NBC: advice on shipping a guitar

Alan Howe StratDevil@aol.com
Wed Jun 24 11:23:48 EDT 1998


Last January, on a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, my
'76 Les Paul Artisan became one of those trendy wooden 3-dimensional puzzles.
Before the trip I bought a brand new Gibson case to replace the wonderfully
tacky cardboard-ish case that came with the guitar. Even with a special
handling sticker emblazoned across both faces of the case, I looked out the
plane window just in time to see my guitar "tossed" onto a loading dolly.  I
freaked to no avail.  When arriving home in Phila. the first thing I did was
pop open the case....the volume and tone controls were pushed right through
the top of the body (no maple cap on the Artisan...just lots of shattered
mahogany; all switches were broken; two tuning keys were sheared off.

I went to the United agent at baggage claim and presented him with my mangled
guitar.  After twenty minutes of shouting and screaming, I realized I wasn't
getting anywhere. Since the case did not show any major exterior damage, then
they felt they could not have damaged it's contents. They made up a half-assed
report for review.  Two weeks later I received the report which, obviously
stated uncategorically, they (the airline) was not at fault.  I turned the
matter over to my attorney.  It seems at this point that they may

The moral of this diatribe is: Get a flight case.  They cost a few hundred
bucks, but if like me, you fly alot with your guitar, they are mandatory.  A
few companies make them (Anvil, SKB).  They are steel reinforced and solid as
a rock; I've heard of guys running over their flight case with a pick-up truck
with no damage to case or contents.  If you want I can get some relevant price
info from a music dealer buddy and pass it along in a few days.

The strange part is I'm a professional sports photographer and wouldn't dream
of traveling without flight cases for our high-end digital cameras, backs,
computers, and dye-sub printers we routinely take on the road.  I can't
believe I was so stupid with my guitar...


Alan Howe



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