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Thread: Flying with a Besson Hard Case

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    26

    Flying with a Besson Hard Case

    Just after a bit of advice.

    I am the proud owner of a brand new Besson Sovereign Baritone BE955 and I am a little worried as I have to fly internationally with it very soon! I know there are quite a few threads on this topic, but they are more euphonium related. The flight is UK to Australia.

    The new Besson cases seem sturdier than the ones of old, which is great. I am just wanting to know the best way to prepare it for travel.

    I have seen advice for securing foam in the bell. Should I also wrap the case in any way other than a good luggage strap? Does anyone have any other tips?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Certainly the luggage strap is a good idea. Also, pack nothing hard in the case along with your horn...not even the mouthpiece. That last one is also a good safeguard in case the horn gets detoured and does not get there when you do. At least you can borrow an instrument and use your own mouthpiece. (You would hand carry your music for the same reason.)

    Beyond that I can't personally say much without seeing the case. Are there any hold-down straps inside? I assume is has a form-fitting molded interior, correct? If so, how snug is the horn when inside? Perhaps you could upload a photo of the horn lying in the case with the lid open.

    Fortunately for you, the baritone is less likely to get weight-shifting damage that plagues euphoniums in hard cases. The euphonium weighs a lot more, and if the case is dropped on the bell end, the weight of a compensating euphonium puts a lot of sudden weight on the bell. There is also a theoretical case advantage for baritones. Your case walls are probably the same thickness/strength as the case for a euphonium. Being smaller and having lighter contents, a baritone case is more likely to do a good job for you.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    26
    Thank you for the advice Dave. You really are a fount of knowledge!

    I shall be putting all the bits and pieces in my other checked luggage bag, so that's not issue at all.

    The case is quite sturdy. There are photos attached. I have an older Besson case to compare it to at the moment and it is thicker, has an extra latch in the middle and the baritone sits inside snuggly. If I grab the horn and give it a wiggle, there is little give. There are no hold down straps in it, unfortunately. They just give you a Besson branded felt sleeping bag kind of thing to put the horn in.

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  4. #4
    The 955 case will fit in overheads on all but the smallest regional jets and turboprops. Certainly with international travel it will most likely fit.

    I've developed a few strategies for making sure it gets on:

    1. always try to board early so that there's space. pay for early boarding, work on getting your frequent flyer status upgraded, etc. If you can't board in an early group, then make sure you're the first person in your group who gets on.
    2. don't carry your two items plus your instrument case. If possible, you want to be carrying ONLY your instrument . If you have to carry a second bag, make it something that can go under the seat in front of you. If someone on the plane gives you a hard time about it, it's a lot easier to deal with if its your only bag.
    3. If the gate agent wants you to gate check, don't put up an argument about it. Smile and say OK, and then carry the instrument on anyways. It's worked for me literally dozens of times.
    4. as you carry the instrument on, don't make a big deal about it. Carry it in such a way that you minimize how big it looks. Carry it on the opposite side from the gate agent. Don't bump it in to a ton of people as you carry it down the aisle. The less attention you attract with it the better.
    --
    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    26
    Cheer Barry.

    I had been thinking about this approach. I remember reading similar points to getting it on board somewhere. The case isn't that much bigger than my normal carry on bag, which can go underneath. It's 25cm over the total dimensions, which isn't massive, so it should fit. We are in an A380-800 and then a 777-300ER, so I would be surprised if it doesn't.

    What instruments have you used these tips with?

  6. #6
    multiple

    Yamaha YBH-831S in a packer JPro case (bonna knock-off in baritone size)
    Besson 2056 in the Besson prestige baritone case (same dimensions as your 955 case)
    Ewald Meinl tenor/alto sackbut double case
    Shires tenor trombone in a marcus bonna case
    Shires bass trombone in a marcus bonna case
    Kanstul 955 flugabone in a soundwear tenorhorn gig bag
    --
    Barry

  7. On the off chance that it doesn't fit in an overhead compartment, depending on the airline you may be able to get permission to store it in a coat closet, especially if you're on-board early and make it clear that you won't need access to it during the flight.

  8. Try finding a play ball that will fit in the bell; something that will keep the bell rim from directly contacting the case interior. This will act as a sort of shock absorber and can keep the bell from crinkling if there is some major jostling.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    26
    Nice work Barry. That fills me with lots of hope! Thank you.

    Cheers jimpjorps.

    Mike, what kind of ball would suggest? And do you mean that it should stick out the end of the bell and rest against the foam edging?

  10. Yes, it should stick out just a bit above the bell. The one I use with my baritone came from a sporting goods store, is soft plastic and about 6" in diameter. It has an opening so you can insert a pump needle. That way I can vary the size a bit. A small beach ball should work, too.

    The foam in most standard cases is pretty rigid. It's fine for routine bumps against walls an the like, but seems like it would transmit shock from a larger jolt to the instrument. All I know for sure is that Steve Dillon suggested the ball to me years ago and I've always used it for shipping and traveling since then.

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