Flying with your shamisen

How do you fly with your shamisen? What type of case? Can you always carry-on ( esp larger-hard case) or gate check ? Your experiences and any tips you can pass along would be helpful .

Check with your airline.

Check with your airline.

Check with your airline.

That said, I flew trans-pacific in economy on United (the dread slayer of guitars) using a mitsuori case in the overhead bin without issue.

Using a larger case may cause issues, and be careful of customs. Certain leathers, woods, and other materials are restricted.

And, again.

Check with your airline.

1 Like

Thank you - I fly many different carriers, but yes , will always check first . I’m thinking the mitsouri is way to go- I don’t have any type of case for mine now so would like to get one I can use as many situations as possible .

1 Like

I had no problem with a mistuori case but make sure your bachi is in your registered luggage.

Why the Bachi in registered luggage?

Thank you for your response -much appreciated.

Someone told me they were previously told they couldn’t bring in the plane. Guess it could be used to hurt someone…

Ill try remember that…
Thanks again

I’ve never tried to fly with a shamisen, but often fly with a musical instrument. In the US, airlines are required to let you board with your musical instrument if there is space for it and it fits in an overhead bin or under a seat. In addition to checking with your airline, a couple of other things you can try are to choose a seat towards the back of the plane so you get to board earlier, before the overhead bins fill up. Also, with some airlines you can talk to the gate agent before boarding begins and explain that you have a musical instrument and ask very nicely if they would let you board with some of the pre-boarding people (like the ones with kids or who need extra help). All they can do is say no, and often they are fine with it. It will count as a piece of carry-on (unlike medical equipment), though, so keep that in mind if you’re not planning to check luggage.

Here’s a link to the federal regulation (middle column of second page states requirement):

Thank you for your reply .

I imagine the larger hard case may not fit in overhead bin ( if I’m wrong I hope someone lets me know ) and certainly not under the seat - in the closet yes ( if crew has room and let’s you ) .

Talking to gate agents sounds like an idea .

I suppose it depends on the airline. As for the ones I have travelled on, the large hard case is above the upper length limit for carry on luggage. Previously, I always broke the shamisen down into its parts and took in my carry on hand luggage. However, the last time I travelled on KLM, I had my shamisen in a long hard case and found out that I had to pay a supplement, even though the shamisen plus my suitcase combined weight was under the 22kg luggage limit. On checking KLM rules, the weight limit applies to one piece of luggage up to 22kg, additional items incur an automatic supplementary charge, regardless of combined weight.

I had a feeling larger hard case would have to be checked in one way or another…As much as I don’t like to breakdown my shamisen -it seems the smaller case is the way to go…

Thank you for your response- I appreciate it.