Violins as Carry-on Luggage aboard Airplanes

Can we carry our Violins with us inside the Airplane as Carry-On Luggage?

Answer: It depends on which country and which airline. In the E.C. as well as most of the world it is airline specific.

Before we start let’s ask ourselves “how big is a violin and how big is a violin case?”

The full-sized VIOLIN itself is 59-60cm in length, while the VIOLIN CASES can vary from around 61cm (without bow) to 80cm. Viola’s can vary even more depending on the size of the viola!

AIRLINES: Some airlines like Ireland’s Ryanair only allow the maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. This is really small as just the violin itself is 59-60cm long! There is no way you could bring your violin on board unless you cut off the peg box!

Qantas are more accommodating allowing L81cm x H30cm x D19cm for Music instruments as inflight hand baggage. This means your violin case at 80cm length can be allowed as carry-on baggage.

COUNTRIES: In the U.S.A., there is now a nation wide policy because of legislation which was just passed in their Senate on February 6th, 2012. For more information I have included excerpts from the following article at

U.S. Congress says instruments will be allowed as airplane carry-ons!

News: Good news for those of us who travel with our instruments.

From Laurie Niles (from
Posted February 9, 2012 at 03:33 AM

The new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just passed by the U.S. Congress allows instruments as carry-on luggage.  The FAA reauthorization was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, February 3 by a 248-169 vote.

Here are excerpts from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) press release: The AFM applauds the passage of the FAA Bill that sets a consistent national policy allowing musical instruments on airplanes.

Congress has passed legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next four years. Included in the bill are provisions that create a uniform national policy regarding musical instruments on airplanes. Any instrument that can be safely stored in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. Additionally, the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and permits musicians to purchase a seat for oversized instruments, such as cellos, that are too delicate to be checked. Existing law allowed each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instruments, and size requirements varied widely for both carry-on and checked baggage. “This is great news for professional musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada who carry the tools of our trade – our instruments – aboard commercial aircraft,” said AFM President Ray Hair. “Ending the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage has been a top legislative priority for nearly a decade.”

WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO CHECK YOUR MUSICAL INSTRUMENT INTO THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT: sometimes luggage is tossed and roughly handled which is demonstrated in the picture below. This is not a real event, but it is a remake of an event which resulted in the breaking of the guitar of the singer Dave Carroll. For the song you can go to!

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