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Mailing or traveling with accordion

Elizabeth

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I am looking into traveling with, or mailing an accordion. A MF size 120 bass fits well into the overhead bin of an alaska airlines full size plane, but not in the smaller overhead bins of the planes that serve smaller airports. Is anyone experienced with having the luggage crew take your accordion and store it in the planes belly with the other luggage?
I have received accordions in the mail, but have not sent them. Have others been able to successfully and safely mail a 120 ?
Its time to seriously get my downsizing plan underway! Although my upcoming hand surgery may throw a monkey wrench into my plans. But thats a topic for another thread.
Thank you.
 

debra

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There are many horror stories about traveling with an accordion and also about mailing an accordion...
The best thing is to book an extra seat for your accordion, but few airlines let you do this.
Second best is to get a written confirmation from the airline that your accordion can be taken on board, but again, few airlines will do this.
Once your accordion goes into the cargo hold with other luggage it's a goner, or at least you can expect a very expensive repair bill.
The safest way is to ship the accordion inside a crate that can easily hold 4 of these accordions, the rest being padding around it. But that can be an expensive solution, and even when an accordion manufacturer ships accordions to dealers or private customers they never use that safe amount of padding.
 

Elizabeth

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Wow-
I bet they would let me book a seat if bought it.
I think i read somewhere theres a new rule that music instruments have to come on board with passengers. Ive seen lots if people walk on board with guitars and such.a few times ive carried an accord on board but they do not fit in bin of smallrt planes.
Lots of stuff to think about here.
Thank you!
 

godgi

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buy a small accordion to fit airline on board spec. difficult for a piano accordion. my maugein export meets the spec one reason why i bought it.
 

debra

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Wow-
I bet they would let me book a seat if bought it.
I think i read somewhere theres a new rule that music instruments have to come on board with passengers. Ive seen lots if people walk on board with guitars and such.a few times ive carried an accord on board but they do not fit in bin of smallrt planes.
Lots of stuff to think about here.
Thank you!
With Ryanair seats are so cheap that it's definitely worth buying a seat for your accordion (and Ryanair offers this as part of the reservation system). There is a video online somewhere of Richard Galliano playing the accordion on board of a Ryanair flight (with flight attendants holding their intercom mic so people on board could enjoy the "concert").
 

Corinto

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Have sent and received several accordions, 9 IIRC, to and from Spain, to and from UK, and from Germany, some were better packed than others, some came from Germany (ebay/factory) and went to UK for fettling and then back to Spain. The ones I sent were very good padded, but no way as much as described by Paul. All arrived with no harm at destination. Of course, ymmv, sometimes one hears horror story.
 

Tom

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Hi Elizabeth,

I have successfully checked an accordion on a multi-stop airplane flight (American Airlines). I did have a packing box that an accordion was shipped to me from Italy. Basically, the accordion was put into a soft case, with layers of 2 (?) Inch styrofoam around it, tightly packed into a heavy cardboard box. I did put newspaper in the bass mechanism to protect it from collapsing (there must be a thread that shows how to do this).

Good luck!
 

donn

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I imagine the accordions you received, came with a fair amount of protective padding, but as Paul says, likely without the full size crate he described. No matter what you do, there's some risk. Paul's crate could be skewered by a forklift. I have no useful experience with this; when I got my Cavagnolo, I took the train back, where they don't have any issue with large items.

If you'd rather bring it with you, one way to deal with size limits might be to bring it in two pieces. Of course you'd have to leave the case behind and make up some boxes. If you're packing it for shipping - or baggage - I'd say reinforce the cardboard box in places, and leave space for a lot of bubble wrap or similar, the object being to absorb shocks. No way is there enough room inside the case for this, but that space also has to be carefully padded up so it can't rattle around in there. And that bass lockdown.
 

lordzedd

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If you'd rather bring it with you, one way to deal with size limits might be to bring it in two pieces. Of course you'd have to leave the case behind and make up some boxes. If you're packing it for shipping - or baggage - I'd say reinforce the cardboard box in places, and leave space for a lot of bubble wrap or similar, the object being to absorb shocks. No way is there enough room inside the case for this, but that space also has to be carefully padded up so it can't rattle around in there. And that bass lockdown.
Petosa has a case for this specifically: https://petosa.com/products/accordion-deluxe-jet-set-gig-bag-jgb. At least, specifically for taking into a plane cabin.
 

debra

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Have sent and received several accordions, 9 IIRC, to and from Spain, to and from UK, and from Germany, some were better packed than others, some came from Germany (ebay/factory) and went to UK for fettling and then back to Spain. The ones I sent were very good padded, but no way as much as described by Paul. All arrived with no harm at destination. Of course, ymmv, sometimes one hears horror story.
I may have exaggerated the suggested crate size a bit... (At the end of the 80's I had a computer sent to me from the US to Belgium (and back a year later). It was shipped in a crate that could hold 4 or 5 of these computers, so about 75 to 80% of the crate was filled with padding. An accordion can perhaps do with less padding, but I would suggest about 4 inches of padding on all sides.
The accordion orchestra I play in played some concerts in Portugal (before we joined the orchestra). Despite promises by the airline upon arrival most accordions needed emergency repairs. One could not be salvaged at all. The accordions were clearly just "thrown" on and off conveyor belts. It almost took a miracle for the concerts to happen... I most certainly would never ever risk an accordion being handled as check-in baggage. Shipping (in a crate) is a lot safer than baggage.
 
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Elizabeth

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With Ryanair seats are so cheap that it's definitely worth buying a seat for your accordion (and Ryanair offers this as part of the reservation system). There is a video online somewhere of Richard Galliano playing the accordion on board of a Ryanair flight (with flight attendants holding their intercom mic so people on board could enjoy the "concert").
Thanks paul.
Looks like a fun video to check out!
 

Elizabeth

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T
Have sent and received several accordions, 9 IIRC, to and from Spain, to and from UK, and from Germany, some were better packed than others, some came from Germany (ebay/factory) and went to UK for fettling and then back to Spain. The ones I sent were very good padded, but no way as much as described by Paul. All arrived with no harm at destination. Of course, ymmv, sometimes one hears horror story.
That is encouraging. Thank you!
 

Elizabeth

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Hi Elizabeth,

I have successfully checked an accordion on a multi-stop airplane flight (American Airlines). I did have a packing box that an accordion was shipped to me from Italy. Basically, the accordion was put into a soft case, with layers of 2 (?) Inch styrofoam around it, tightly packed into a heavy cardboard box. I did put newspaper in the bass mechanism to protect it from collapsing (there must be a thread that shows how to do this).

Good luck!
Yes, there is a video on that.
I am impressed that you were able to check it!
Thanks.
 

Zevy

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I recently had an accordion shipped to me. While the seller did immobilize the bass machine, the rest of the accordion took a serious hit. Reed blocks and single reeds were flying around and/or needed to be re-waxed onto the block. There's nothing that cannot be repaired, but we all don't want to go in that direction. That said, avoid shipping if you can. It's almost as bad as placing the accordion in the belly of the airplane.
Good luck!
 

Chickers

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ELIZABETH:
Sounds like you have a challenge.
Did you ever consider renting an accordion at your destination ??
This would certainly take some planning ahead of time, and you may not get to play your particular accordion, but it
might work.
I've never done that with an accordion, but car rentals have been around forever, and I had done the rental thing several time
with downhill ski equipment. Talk about a hassle of flying with equipment---ski gear is a challenge--it always get damaged
to some degree.
Just a thought.
CHICKERS
 

Zevy

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ELIZABETH:
Sounds like you have a challenge.
Did you ever consider renting an accordion at your destination ??
This would certainly take some planning ahead of time, and you may not get to play your particular accordion, but it
might work.
I've never done that with an accordion, but car rentals have been around forever, and I had done the rental thing several time
with downhill ski equipment. Talk about a hassle of flying with equipment---ski gear is a challenge--it always get damaged
to some degree.
Just a thought.
CHICKERS
Warning: Renting an accordion at your destination might be very hazardous to your wallet. I once played an accordion at a place where I couldn't bring my own. I ended up buying it!
 

Ffingers

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A full-sized concert harp is also a bit of a bundle.
My sister, a concert soloist, always booked extra seating for the instrument whenever she flew with it.
Smaller bands who travel with double basses seem to do the same thing.
 

Elizabeth

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Warning: Renting an accordion at your destination might be very hazardous to your wallet. I once played an accordion at a place where I couldn't bring my own. I ended up buying it!
Warning: Renting an accordion at your destination might be very hazardous to your wallet. I once played an accordion at a place where I couldn't bring my own. I ended up buying it!
That sounds like a good idea, renting at the destination.
In this case though, i want to take an accordion to the store, for maintenance or for trade in. One of the legs of this trip entails a planeride where the overhead bin will only fit the smallest acvordion.
 

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