Carry-on Luggage

thats what i was thinkin

Always carry on. Most airlines even allow bigger sizes as carry on when you tell them its a musical instrument.


Carry on. We also check them using a large pelican case (eg: what we’re doing for NAMM right now)

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No issues flying with my modular in the USA, experiences may vary elsewhere.

Note that in the USA airlines are required to allow your musical instrument as a carry-on if there is room in the overhead bin when you board. See here:

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I took my 6U 104hp Eastwick case from London to Milan (and back) and from London to Sydney (and back) as carry on and it was fine. If you’re flying with a super cheap airline I’d say try not to have another backpack with you, just in case they want you to only have one piece of carry on, but it’s been fine both times for me.

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Any advice out here on bigger sized keyboard luggage (backpack or wheels? any preferences?) I’m long overdue buying a new one and I really wonder what people here are doing when they travel with less compact setups (49/61keys keyboard is officially 0% compact and practical so really, it’s interesting to me)

for large “generic” things i’d say ask for backline/equipment at the venue ?

Yeah no, everything I use is super carefully designed and scripted there’s no way I can ask for Backline / Equipment at every venue otherwise I wouldn’t even start to consider buying an expensive bag ^^

TSA is pretty whimsical with hand tools, FYI. i recently had my favorite pair of wire strippers confiscated, after probably like 100 flights with the things. i guess the length from the tip to end of handle was >6in, which in one agent’s estimation was sufficient for attention - despite the “business end” being like 1.5in. ah well.

agree, “synthesizers” aren’t a particular problem. literally everyone has gadgets. they seem to care more about the various bits of steel or aluminum that tend to accompany them. i get my stuff singled for bomb-sniffing probably 4/5 times, and i think this is basically because of opacity to x-rays.

it was actually harder in the old days, when traveling with personal electronics was “weird” and they would ask you to “turn it on.”

(my dad’s unhelpful reaction: “i could totally build a bomb into a working radio if i wanted to! you moron!!!”)

i would also like to second the importance of memorizing and/or carrying a hard copy of section 403 of FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. this applies to any kind of musical instrument that can physically fit into overhead bin; in my case it has been invaluable for violas and “travel” sized acoustic guitars. board early when possible.


pure gold. thanks for sharing.


I’m curious to how weight comes into that FAA act. My enclave case is within carry on sizes but a little over the usual weight limit for carry on.

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Don’t know how it is in the US, but I’ve never ever had a carry on bag weighed. Actually, even when flying to north america.

As someone who has been “randomly” screened nearly every time I’ve been in an airport since 9/11, I’ve learned that a good attitude goes a long way at the airport.

If you are really sweet to the flight attendants, they will gladly stow your gear in the “coat closet” in the first class section. This, of course, only works if you aren’t flying one of the budget airlines.

As far as TSA is concerned, if you have any issue with the screener, ask politely to have a supervisor hand inspect/swab your stuff.

Remember that these folks are just doing their job. You’ll be surprised at the ease of travel when you treat everyone you encounter with respect and a smile.


Chrome’s rolltop bags seconded – if you wait around long enough, they will have a clearance sale. I got mine (all matte black) for sub-$100. My only frustration is the lack of internal pockets other than a laptop sleeve and few tiny open pockets adjacent to it.

Regarding carry-on bags, I always use a backpack.


For personal travel, I can pack a week worth of clothes, toiletries and a sleeping bag into a classic style Jansport.

These days I mostly travel with my 7 year old daughter who has special needs. I carry all of our stuff in my backpack. In the last couple of years I’ve become fond of the tactical style backpacks. They usually have tons of expanded room but can also compress down for light packing. You can also buy loads of auxiliary bags that can be attached to the webbing on the outside if you need them. A lot of the have the benefit of being able to carry them several ways. My current bag has backpack straps as well as a nice comfortable handle on both the top and side.

Backpacks also give you the added bonus of not looking like a tourist. That’s something to consider for all you guys carrying around $10k worth of gear in your bag.

i have the previous model of this

and its taken a huge beating on the trail and traveling and gigs. fits under the seat in front of you. the pocket for hydration fits a 15” mac book pro perfectly.

Fjällräven bags are a little pricey but I just discovered that their Mini bag is a perfect fit for various bits of small synth equipment. They also have larger models that are a better value.

Recently flew from DC to LA for a show and traveled with a 12u elite modular case and a 3u make noise skiff in a moog therimini soft with no problems bringing them carry on. Elite 12u fits easily in the overhead compartment.

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The Blipcase is on sale again, 40% off:

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+1 for the Moog theremini case, they practically give these away and it’s perfect for the MN 104hp skiff, has an interior velcro pouch for cables, as well as an exterior zippered pouch that holds a 128 grid and power bricks. can’t believe they don’t market it as a skiff case.