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Harmonicas and Airplanes

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Filip Jers
Oct 22, 2009 3:25 PM GMT

Hi

I like to hear some nice harmonica/airplane discussions

Latest year I have been flying a lot in Europe for different gigs.

I take as handluggage; 10 Diatonics, 3 chromatics and 1 bassharmonica+microphone.

I have different cases for every type of harp, then I put those 3 in a backpage which weights around 7 kilos.

In my checkinbag, I have 2 extra chromatics, 5 extra diatonics and pre-amp for bassharp.

Also the tools and tuner goes in the checkin.

This setup is never a problem

Anyone who has something nice to share?

/filip


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Comments (18)

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Oct 22, 2009 8:49 PM GMT
HarpMan Freeman Replied:

I was told by TSA (US Airport Security) to always inform the xray tech looking at the carry-ons that you have Harmonicas. As you may know already, in an x-ray, harmonica's resemble bullet clips for a hand gun. Before I knew this, I had myself patted down and all my belongs where spread out on a table, then I had to play one of the harmonicas to prove what they were.

The last time I went through Nashville, theattendanttold me that my harmonicas were not as well organized as other harmonica players that have gone through security. Mine are in a Cumberland leather case, so I couldn't figure that out.


Oct 23, 2009 1:00 AM GMT
walterharp Replied:

i used to have problems with them in the states, but the TSA guys got experienced and now just know what they are, and sometimes make a comment about how many harps. nobody has stopped me for a couple years, but they used to make me open my bag. last time i left santa fe with a bunch of frozen green chilis they did stop me though, and let me take them through after verifying they were still frozen :-)


Oct 23, 2009 3:25 AM GMT
Ricardo Replied:

In some in some South east Asian countries I have to open my case (8 harps) and play one. Some find it amazing that we have to carry more than one. In one occassion, I was asked if he could try them I said no of course. hehehe.


Oct 23, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
OrthodoxBlues Replied:

When we went to Bali this summer, I believe that I brought three or four. We flew from Kona, Hawaii to Honolulu to Narita, Japan to Taipei, Taiwan to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. On the way back, we skipped Japan. They confiscated my wife's tiny pocket knife in Japan, but there never was a peep about those harps.


Oct 23, 2009 7:02 AM GMT
Filip Jers Replied:

OKey! Nice to hear. I can assure you that in Europe, its always very alright to take them inside the plane. Germany is best, sometimes you hear, Ahh Ein Diatonische Mundharmonika, Unt Ja, du Spielt das Chromatsiche ausch! There its a known instrument, so its nice.

i always open my bag of diatonics and show them, i have soft case with 14 harps, so they see it directly.

They often dont understand what the bassharp is, but its just funny..


Oct 23, 2009 4:50 PM GMT
André D Replied:

I have flight many times with a full box of harmonica about 20 and nerver had any problem in Europe and Canada but always beencomplicated in USA they always want to check them one by one... but at the end the always let me cary them whit me in the cabin.


Oct 28, 2009 11:32 PM GMT
blogward Replied:

Hmmm. Anybody ever toyed with the idea of solid cocaine harp combs? Might be hard to play for long if unsealed. JOKE.


Oct 28, 2009 11:38 PM GMT
Joe L Replied:

Never had a problem carrying on ten diatonics in a case. The TSA people never looked at it twice.


Nov 02, 2009 3:08 PM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

I've had a couple of questions--mostly about why I would need to carry so many harps--but no real problems--one guy at security did stop me to ask about where he could learn to play...


Nov 19, 2009 10:08 PM GMT
Gyuri P Replied:

I ususally have only one harmonicain my pocket during flight or any travel, but the security staff asked about it only once. Aha, harmonica, OK.


Dec 09, 2009 8:30 AM GMT
Steve C Replied:

I rarely have a problem with the plastic comb harps but when ever I fly with my Hohner 580 Meisterklasse with the metal comb they always want to open my bag and check it out. Like mentioned below they say it looks like a magazine to a handgun.


Dec 09, 2009 10:44 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

Mine harps are all with plastic and wood combs, so no problem. I even had a pedalboard with me. I put all harp tocheckinbag, but take as handluggage two mics, wireless system, two delays and other stompboxes, they are not carefull with luggage. Harmonicas are not so fragile as tube stompboxes ((: So no problems even with effect pedals.


Dec 09, 2009 7:44 PM GMT
Not a Replied:

I travel with 7 harps (minimum) on every plane trip I go on. i take these with me in my carry on. My bags get searched about half the time, and almost always they are looking for my harp case. As soon as I show them what they are, they let me go though... Not too much hassle, and I appreciate that they are on the lookout for "odd" looking stuff. Not too many people are traveling with more than one harp, I imagine!


Dec 09, 2009 9:25 PM GMT
Patrice R Replied:

About 90% of the time I have to show my harmonicas but mainly I guess because my small case to carry 12 diatonic harmonicas is for a camera so all together that looks like some munition for a gun :) ...And as soon as they see all the harmonicas I see a smile on their face so finally all is OK. But I have been told by some American native friend that everytime they leave the US they first have to show heir harmonica and then play :) ... Is that true ?

So if I come with an electric guitare do they have amplifiers :) and what is the model ;) ?


Dec 09, 2009 9:45 PM GMT
Not a Replied:

I leave the us frequently, and like i said, it's about 50% of the time I get stopped b/c of the harps. The most interesting time was in CHICAGO of all places! they acted like they never had heard of anyone trying to travel with harmonicas! Remember, THIS WAS IN CHICAGO, HOME OF THE BLUES! Hilarious!


Dec 10, 2009 12:23 AM GMT
eric h Replied:

i was asked to play once at the airport. i gave them "hoochie coochie man" w/ some ad lib lyrics. i actually got some applause when i was done. maybe because i was done!

i was roused by the cops in columbus at the buckeye, too. i guess i wasnt in the best neighborhood. waiting for a gym to open. they had no idea about harps or the convention. he asked me to play. some train chugging seemed to keep me out of the can.


Jan 10, 2010 9:46 AM GMT
Andrew T Replied:

I flew recently and I had 8 or 9 diatonic harps (in their individual plastic and wooden boxes)in the front pouch of my backpack and they stopped my bag in the little xray conveyer belt thingy for un uncomfortably long period of time. Then they asked what I had in there and asked if they could check. They varified that I was telling the truth about transporting harmonicas haha. I also didn't properly store my 3oz or less containers of hygiene products in the proper size clear sandwich bag things but that's neither here nor there. I can see due to the shape, mass, and mechanics of the instrument how it can give airport security pause.




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