Strumming in the Sky: Can I Take a Violin on a Plane?

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Find out if you can take your beloved instrument on a plane

As a violinist, you might be intimately familiar with the delicate nature of your instrument. So, when it’s time to board a plane, you’re faced with a difficult question: “Can I take a violin on a plane?” The thought of entrusting your beloved instrument to the cargo hold might fill you with dread. But don’t fret! We’ve got all the information you need to navigate the skies with your violin.


  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows musical instruments, including violins, as carry-on or checked baggage.
  • Some airlines have specific policies regarding musical instruments.
  • Communicating with your airline in advance can ensure a smoother experience.
  • Proper packing and protective cases are crucial.
  • Insurance can provide extra peace of mind.

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The FAA and Your Violin

According to the FAA, violins are allowed as carry-on or checked baggage. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your violin is guaranteed a spot in the overhead bin. The final decision often rests with the airline, and they may have specific guidelines about instrument size and casing requirements.

What Do Airlines Say?

Most airlines aim to accommodate musicians as much as possible. For instance, they may allow you to bring your violin onboard as a carry-on item if there’s space available in the overhead bins. However, some airlines might require you to purchase an extra seat for your instrument, especially if it’s larger than their standard carry-on dimensions. It’s always a good idea to check your airline’s specific policy before your flight.

Packing Your Violin for Air Travel

As renowned violinist Joshua Bell pointed out, the violin is a particularly delicate instrument. So, it’s crucial to pack it properly for air travel. Most musicians recommend placing your violin in a hard case for maximum protection. You might also want to consider using a case cover for an extra layer of security.

Communication Is Key

Planning ahead and communicating with your airline can save you a lot of stress. This advice is echoed by the American Federation of Musicians, who recommend making arrangements for your instrument ahead of time. Some airlines offer a pre-boarding option for musicians, which can help ensure there’s space for your violin in the overhead bin.

Insuring Your Instrument

While we hope your travels will be smooth and your violin safe, it’s always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected. That’s why many musicians choose to insure their instruments. Instrument insurance can cover damage, theft, and even depreciation of your violin, giving you peace of mind as you travel.

Concluding Thoughts

Traveling with a violin can be a daunting experience, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can ensure your instrument arrives safely at your destination. Remember: communication is key, packing is paramount, and insurance can be invaluable. So, next time you’re asked, “Can I take a violin on a plane?” you can confidently answer, “Yes, I can!”


Can I carry my violin in a soft case on a plane?

While it’s not prohibited, a hard case is strongly recommended for better protection.

Should I loosen my violin strings before flying?

Yes, it’s advisable to loosen your violin strings before flying. Changes in temperature and pressure can cause strings to snap.

Can I buy a seat for my violin?

Yes, some airlines allow you to purchase an additional seat for your instrument. Check with your specific airline for their policy.

What if my violin is damaged during the flight?

If your violin is damaged during your flight, contact your airline immediately. If you have instrument insurance, you should also inform your provider as soon as possible.

Can I store my violin in the overhead bin?

Yes, if there’s enough space and your airline allows it, you can store your violin in the overhead bin. Remember to board early to secure a spot.

Also check out: Can I take a guitar on a plane?


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