Flying with Instruments

The Lowdown

We understand just how important your Guitar is to you.

Happily, our experience of guests bringing their guitars to a Guitar Breaks event has been 100% successful.

However, the internet is scattered with videos of guitars being used as frisbees. Also, some guitarists have experienced  difficulties with airline staff who seem to think they own the place!

So we decided to do some research to remove the ‘who does what’ from the equation when it comes to taking guitars on planes. Listed below are a selection of relevant airlines  that fly to Italy (particularly Pisa, Bologna or Rome) and their LATEST policy on taking guitars on planes*.

The ‘WE SAY’ is our take on what they say, followed by ‘THEY SAY’, which is what the airlines themselves actually say. If you want to discuss this further, or you are thinking of using another airline, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

(N.B: As you may be aware, the UK has now fully left the European Union, so we are still trying to work out what the hell’s happening….)


  • Guitars can be taken as hand luggage at no extra cost depending on size (see below) AND depending on the luggage allowance purchased (Large Cabin Bag). BUT in our experience this is discretionary depending on space, so get to the gate early! (It is important to note that the carrying of an instrument into the plane is ‘at the Captain’s discretion’.)
  • Also in our experience it is important to contact Customer Services in advance and let them know that you are bringing a guitar. – They can add this information onto your booking if you are finding it difficult to navigate the website, so the gate staff know.
  • ​Remember that your guitar is your ONLY piece of allowable hand luggage. Everything else must go in your suitcase.


The size of musical instrument you can bring on board depends on your cabin bag allowance. If you’ve booked a Standard seat or haven’t selected a seat, and want to bring on board a musical instrument that is larger than 45 x 36 x 20 cm (but smaller than 30 x 117 x 38 cm) you will need to book an Up front or Extra legroom seat in order to get a large cabin bag allowance. easyJet Plus cardholders and FLEXI fare customers can do this free of charge or at a discounted rate as part of their membership or fare.

Large musical instruments

Any musical instruments that are larger than 30 x 117 x 38 cm can only travel in the cabin if a separate ticket is purchased for them. They may sit on the seat or on the floor, upright or at an angle, but must meet the requirements listed below. Safety is our number one priority, so please note that even if the instrument meets all requirements, if our crew are not satisfied that the instrument can be safely stowed, we will have to place it in the hold.

Instruments to travel in the cabin if a seat is purchased for them:

  • must not exceed the maximum allowed weight of 75kg (instrument and case combined)
  • need to fit within the minimum seat width of 43cm
  • must be in a case, with a handle which is capable of being used to pass the seat belt through, so that they can be safely secured to the seat
  • must not protrude more than 30cm above the top of the seat back. The seat height is 68cm from the seat cushion, and 114cm from the floor
  • can only be placed in window seats
  • cannot be booked in restricted seats (seats in the front row, back row and emergency exit seats) or seats in the rows next to restricted seats

To book a seat for your instrument, you’ll need to add a passenger to your booking and add ‘Mr Musical Instrument’ as the passenger name. If you’ve already booked your seat and need to add a musical instrument, please contact our Customer Services Team.

Please be aware that seats bought for musical instruments do not come with any cabin bag allowance.


Putting instruments in the hold

If you’d prefer, you can check your instrument into the hold instead, by booking a hold luggage allowance.

Any instrument that does not meet the requirements (above) allowing it to safely travel in the cabin must also be checked into the hold.

Please ensure instruments are packed safely and securely.

We recommend you buy specialist travel insurance to cover your musical instrument before you travel.


  • Ryanair will expect you to buy another seat for your guitar. Pretty much no exceptions, from what we can tell. 
  • The seat for ‘Extra Item Seat’ will have no additional luggage allowance. PLUS the airline staff are particular the your guitar is in a window seat.
  • When checking you and your guitar in, we recommend using your date of birth and passport details for your guitar, and naming them thus: First Name: ‘Extra’  Second Name: ‘Item Seat’


Your checked bag allowance is either:
15 kilos per bag or 20 kilos per bag depending on the checked bag allowance you purchased.

If you exceed your purchased checked baggage allowance, you will be charged for excess baggage at the rate prevailing on the day of travel.

Some sporting or musical equipment* may be carried in the hold of the aircraft in addition to your personal checked baggage allowance up to a limit of 20 kilos per item. Fees apply, click here for details. Any sporting and musical item weighing over the 20 kilos allowance will be charged for the excess at the applicable excess baggage rate per kilo.

Smaller musical items such as a guitar, violin or viola which exceed our cabin baggage dimensions may be carried in the cabin if a seat for it has been reserved and the appropriate fare paid. There is no checked or cabin baggage allowance associated with the purchase of an extra seat.


  • British Airways will expect you to buy another seat for your guitar. Pretty much no exceptions.  They are aware that some musical instruments are susceptible to extreme temperatures if put in the hold, and this is a point worth raising with them.
  • Contact BA Customer Services to discuss.


Your guitar can’t be taken into the cabin as hand baggage but you may be able to buy an extra seat so it travels next to you. This can’t be done online so contact us or your travel agent at least 24 hours before you fly.

Each guitar checked into the hold counts as one item of your checked baggage allowance. It must be packed in a hard or rigid guitar case or it won’t be accepted as checked baggage, either in the hold or on a seat you have bought for it in the cabin.

Flying Business or First? We may be able to accept your guitar on some direct long-haul journeys with no connections to short-haul flights in place of your larger cabin bag. As there needs to be appropriate cabin space available on the day, we can’t guarantee this.

Reserved a seat for your guitar? You’ll be able to board before other passengers so you have extra time to secure it in place. Please go to your boarding gate as soon as it’s announced and tell the gate team you have a seat for your guitar.

How to secure your guitar on board


  • Lufthansa will expect you to buy another seat for your guitar. Pretty much no exceptions.
  • It is really important to contact Lufthansa Customer Services at the time of booking your flight to discuss.


You have the option of taking your musical instrument with you into the cabin. Depending on the weight and size, you can carry it with you as carry-on baggage or you must book an extra ticket. Furthermore, you can also take your musical instrument with you as an additional item of baggage and check it in.

Please ensure that your musical instrument is packed in a hard protective case with as little room for movement as possible and with good padding. Only in such a way can we ensure that it cannot be damaged by being carried in the cargo hold. This also applies to musical instruments that cannot be accepted as carry-on baggage in the cabin and have to be loaded at short notice. Traditional transport cases are not suitable for transporting.

You can take your musical instrument with you into the cabin free of charge as long as its dimensions do not exceed 55 x 40 x 23 cm (height x width x depth) and its weight does not exceed 8 kg. Please bear in mind that your musical instrument thereby replaces a permitted item of carry-on baggage and that, where applicable, you may not take any further item of carry-on baggage on board with you.

If your musical instrument exceeds the dimensions of 55 x 40 x 23 cm, you must book an additional seat. This must be booked at the same time as you book your own ticket. Please contact our Service Center to do this. Prices for taking your musical instrument with you depend on the ticket prices available. Musical instruments that you wish to book to be taken with you into the cabin may not exceed the following dimension and weight specifications:

  • 155 x 42 x 25 cm (height x width x depth) for musical instruments that stand in the cabin
  • 110 x 42 x 50 cm (height x width x depth) for musical instruments strapped to the seat
  • Maximum weight 75 kg


  • This is an interesting one! We know that guitars in soft cases will fit in an overhead locker. Therefore it should be fine to take on the plane ‘on a first come, first serve basis’. However is a guitar considered to be a ‘small musical instrument’?
  • AA do take some responsibility for any damage that might happen, with caveats.
  • Contact AA Customer Services to discuss.


Carry-on instruments
You can travel with small musical instruments as your carry-on item on a first come, first serve basis as long as it:Fits in the overhead bin or fits under the seat in front of you.

If your instrument doesn’t fit in the carry-on baggage space, you can choose to buy an additional seat which:

  • Costs the applicable adult fare plus any applicable taxes or carrier-imposed fees
  • Is a bulkhead (divider) window seat (not in an Emergency Exit row)
  • Is directly next to yours

If you choose to buy an additional seat for your instrument, please note that seat baggage must not weigh more than 165 lbs. (75 kg) and must meet seat size restrictions based on airplane type.Checked instruments

Your musical instrument can also be checked as baggage. The maximum size for checked baggage, including instruments, is 150 inches (381 cm), and the maximum weight is 165 lbs. (75 kg). Anything larger or heavier would need to be shipped via Cargo.

The minimum size of the aircraft cargo hold doors on aircraft is 25in high x 40in wide/63cm high x 101cm wide, the ERJ 170 is a bit smaller at 25in x 38in. If your musical instrument is larger, please contact reservations for the exact size of cargo hold doors on the aircraft in your journey.

Please note that due their fragile nature, we will only be liable for damages to musical instruments if:

  • Your instrument is in a hard-sided case
  • The outside of the case is visibly damaged
  • Reservations and ticket changes
  • Delayed or damaged baggage


  • Detail is pretty thin on the ground here. Sufficed to say that booking an extra seat seems to be the way to go. BUT be aware that they may want to put it in the hold anyway!
  • Contact Vueling Customer Services to discuss further.


Musical instruments:
Any instrument inside its case. If you wish to carry it on board with you, you can book an extra seat.

For security reasons, it is important to respect the size allowance at all times. If your baggage exceeds this allowance, it must be checked in at an additional cost. Only card payments are accepted.

As there is limited space available in the overhead lockers, if your bag does not fit in the cabin, we will take it down to the cargo hold (even if it complies with the size allowance) at no extra cost to you.

This is advisory only. We strongly recommend that you always speak with Customer Services at the airline you are booking with to double check their policy at the time of booking your flight. Wherever possible, ensure you get a written copy of your conversation.

Always ensure that your instrument is properly insured prior to flying. Guitar Breaks cannot be held responsible for damage to instruments as a result of travelling to and from an event. See our T&Cs for details.