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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:46 am 
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Hi guys, a quick question: can one take a one-Piece PVC flute on an air plane inside hand luggage? I've got an Eb flute, which is just under 55cm long, so should fit to the airline's hand luggage requirements (KLM). But would Security allow it? Is it deemed a potential weapon (a short stick basically)? Same question as regards to medium length alu whistles, would they be deemed dangerous? I don't want to turn up at the airport and abandon my instruments, nor sent them as extra (expensive) luggage. I travel light. Thanks for any hints on this! And sorry I have not been around for a long time!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:13 pm 
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Has anyone had experience, good or bad, with one piece flutes or longer whistles, to go through security at the airport? I guess no answer may mean a good one, no problems?? I have not used air planes for more than 10 years...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:25 pm 
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hans wrote:
Has anyone had experience, good or bad, with one piece flutes or longer whistles, to go through security at the airport? I guess no answer may mean a good one, no problems?? I have not used air planes for more than 10 years...


If there is nothing online that covers this, maybe ring the airport information desk for your airline and ask them. They are normally really good with info and if it's something they aren't sure of they will usually find out for you.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:09 pm 
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yes, I could still do that. Just read a thread on The Session, and seems there were no problems with flutes in hand luggage. Perhaps I got a bit paranoid since my daughter was prevented from taking a walking stick with deer antler handle into the cabin, it had to travel in the hold.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:13 pm 
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hans wrote:
yes, I could still do that. Just read a thread on The Session, and seems there were no problems with flutes in hand luggage. Perhaps I got a bit paranoid since my daughter was prevented from taking a walking stick with deer antler handle into the cabin, it had to travel in the hold.


I looked online and found a post where someone had no problems, but that was from 2009. A lot has changed since then of course. Do you know if The Session post was recent? Had it got a date on it?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:29 pm 
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afl2277 wrote:
I looked online and found a post where someone had no problems, but that was from 2009. A lot has changed since then of course. Do you know if The Session post was recent? Had it got a date on it?

Oh, that was nine years ago!
https://thesession.org/discussions/21853


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:45 pm 
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I've had varying experiences from deep suspicion (that was the 3rd day immediately after 9-11), to cavalier indifference when I showed them the flute, to not so much suspicion as simple curiosity (but misplaced; they searched the pink backpack of the little girl behind me, and I absconded with...nothing but a flute. Served them right for not being on the ball, and I hope they learned their lesson. Sorry, little girl...but I'm sure you had a good story to tell your friends).

It was explained to me that a lined head, the lining being being a metal tube, is usually the issue as it could be seen as a potential pipe bomb.

Always be prepared to play it in proof that it's not a fake. The first time my flute was challenged (just after 9-11) it was no surprise, but I thought the official was nonetheless a bit overboard in his zeal. "What is this?" "A flute. An Irish flute, to be exact." A glowering, unimpressed long pause. "Would you like me to open the case?" "Yes, please." Another long uncomfortable pause. "Um...would you like me to put it together?" "Yes, please." Yet another long uncomfortable pause. "So would you like me to play it?" "Yes." Here his expression was triumphant, for surely I had now been caught. Frankly I was glad, because by then I'd had enough, and I was just itching to play and thereby hand his ass to him and his little tin god game. I launched right into An Phis Fhliuch; his attendants started dancing, his expression got darker and redder, and he snapped, "Okay! Okay!", and waved me on to be rid of me, whereupon his attendants voiced some disappointment. All in all a good day; they'd probably never even heard a slip jig before.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:54 pm 
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I've had no issues carrying a three piece flute, in a corresponding small case, through both domestic (US) and international security and onto a plane. Nor did I have any issues carrying on an aluminum low d whistle in my bag. The flute went under my seat, while the whistle-carrying bag went into the overhead compartment.

My guess would be that a musical instrument might be of less concern than a walking stick or shilleagh.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:03 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
My guess would be that a musical instrument might be of less concern than a walking stick or shilleagh.

yes, strange. We will see when the time comes when I want to board a plane using a walking stick! I got one in form of an overtone flute.... that should be nicely confusing!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:18 pm 
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This summer, I flew out of France to Iceland with a fully lined keyed flute in my hand bag and I had zero problems with it. I have traveled in Europe with a set of small pipes and some flutes and there again, no trouble at all.

Now, me saying all this does not imply that you wont go through a full body search, 50 years in jail etc. etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:24 pm 
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I imagine that at this point, TSA folks are a lot more aware of musical instruments than they had been in the past.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:15 pm 
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Right. Reports have been overwhelmingly that there is virtually never a problem,
and that answering questions, playing the flute, solves them when they arise.
I have, by the way, flown a good deal in country's where active terrorism was going on,
and I think the security I see in the USA is on the slack side. Grateful to these people.
Bit of a nuisance but beats dying.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:43 pm 
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FWIW, I flew into and out of Spain (and from Barcelona to Mallorca) with a flute in my backpack and no one asked me about it. I'm sure with the holes it looks obviously like an instrument.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:12 pm 
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crickett wrote:
I'm sure with the holes it looks obviously like an instrument.

You would think. It was all I could do to keep from mocking the official who dragged everything out step-by-step until he finally demanded I play it, too. But mockery would have been counterproductive, and the simple fact remains that we all see the world differently, and there's not much to be done about that.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:45 am 
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Here is the somewhat recently updated FAA rule on small instruments as carry-on. The EU may have similar guidelines, I would look it up before I flew.
If they refuse it, you can go back to check it as luggage, if you get there early enough. They usually have plastic baggies for small individual items. It will cost extra unless your ticket allows a free checked bag.

§ 251.3 - Small musical instruments as carry-on baggage.

Each covered carrier shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other small musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if:

(a) The instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA; and

(b) There is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.


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