Cello Shipping

how to bring a cello on an international flight without paying for extra seat or storing it with luggage?

I live in the US, but i have a cello in Taiwan that I would like to bring back to the US, but I dont want to pay for an extra seat or check it in with the other luggages because it is fragile. Is there a way I can bring it back to the US without doing either of these things?

I don't know how different it is for international flights, but my son plays the cello and we had to travel with it once from Michigan to Arizona. We were not permitted to put it in a seat as we were told it is a safety hazard since it can not be secured. We did not want it to go through the checked luggage conveyor belt either. What we ended up doing was gate checking it. We took it with us through security then kept it with us until we boarded the plane. We left it at the end of the runway and it was hand carried under the plane. Once we landed, it was hand carried back to us at the end of the runway. I believe my son loosened all the strings for travel. He has a hard case for it now, but at the time he didn't, so we borrowed a metal travel case. I would suggest that you call the airlines you will be traveling on to let them know you will be traveling with it and see if they have another way of handling it on an international flight. I know that we had no trouble getting from Michigan to Arizona, but when we came back home, we had to insist at the check-in counter that we were going to gate check it. The agent tried to say we couldn't, but we said that we had already done it coming to Arizona, then she "changed her tune" and was all helpful and friendly. This was before 9-11 so there may be extra security you'll have to go through. If your cello is expensive and it is not already insured, ask your home owner's insurance agent to add it on as a rider. You could pay to have it shipped, but we are personally leary of that since my son's friend had a cello shipped from California to Michigan and it arrived smashed to bits. It was insured, but then she had to go through the hassle of finding another one that she liked. Many people don't realize how time consuming it is to find a stringed instrument that is just right. I know I didn't know until my son took up the cello in 5th grade. He is 25 now and plays beautifully.

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