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I am travelling to India from Europe flying Lufthansa. I want to carry a violin on-board the aircraft. It comes in a separately designed case, with a bow and strings. I am not sure what the dimensions of the violin case are. But i would like to know what the restrictions are for carrying a musical instrument on board an aircraft.

More specifically, I am taking Lufthansa from Stuttgart, Germany and travelling to Chennai, India.

I would prefer it as a carry on. But if it is part of check in, then would it be safe (without being damaged) when it reaches the destination? Has anybody had an experience in this route or airline with similar musical instruments (eg like a guitar) ??

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Lufthansa has already tried to respond to a person asking a similar question on their Facebook page:

Passenger:

Dear Lufthansa My sister is flying with Lufthansa on Thursday, from Johannesburg to Zagreb. She will be flying with her musical instrument, the violin. Please let me know how we can get permission for her to take her violin on board as hand luggage, as she cannot let it out of her sight, even for a second.

In the past, it was no problem to take it on board, but lately I know of some challenges. The violin in its case is les than 2 kg.

Lufthansa:

Dear Katrien, if your sister is travelling in Economy Class, then she is allowed to bring on piece of hand luggage into the cabin. The maximum weight is 8 kg and the maximum dimensions are 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm. If these restrictions are not exceeded than it shouldn’t be a problem to bring her violin into the cabin. More information about hand luggage can be found here: http://f.lh.com/eFkB

Passenger:

Thank you. The dimensions are 15 x 25 x 85 though.

Lufthansa:

Dear Katrien, as one of the given dimensions is exceeded I can't guarantee from my side that your sister will be allowed to bring her violin into the cabin. This decision needs to be made by my colleagues at the airport.

So it's going to depend on what size your case is, I suspect, and the feelings of staff at the airport, on the day, as to whether it's allowed as carry-on.

As for checking it, Lufthansa, like other airlines does their utmost to ensure it's safe. However, airports employ non-airline staff to handle luggage, so sometimes it's out of Lufthansa's control.

In the event it IS damaged (unlikely but possible), their page on how to handle this suggests:

  • Report the damage immediately at the airport
  • Make a subsequent complaint about damage
  • and that they'll compensate you according to their liability - roughly 1200 Euros, which can fluctuate.

So ideally you'll want good travel insurance, with your instrument itemised on that policy beforehand, with photos and details to prove it before you depart.

  • Even if the value is within the €1200 limit, insurance may be worthwhile, as the airline may disclaim liability (as StarPeru did after destroying my bicycle). The insurance company is better able to fight such nonsense than most of us. – WGroleau Jul 16 '16 at 10:32
  • Perhaps have a copy of United Breaks Guitars loaded up on your phone to play to anyone who wants you to check a prized musical instrument? – Patricia Shanahan Jul 16 '16 at 15:23

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