Whether you are a professional drummer or just playing drums for fun, you may want to travel by plane with your cymbals. But, can you bring cymbals on a plane?
In most cases, you can. But, they must fit the size requirements for the airline and this slightly varies depending on which one you take. Also, TSA will require screening if you plan to take cymbals in carry-on baggage.
keep reading to know more about taking cymbals in both carry-on and checked baggage.
Let’s dive right in.
Can You Take Cymbals Through The Security Checkpoint?
Yes, you can take cymbals through the security checkpoint.
They will undergo inspection and scanning by a TSA security agent, and as long as everything checks out, they should let you through.
Here is a screenshot from the TSAw website.
However, because some security agents might be too cooky and strict depending on the airport you’re in it is wise if you communicate with them gently.
Or show them a copy of your performance invitation or request (if you have one ) with a detailed explanation of how the airline you fly with accepts the size limits of your cymbals.
If you have any doubts or questions you can ask the TSA on their social media, as Regena did.
She wanted to bring a snare drum and cymbals in her carry-on baggage.
The TSA customer service replied that musical instruments are allowed through the security checkpoint, but she will need to check with the airline regarding their size limits.
If you are taking other items along with your cymbals you should also consider their shape and size.
For example this passenger wanted to bring this drum cymbal stand on his flight.
The TSA customer service replied that Items that can be used as a bludgeon, like a drum cymbal stand, are allowed only in checked bags, not in carry-on baggage.
How Do You Transport Cymbals On a Plane?
Most airlines do recommend transporting musical instruments like cymbals in checked baggage.
But the best way to transport small and expensive cymbals is by keeping them with you in the cabin.
This way, you’ll be able to protect them all the time and avoid any possible damage.
Of course, you can take cymbals in checked baggage, but you run the risk of incurring dings, destroyed or cracked if not handled carefully.
This is because baggage handlers will not have the same amount of care for them that you do.
Keeping them with you also means you reduce the likelihood of them getting stolen or lost.
The other thing about transporting cymbals as a carry-on is that most airlines will require they fit in the storage areas above your seat or below the seat in front of you.
If your cymbals are too big like ride cymbals, it will be a good idea to transport them as checked baggage or ship them with insurance via a carrier like FedEx or UPS.
How To Pack Cymbals For a Flight?
The way you pack cymbals for a flight will depend on their size and comprising materials.
If they are finger cymbals, like what you see in belly dance, then putting them in a cotton pouch inside a carry-on bag will be sufficient.
However, if they are for something like a drum kit or percussion setup, then you’ll need to have a hard shell case with padding on the inside.
There should be a case or bag suited to each cymbal or a specially designed case to house multiple cymbals. Additionally, some people wrap up each cymbal with an old shirt or sheet for extra protection.
It’s also a good idea to have cymbal cases that lock or purchase a padlock for them.
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What Are the Size Limits for Major Airlines?
Every airline will have different requirements for carrying an instrument onto the plane with you.
The chart below details a few of these.
Irrespective of this list, you should always contact your airline ahead of time to get more information and notify them that you are taking cymbals with you.
Please note that not all airlines consider personal items (like purses, laptops and camera bags) a carry-on, it’s additional luggage and baggage that counts.
|Airline||Carry-on Size||Max Weight|
|Alaska Airlines||22” x 14” x 9”||n/a|
|Allegiant Air||22” x 14” x 9” (sizing fee of $10 to $75)||n/a|
|American Airlines||22” x 14” x 9”||n/a|
|Delta Airlines||22” x 14” x 9”||Weight limits for Singapore (15 lbs), Shanghai (22 lbs) and Beijing (22 lbs); n/a for all others|
|Frontier Airlines||22” x 16” x 9”||35 lbs|
|Hawaiian Airlines||22” x 16” x 9”||25 lbs|
|Jet Blue||22” x 14” x 9”||n/a|
|Southwest Airlines||24” x 16” x 10”||n/a|
|Spirit Airlines||22” x 18” x 10”||n/a|
|United Airlines||22” x 14” x 9”||n/a|
So, to put a final answer to the question: can you bring cymbals on a plane? Yes, you very much can bring them with you.
However, if you choose to transport them in your carry-on luggage, expect a physical inspection at the security checkpoint.
It is important to ensure that the size of your cymbals is within the size limits of your airline.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to transport expensive cymbals in your carry-on instead of checked baggage.
We hope this helps
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