possibly increase your chances of bringing the banjo on board. The Reunion Blues bag seems to get great reviews and would fall in this category. They're much tougher than a gig-bag, but they're clearly not rigid. Most people I know who fly with their banjo simply board with the "Need Additional Time" group.