I need to travel among several eastern US cities to auditions and must bring along my instrument: a (huge) double bass.

What is the best way to travel, given that I do not drive, but that most of the cities on my itinerary are connected by rail, bus services, and, of course air. For example, does anyone have experiences taking a double base on the Acela, or in a Manhattan cab?


I would suggest that on Acela you book another seat as Acela as far as I can tell doesn't have a baggage car.

As far as Manhattan is concerned there are minivan, SUV, and those new Ford Transit cabs that you might be able to fit in. Other cities on the East coast I have no idea.

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    Would vote this down as bad info if I had the rep. Even on Acela, the seats aren't nearly big enough. A double bass is big. About all you can do is try to get one of the Amtrak cars that have large open areas for ovrsized luggage. Ask the conductor before boarding, which car should I get on? Even then, a double bass is outside the size guidelines for Amtrak. However, I see people travel with huge suitcases all the time. You might be okay, you might not be. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 14 '12 at 23:01
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    @neilfein Based on the case dimensions and business and first class seat dimensions. The double bass should be able to travel on its side on the seats. – Karlson Feb 15 '12 at 2:46
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    With all due respect, a double bass has particular concerns. Have a look at a hard case, the dimensions in particular. It's a bit larger than the soft case you link to, but not too much bigger. These cases are six feet tall! You'd need to balance the case upside-down on the seat for the entire train ride. And - like Jim Steinman said - that's no way to treat an expensive musical instrument! Still, I suppose people do it! – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 15 '12 at 5:05
  • A double bass will certainly not fit in an Acela seat. "I have no idea" seems to be the answer here. – orome Mar 5 '13 at 18:29

This is obviously too late for the OP, but it may be useful to others:

On Acela, there is room in the café car for a double bass to stand upright since the Acela café car has no overhead storage and compact, bar-stool-style seating. You'll have to board early if you want one of those bar stools, though, since there are only 7 available; otherwise you may have to stand for the trip (which is fine; the conductor will still scan your ticket).

You can also take regular Northeast Regional trains. Each car has a narrow but full-height compartment at one end intended for luggage. If you are lucky enough to find an empty one, a double bass might be able to fit. At the end of each car there is usually a set of chairs facing each other that can (uncomfortably) seat four people. If the train is not full, you can probably place the double bass in this type of seat, perhaps with enough space for you to sit there too. There is also often an open area, usually by the lavatory, that I think is intended for passengers in wheelchairs. I often see people store large pieces of luggage there. If you are able to snag one of those seats, you could potentially prop the double bass on an angle against the wall. There is also a similar open area in the cafe cars. You will of course have to give up that area if a handicapped person needs it, though.

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