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Travelling with a Cello on a Plane

Published on 16/08/2013

  • Travelling with a Cello on a Plane

It's a common problem with cellos. How best to protect your instrument on a plane journey? You're going on tour with the orchestra, you've got travel insurance, and you trust the reputable airline you're travelling with to take good care of your precious cello.

We've seen many a sad, wounded cello return after a flight, so here are a few tips to consider to safeguard your cello's safe journey.

1. Release tension on strings and, if possible, take the bridge down
2. Release all tension on the bow
3. Place cello inside a hard and sturdy case and, if possible, a flight case. Bubble wrap will offer extra protection, as will packing the case within the original box the cello came in
4. When checking into cargo, be sure to put FRAGILE labels on it (airlines will be able to provide labels) to ensure it gets handled separately from the main cargo

Most hard cases will be able to withstand a good deal of pressure, but few will survive impacts, which is how most instruments get damaged - when the case and cello experience rough handling. Musilia cases are able to withstand 400kgs of pressure, but not all cases are equal.

There is almost no guarantee that your instrument won't get damaged when checking into cargo. That is why many professional cellists, like Yo-Yo Ma, choose to purchase an extra airline seat for their instrument. Since that is not a realistic option for most of us, you will have to do your best to ensure that any damage is minimal, of if repairs are needed, you have sufficient insurance cover on it.

Crescendo Music offers a service of preparing a cello ready for an aircraft journey if you do not have the confidence to do this for yourself. We can set the cello up again on it's return. Happy flying!