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 Post subject: Insurance and Traveling
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:21 am 
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Hi everyone!
I'm traveling to Ireland (from America) and I want to bring my pipes. I've never traveled by plane before and I don't know what kind of troubles I might face. I know a lot of string players have insurance for their instruments, but I don't know if it's something that uilleann pipers usually bother with. Should I look at insurance? What company is a good one for pipes? Should I be nervous about bringing my pipes on a plane or overseas? I'm traveling by Aer Lingus.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:34 pm 
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Hi Bansealgaire! I took a full set of uilleann pipes to Ireland last summer (on Aer Lingus) and the only thing I did was make sure that it fit into a proper sized box that would go inside the plane into the overhead compartment. I didn't have any problems. I did not insure the set for the journey.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:37 pm 
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Insurance is an odd thing. You insure what you cannot easily replace. I sent a chanter to be reeded and insured it for several thousand dollars. The cost was less than one hundred. That particular chanter is part of a full set, with the maker no longer active. Realistically the chanter is worth about half of what I insured it for, but the PITA to replace it would certainly be covered by the overage.
With no loss to claim, the money to insure is simply an expense. With a loss and no insurance you have the loss in addition to the hassle to procure a replacement. As they say: you pays your money, and you takes your chances.

Bob

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Bansealgaire wrote:
Hi everyone!
I'm traveling to Ireland (from America) and I want to bring my pipes. I've never traveled by plane before and I don't know what kind of troubles I might face. I know a lot of string players have insurance for their instruments, but I don't know if it's something that uilleann pipers usually bother with. Should I look at insurance? What company is a good one for pipes? Should I be nervous about bringing my pipes on a plane or overseas? I'm traveling by Aer Lingus.


I've flown with mine numerous times, and never insured them - but they stay with me. I can fit even my B flat set in a viola case, and even though it is longer than most airline's carry-on luggage dimensions, they've always let me board with it as a carry-on. Aer Lingus is the best, and won't even bat an eye at musical instruments being carried on. You may have issues going through security at some U.S. airports (because they don't look like anything they've ever seen on the x-ray machine), but nothing more than the extra time to open the case and let them wipe it with their explosive-sniffing pads.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:59 pm 
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I don't know if you can get travel insurance for instruments for specific trips. My pipes are covered by my home insurance. I pay an extra premium of about $200 p/a for their full replacement cost. But that covers me anywhere in the world.

The golden rule for travelling is NEVER CHECK YOUR PIPES. Always bring them as carry-on. My case is 23" long, which is more than the standard carry-on, but I've not had a problem. If ever I'm refused, I have a cloth bag and the plan is to remove the mainstock from the bag, put the mainstock (with drones and regs) and chanter into the bag and that's my carry-on. I'll leave the bellows and bag in the case which I'll check.

I've heard of people breaking down fullsets to fit into fiddle cases (without bag and bellows).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:19 pm 
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Yeah, what PJ said.

There are things you can do to lower your risk of being commanded to put your pipes in the hold;
-travel with as small a case as you can. A classical musician’s case (i.e., viola) may buy you some street cred. [Currently, the world still holds classical musicians in high esteem...over uilleann pipers (!)]
-don’t sit at your gate. Sit within earshot of your gate. Airline staff scour the gate area for people/luggage to tag
-if you can shoulder your case, all the better: it looks less of a burden that way. And overcorrect your posture so that your case doesn’t look like a heavy, cumbersome thing.
-shoulder your case opposite the gate agent. They may not see it that way. Wearing a sport coat or jacket will also help obscure the case. Pivot away from the agent as you thank them, further denying them a line of sight to your instrument.

US law (may be only applicable to US-based carriers) states that airlines have to allow your instrument on board (and in the overhead bins) if there is room there. The only flak I’ve ever gotten was from passengers, who, ironically, were not actually inconvenienced by my use of the overhead. They just didn’t like the thought of the exceptionalism granted musician types. Sheesh!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:54 am 
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Or if you get challenged, strap them on and wear them onto the plane (as someone from Ennis once did)!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:12 am 
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tommykleen wrote:
Pivot away from the agent as you thank them, further denying them a line of sight to your instrument.


Ah yes, the old pivot-and-thank. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:27 am 
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Thanks for the replies. The case I'm looking to get is a viola case that's 33" long. It's about a foot longer than Aer Lingus allows for carry-on, but I can't find a good case that'll both fit the pipes and be 20" long. :-? It does have shoulder straps though, so I could just sling it over my shoulder.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:02 am 
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Bansealgaire wrote:
Thanks for the replies. The case I'm looking to get is a viola case that's 33" long. It's about a foot longer than Aer Lingus allows for carry-on, but I can't find a good case that'll both fit the pipes and be 20" long. :-? It does have shoulder straps though, so I could just sling it over my shoulder.


In my experience, Aer Lingus has never measured, denied, or even looked at any musical instrument being brought on board. My viola case is 32" long; they have always let me bring it on. It fits easily in any overhead compartment.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:00 pm 
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PJ wrote:
I've heard of people breaking down fullsets to fit into fiddle cases (without bag and bellows).

I fit a Bb set, including bag, into a fiddle case. Never a question taking it on a plane. Bellows go into another carry-on bag or checked luggage.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:06 am 
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Being paranoid about such things, I built myself a case (like an anvil road case but lighter) that is 22x14x7 inches, so it is actually smaller (on the third dimension) than most airlines allow. My full D set gets taken apart and put in padded sleeves and the whole set fits in there. I have to take the mainstock out of the cup, take off the baritone and bass slides, take off the bass reg (it is the bent back style) and remove the bass drone and its reed. So only one reed has to get disturbed but I feel very secure that there will be no trouble carrying it on. I put a gig bag (very stout Fusion Urban tenor ukulele bag) in my checked baggage so that at the other end I can reassemble the pipes and carry them around easily. Its a bit over the top, admittedly, but it eases my mind. I got the idea from a professional piper I saw who broke down his full D set into an off the shelf briefcase for the same reason. I want to say it was Michael Cooney.

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