Instruments on Airlines

Each airline has its own policy on carrying musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage. The key features of each airline’s musical instrument policies (as at 1 December 2016) are summarised below. Airline policies are subject to change, so please consult the relevant airline’s websites (links below) before travel.
A common issue faced by musicians is that check-in staff and cabin crew may not know their own airline’s musical instrument policies. Be prepared to quote the airline’s policy to staff members.
To avoid further difficulties with airline staff, it is advisable you do not try to take on another carry-on bag other than a small personal item (e.g. a handbag or a laptop in a sleeve) if taking your instrument on as carry-on baggage. Weigh and measure your musical instrument in its case before arriving at the airport. Be at the gate early to board the aircraft promptly so you can stow the instrument in an overhead locker if you’re taking it as carry-on baggage.

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A musical instrument in its hard-shell case can be taken as carry-on baggage and placed in the overhead locker if:
-it weighs no more than 7 kg; and
-does not exceed the maximum dimensions for musical instruments (85 cm length, 34 cm height, 23 cm depth, which yields total linear dimensions of 142 cm).
Larger musical instruments (e.g. most guitars or cellos) must be checked in. Alternatively, an extra seat can be purchased and the instrument carried as a bulky item.

Virgin Australia (
Small musical instruments can be brought on board as carry-on baggage provided each instrument does not exceed dimensions of 85 cm x 34 cm x 23 cm (total linear dimensions 142 cm). An instrument replaces one of the guest’s pieces of carry-on baggage (equivalent to a piece with total linear dimensions of 105cm), and the weight counts toward the guest’s 7 kg total carry-on allowance.
Larger musical instruments are considered as a piece of baggage for the checked-in baggage policy.
-Any musical instrument weighing between 23 kg and 32 kg is charged as overweight baggage if it exceeds the guest’s included baggage allowance. Any musical instrument over 32 kg must be sent as freight.
-Guests who wish to travel with a cello or guitar in the cabin must purchase an additional seat; please contact the Guest Contact Centre.

Jetstar (
Small instruments weighing less than 7 kg with a maximum size of 85 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm can be brought on board and stored in the overhead lockers. The instrument weight counts as part of your carry-on baggage allowance.
For larger instruments, you may purchase a seat for the instrument or it must travel as checked baggage. If travelling in the cabin, the instrument’s case must have a handle so it can be strapped to a seat and secured.
If the instrument weighs more than 15 kg, it must travel as checked baggage. There are restrictions on the number of larger instruments carried per aircraft in the hold (affecting double basses).

Tiger Airways (
Instruments to be carried as cabin baggage must not exceed the dimensions of 30 cm × 117 cm × 38 cm. Instruments within this category will form part of the free cabin allowance; any instrument exceeding these dimensions must be checked into the hold.
Large musical instruments such as harps, cellos, double bass and guitars in hard cases, cannot be carried in the cabin of an aircraft and must be checked into the hold.