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Oct 19, 2014 - 8:11:03 AM

1475 posts since 6/12/2008

TKL was showing their new alternate carbon fiber lightweight flight cases at IBMA in Raleigh and they looked and felt great. It's called the ACF model #540 in a dark grey finish and a Burlington model for a finish that looks like burl walnut.  Get this...8 lb, 6oz made of a material very much like carbon fiber and very crush resistant...way lighter than a similar Calton or Price.  Sammy Shelor was carrying his banjo around the festival using one of these very cases.  They said they provide real stability inside with very little chance for the banjo to move around so...they list at $799 and likely less when through dealers. 

Oct 19, 2014 - 10:11:42 AM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

Interesting, Tom. There isn't any information to speak of on TKL's site - I did find one online outlet selling for $699. These sites only say "molded" but don't say what they're molded from.

You sure it's carbon? Because that's a pretty attractive price if it is...

Oct 19, 2014 - 8:23:41 PM

1475 posts since 6/12/2008

I don't think they say they're made of carbon fiber per se, but rather some other formula they call ACF, and the A stands for alternative, as in Alternate Carbon Fiber.  The guy I spoke with at the TKL booth was their Sales & Marketing Manager, Andy Garrigue.  He verified that Sammy is using the ACF 540 model and that their website is not yet up to date with this model that they call a true flight case. If you contact him directly, you can probably get one for something closer to $700...they had a special IBMA price that's probably over by now. They just had the open back/non resonator model on display but I did see Sammy earlier walking around with his resonator model over his back...that's why I stopped by their booth, because I was curious what he was carrying (and he's got a bum back and is likely very grateful for every pound he can shed).  Andy's email is agarrigue@tkl.com and the pictures I attached are directly from him. This really seems like a very good choice with great protection, much lower weight at 8 lbs, 6 oz., and lower cost.

Nov 15, 2014 - 7:45:26 AM

alprice

USA

1135 posts since 9/9/2005

Dogwood Dave Schenck has one of these.  Loves it.  Protective and not as heavy as comparable cases.  

Nov 26, 2014 - 11:00:55 AM

434 posts since 9/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by vibraphonusrex

I broke down, and bought a carbon fiber case from Price.  I didn't want to take the chance of not having space on the plane, or worse.  I've flown 3 times with a banjo, and not a hitch.  It never would have made it on the plane on my last trip, as United used another carrier with teenie-tiny everything.  Next time, I'll take the train to New Orleans.

 

Bob Blomberg

 

Bob, when you said you've flown 3 times without a hitch, were you able to bring it on board all 3 times, or did you check it some of those times?

Jan 4, 2015 - 10:03:32 AM

837 posts since 9/6/2013

There are many issues at play here, but what the airlines really don't like are long neck instruments, and full-size banjos are among the instruments that can be pushed into the cargo hold due to length. An A-Scale banjo has a better shot at being allowed on board and for there to be room, due to the shorter neck (thus the shorter case). Also, if you travel with a banjo or guitar, if you carry it on your back you'll be more likely to avoid the attacking eye of the gate agent. I don't know why, but that seems to be the situation oftentimes. Also, if you travel during non-peak times during the day or week, you'll have a much better shot at there being room in the cargo bins. Of course, priority boarding is always one solution, but it is by no means a guarantee. Good luck to all.

Jan 4, 2015 - 3:24:13 PM
Players Union Member

Carl Arcand

Canada

286 posts since 2/9/2011

An advice from  Air Canada.

They wont pay for a broken neck and here is the reason why:

That is the reason why i always loosen the strings when I  ship a banjo by Air mail. 

Packing instructions:

  • When a stringed instrument is transported by air, it may be exposed to dramatic changes in temperature and pressure, which can cause the instrument’s headstocks to crack or snap off. To prevent possible damage, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the strings are loosened so that the tension is reduced.
  • Musical instruments should always be properly packaged in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.

Edited by - Carl Arcand on 01/04/2015 15:25:44

Jan 4, 2015 - 3:42:38 PM

78 posts since 4/14/2012

Thanks for this post and the Air Canada information.  There has been an ongoing debate about loosening strings.  I have been fortunate that when checking my banjo it has arrived unharmed and in tune in its Price case even getting shoved down a baggage slide to crash into the carousel instead of handled with other "oversize" baggage. (Was forced to check it due to leaving from an airport with commuter planes only, connecting to big planes but no chance to carry it on).  Southwest Airlines has really been the best in my experience; I pay $15 for early bird check-in and boarding, which has always gotten me on early enough to put the Price case into the overhead bins.

Jan 6, 2015 - 5:46:41 AM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by tiband

An advice from  Air Canada.

They wont pay for a broken neck and here is the reason why:

That is the reason why i always loosen the strings when I  ship a banjo by Air mail. 

Packing instructions:

  • When a stringed instrument is transported by air, it may be exposed to dramatic changes in temperature and pressure, which can cause the instrument’s headstocks to crack or snap off. To prevent possible damage, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the strings are loosened so that the tension is reduced.
  • Musical instruments should always be properly packaged in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.

I call Shenanigans. An instrument in a hard-shell case is not really going to be subject to "dramatic changes in temperature and pressure." Airline baggage holds are pressurized to the same atmosphere as the cabin, and while they're not heated to cabin level they ARE heated (otherwise, your toothpaste would freeze solid).

Further, there's really nothing on a banjo that can't withstand changes in pressure or temperature. Looks to me like Air Canada is using a clever bit of misdirection in order to protect itself in the event of sloppy baggage handling.

Jan 6, 2015 - 6:08:43 PM
Players Union Member

Carl Arcand

Canada

286 posts since 2/9/2011

Well;  Mr.Skip King that is very rude. 

I am not totally familiar with English language but I know how to find a definition and for this one  used the Urban dictionary 

I call Shenanigans :    v. to declare that another's words or behavior is full of s***, off topic, or passive-aggressively annoying. to call another on their bad or mischievous behavior.

If you can read carefully the Air Canada warning is using the words  .:   It may be exposed 

Jan 6, 2015 - 7:03:20 PM

78 posts since 4/14/2012

Maybe Air Canada is using CYA (a bureaucratic expression meaning "to cover one's rear end") but I guess if I were flying Air Canada and had to check my banjo, I would back off the strings some just so they couldn't use it as an excuse if something happens.

Jan 7, 2015 - 6:00:02 AM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by tiband

Well;  Mr.Skip King that is very rude. 

I am not totally familiar with English language but I know how to find a definition and for this one  used the Urban dictionary 

I call Shenanigans :    v. to declare that another's words or behavior is full of s***, off topic, or passive-aggressively annoying. to call another on their bad or mischievous behavior.

If you can read carefully the Air Canada warning is using the words  .:   It may be exposed 


Carl, we do appear to have a translation  problem. I wasn't being critical of YOUR post; I was being critical of Air Canada's policy and explanation. I have no doubt that they made that statement, and I think you did a good thing by posting it here. But as I wrote, "Looks to me like Air Canada is using a clever bit of misdirection in order to protect itself in the event of sloppy baggage handling."

Or, as pbaker noted, it appears that they're trying to protect themselves from damage to instruments caused by bad handling of baggage, because their explanation of sudden changes in temperature and pressure really doesn't align with the truth.

Carl, nous ne semblent avoir un problème de traduction. Je ne étais pas critique de votre poste; Je étais critique de la politique et l'explication d'Air Canada. Je ne ai aucun doute qu'ils ont fait cette déclaration, et je pense que vous avez fait une bonne chose en postant ici. Mais comme je l'ai écrit, "Me semble Air Canada utilise un peu habile de mauvaise orientation afin de se protéger en cas de manutention des bagages bâclée."

Ou, comme pbaker noté, il semble qu'ils essaient de se protéger contre les dommages causés aux instruments par une mauvaise manutention des bagages, parce que leur explication des changements brusques de température et de pression vraiment ne se aligne pas avec la vérité.

Jan 25, 2015 - 5:01:20 PM

494 posts since 2/5/2014

I just got back from a trip with my banjo on Southwest. I used a gig bag for my Goodtime, plus I wrapped my winter coat around it.  Since I sit in the back of the plane, I was able to find plenty of space.  It was a tough trip, as my mom is passing, but I played almost every day (with a mute) and just the act of practicing relaxed me enough to be able to handle the emotional roller coaster.  Thanks to everyone who has posted about traveling with a banjo. 


Jan 25, 2015 - 5:45:24 PM
likes this

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

Thanks for sharing that, Jonne. So sorry about your mom.

Feb 15, 2015 - 7:02:57 PM

Reubenv

USA

64 posts since 9/11/2012

Well I just booked a trip from the west coast to Nashville to Raleigh and back to the west coast. Im taking my best banjo with me and going to go with Southwest Airlines. At first, i wanted to go with Delta or American airlines and fly first class to board early and use the closet space for the Ax. However, since its a two city trip i just couldnt work out the logistics of finding the flights (non stops and/or no plane changes). Southwest had the nonstops and flights with no plane changes. I this gives me the best opportunity to not have issues. I also paid more for the buisiness select seats. Im hoping to board first, stash the banjo in the overhead, and have no worries. I also thought about buying two of the economy seats and placing the banjo/case in a seat. I felt like this would draw more attention.

I have traveled a couple times with a lesser banjo in a case on Southwest with no issues. This time i am more apprehensive b/c its my best banjer and its across country. My sphincter is much tighter!

Feb 15, 2015 - 7:04:12 PM

Reubenv

USA

64 posts since 9/11/2012

Im thinking that each time somebody flies with a banjo we should just list it here with the name of the airline and how it went. Which seat level you paid for and did it go without a hitch. I will post back in a couple months after i make the trip!

Feb 15, 2015 - 7:14:52 PM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

With a Business Select seat on Southwest, you'll get a boarding number easily in the "A" grouping. You should have no problem.

 

By the way, nice fish.

Feb 15, 2015 - 7:36:07 PM

78 posts since 4/14/2012

You don't even need business select on Southwest, if you pay the $15 for early bird boarding you will get in the A grouping which will get you room in the overhead
Feb 18, 2015 - 1:32:15 PM

Reubenv

USA

64 posts since 9/11/2012

Thanks guys and I will post back after the April trip just to add to this great thread.

Thanks Skip on my fish. Fishing the saltwater here on the West Coast is my other passion. That is a White Seabass. They are elusive, so we get all proud when we are able to fool one! At least I do! :)

Feb 18, 2015 - 7:40:18 PM

BDCA

USA

5589 posts since 1/30/2007

New Cabin layout spells possible trouble

These pictures were taken yesterday in a new United 737 flying between Phoenix and Chicago.Altough I have flown in these new planes before I have had a tenor banjo or an 11" openback in a bump case with me and they fit in the new style bins. The banjo I had with me yesterday was a Mike Ramsey 12" in a Superior Fiberglass case. It fit , with an inch or two to spare but it took up the entire bin.

I asked the cabin staff if they could fir it in the closet but the closet was already full and they were ok with the bin situation since folks had coats that could be thrown around the banjo.

BUT I am not sure if a larger / longer case would even fit! Had that been the case (no pun intended)  I would have been forced to gate check it. I know the Superior is a bit shorter than a standard TKL 5 string resonator case so even with the 2012 FAA regs on instruments on board now in effect, if it doesn't  fit it doesn't fly in the cabin.

BTW that is a green Arizona Shuttle tag, not a gate check tag on the banjo. The second leg from ORD to RDU (Raleigh Durham) was effortless.

Cya!

Bob




Edited by - BDCA on 02/18/2015 19:48:13

Feb 19, 2015 - 4:53:16 AM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

Bob - thanks so much for adding that! I flew on one of the new 737s three or four months ago and noticed the difference in bin configuration - that was a short trip and I didn't bring a banjo with me. To my eye the bins looked capable of handling a banjo - but without much room to spare. They seemed like a deeper version on what you'd find on the larger Canadairs and Embraers.

Really appreciate your report of actual experience with them. I'm updating the original post accordingly.

Another notable thing about these new models is that the thickness of the seat backs is notably less than what most of us are used to - more akin to what we'd find on an RJ than a full-line aircraft. Reason: thinner seats mean a couple more rows can be sneaked in. Which means more people competing for essentially the same bin space.

For a guess, these are either 737-800 or 737-900 models, and to date I've not seen this configuration on any airline besides United. But it would appear that flyers should definitely make note of the plane model with United. And anyone who has seen similar configurations on other lines, PLEASE post it here.

 

Bob, thanks again!

Edited by - eagleisland on 02/19/2015 04:55:06

Feb 19, 2015 - 6:06:57 AM

BDCA

USA

5589 posts since 1/30/2007

A note on the new seats. They are thinner and lighter improving economy and allowing more rows at the same gross weight. They have the magazine pocket at the top and allow for more recline, If I remember correctly.

BTW there is a new wing tip called the Scimitar which the pilot showed me on embarking. Also much more efficient than the older NASA tip.

 

Cya!

Bob

Feb 20, 2015 - 12:35:48 PM

Reubenv

USA

64 posts since 9/11/2012

Oh great! We finally get some legislation in place and now the airlines shrink the compartments on us!
Feb 20, 2015 - 1:10:58 PM

15035 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Reubenv
Oh great! We finally get some legislation in place and now the airlines shrink the compartments on us!

And this surprises you... why, exactly? ;->

Feb 23, 2015 - 7:54:29 AM

175 posts since 12/2/2003

There is a statement in the guide that Price cases are "bulky". The author may not be aware that there are four models available, all less bulky than the early ones. The smallest, the Classic, is a bit smaller than a Calton and probably a Hoffee, although I have not measured one. There was one at Banjothon and that was my impression. All four models are lighter than the old ones.

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