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Anyone brought a Kronos 61 onto a plane?


richforman
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Subject says it all really.  Experiences? Doable? I bought a heavy duty flight case in case I need to bring mine for an upcoming flyaway gig, it doesn't look like one will be provided by backline it's a cruise and I'm told they only provide controllers,  not specific model keyboards). I guess the total weight in the case will be right around 70 lbs.  If you've done this,  how much did it cost? Did the keyboard survive intact? Does it have to be arranged with the airline ahead of time or can you just wheel it in and check it at the baggage check? I got a roadrunner flight case which seems to have a good reputation for protection on a flight. 

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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G’day Rich,

 

Never a Kronos, but I take both a 61 key Krome and King Korg on planes regularly.

 

I use Gator flight cases which are light but very robust.

 

Never had an issue with damage - can’t speak to costs as obviously it will be different in your part of the world.

 

Hope that helps a little.

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AWB flies with a lot of our own gear and I've been doing it with them since I joined 9 years ago. We all have "gold" or higher frequent flyer status which entitles us to bring 2 pieces up to 70 lbs each for free. I assume each airline would spell out its baggage policies on their web site. I probably don't need to tell you it's a good idea to make 100% sure of what those policies are, and if your keyboard is right near that 70lb weight limit, well, be ready for a severe lightening of your wallet. I just looked at United's site and a 3rd bag is $150. An oversized bag is $200. Overweight – 51 to 70 lbs – is $100, 71 to 100 lbs is $200. If AWB had to pay these charges we probably couldn't afford to do many of the gigs we do.

 

My gear has never had a problem, but it's light - a 10 lb keyboard and a bass, both in plastic SKB cases, inside a single large heavy-duty canvas bag (so it counts as one piece). The bag is still less than 50 lbs. We've had some of our heavier (>50 lbs) racks damaged. I saw two of them come out the baggage belt with their front pieces missing and the faceplates of our wireless units smashed. Making a claim is a bitch of a process - United insisted on seeing original receipts, which isn't easy when it's stuff you might have had for over 10 years.

 

Anyway, to answer your Q specifically (finally, right? 🙂  )- we've never called the airline in advance, I can't see the need if your weight & dimensions are within the allowable limits.

 

I have read a few posts here that seem to suggest a 61-key keyboard in a soft gig bag might be OK to bring on the plane with you. It would have to fit in an overhead compartment and you would not be guaranteed space, so you'd want to make sure you're in an early boarding group. I hereby disclaim responsibility for this scenario not playing out as I just described, should you decide to attempt it – again, there are rules spelled out in various places on the web, but all it takes is a flight attendent having a bad day to put the kibosh on this. Good luck!

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Had my Kronos 61 and Nord Stage2 88 in Gator TSA cases back and forth to the UK and Dubai a few times over the years on Emirates when I was doing a 5 day a week residency. I always told the airline I was coming and not a problem. Just check it in - and tell them "Mr. Nibbles" sent you.

It helped that a cargo finance manager used to like our band, so he always got me good rates. Maybe $300 return!
Only once it didn't end up on the same plane, so had to go back to the airport cargo bay the next day. But, very well looked after.

I believe Dnata is the operating company at both Newcastle UK and Dubai - treat the gear very well.

As a side note - he used to buy us a bottle of very expensive brandy maybe once a week. Was very well appreciated.

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Yes, I did a fair amount when I lived in Hawaii, but mostly on shorter flights. Getting a good case is key... I had an ancient SKB molded case and it didn't provide much "shock/drop" protection. Got to a gig only to find the top 1/2 octave of keys were all broken.... the backs of the keys had cracked/sheared off. Moved up to a more modern Gator case w/wheels and never had another problem. But the case is much heavier.

 

Here's an important note: When you tell an airline your object is precious/fragile, and they put a fragile tag on it that you have to sign, look at the wording on the back carefully. In my instance, by signing the tag I was absolving the airline of any responsibility in case anything happened to the keyboard! Talk about a catch 22... So be very observant of these little loopholes...

 

Jerry

 

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A friend of mine, flying with a 65 lb case, realized for one of his flights that the extra money for booking into first class from economy was almost identical to the charge that would have been imposed for being 15 lbs over the airline's 50 lb limit, and that in first class bags up to 70 lb were allowed free of charge.   Probably a good chance it wouldn't work in most cases, but not a bad outcome if it does.

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Synths on a plane. 

That series of plane movies never goes well.

If you fly with a board you need a flight case. A molded gator case might last 1 or 2 flights but you really need 1/4" Ata 300 spec laminated wood with 1.5" foam.

Get the optional edgecasters and pull handle. It will weight about 45 lbs 

And cost about $450.

There are many cheaper and lighter options that LOOK LIKE a good Ata 300 spec case but you'll put the money back in getting them repaired after 1 or 2 uses or getting your board repaired. 

 

I worked for a major case co for about 20 years. I've designed,  built, repaired, shipped and sales'd them. 

 

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I am the primary suggester of the bring-aboard option that @Reezekeys mentions. The International Musicians Union negotiated an agreement with the airlines a fair number of years ago that makes instruments of stowable size an exception to the size rules. You can even print a letter from the union website summarizing this agreement and bring it with you, in case by some stretch the gate agent doesn't know this (but they will). The instrument has to fit either under a seat (not applicable to us obviously) or in the overhead, but does not have to be within the usual length limits. 

I have never checked my Nord 3 Compact, not even to Europe, and also never even been looked at twice for having it, beyond some very careful scrutiny with the explosives wand on the far side of security. In all the years of doing this--all post-9/11 and many post-PITA-carryon rules, regardless of boarding group or any other factor--I've never had a problem stowing it above. There is also a "coat closet" up by the cockpit, and if it ever comes down it, it fits easily there, and that's better for us anyway because that's where we exit. I often just ask for it on the way in.

The one and only time I have had any issue, ever, was an 88-key Nord (Stage), on a commuter airline, where I'd had some idea it could happen and packed it accordingly. 

There is some YMMV caveat, since, you know, airlines, but if I had to travel tomorrow I'd do the same without thinking twice (with 2" of bubble wrap in all directions just in case).

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

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1 hour ago, Jr. Deluxe said:

Synths on a plane. 

That series of plane movies never goes well.

If you fly with a board you need a flight case. A molded gator case might last 1 or 2 flights but you really need 1/4" Ata 300 spec laminated wood with 1.5" foam.

Get the optional edgecasters and pull handle. It will weight about 45 lbs 

And cost about $450.

There are many cheaper and lighter options that LOOK LIKE a good Ata 300 spec case but you'll put the money back in getting them repaired after 1 or 2 uses or getting your board repaired. 

 

I worked for a major case co for about 20 years. I've designed,  built, repaired, shipped and sales'd them. 

 

Not to contradict but... I've been flying with my A800 Pro in a plastic SKB case I used with a Roland XP50. It's very old (pic below) - I don't know if they're making them like this now. It's also very light, with extra foam inside since my A800 is smaller than the XP50. Knock on wood but after nine years and 400,000+ miles all is still well. I put this case in a large canvas bag with my bass, also in an SKB case. Maybe because the keyboard and case are so light, there's not as much inertia happening when it gets bumped around? Or am I just extremely lucky? In my experience traveling with the band I work with, it's the heavier gear (ironically in a plywood Calzone case) that's been damaged. I also have a theory that baggage handlers and TSA workers don't like dealing with heavy bags or cases – it pisses them off!

 

I have nothing bad to say about the big guns except what they might do to your back. I used Calzones and Anvil cases in my younger days - I even had a 1/2" plywood Calzone custom made for my Ensoniq Mirage! You could run that over with a Mack truck without worrying about what was inside.

SKB case.jpg

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18 hours ago, MathOfInsects said:

I am the primary suggester of the bring-aboard option that @Reezekeys mentions. The International Musicians Union negotiated an agreement with the airlines a fair number of years ago that makes instruments of stowable size an exception to the size rules. You can even print a letter from the union website summarizing this agreement and bring it with you, in case by some stretch the gate agent doesn't know this (but they will). The instrument has to fit either under a seat (not applicable to us obviously) or in the overhead, but does not have to be within the usual length limits. 

 

Yes. It can be helpful to check the particular plane ahead of time, since overhead compartment sizes vary, and what fits in one plane's overhead may not fit in another. Also, when choosing your seats, keep boarding order in mind, i.e. that, after priority passengers, the main compartment generally (always?) boards starting with the seats furthest back, so go for those. The sooner you get on, the easier time you'll have finding a completely empty overhead compartment. (Of course, if you've got priority boarding for some other reason, that's not an issue.) The "coat closet" mentioned is a nice alternative, but there's no guarantee it will be available to you.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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16 hours ago, Reezekeys said:

Not to contradict but... I've been flying with my A800 Pro in a plastic SKB case I used with a Roland XP50. It's very old (pic below) - I don't know if they're making them like this now. It's also very light, with extra foam inside since my A800 is smaller than the XP50. Knock on wood but after nine years and 400,000+ miles all is still well. I put this case in a large canvas bag with my bass, also in an SKB case. Maybe because the keyboard and case are so light, there's not as much inertia happening when it gets bumped around? Or am I just extremely lucky? In my experience traveling with the band I work with, it's the heavier gear (ironically in a plywood Calzone case) that's been damaged. I also have a theory that baggage handlers and TSA workers don't like dealing with heavy bags or cases – it pisses them off!

 

I have nothing bad to say about the big guns except what they might do to your back. I used Calzones and Anvil cases in my younger days - I even had a 1/2" plywood Calzone custom made for my Ensoniq Mirage! You could run that over with a Mack truck without worrying about what was inside.

SKB case.jpg

This reminds me of the argument that I don't need car insurance because I've never had an accident. That may work for you because you are mr lucky. But it's not sensible advice to give in my opinion because accidents do happen to many other people.

But yes if you can carry your gear yourself and not let it be handled by an airline baggage handler then a lighter duty option can be a way to go.

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1 hour ago, Jr. Deluxe said:

This reminds me of the argument that I don't need car insurance because I've never had an accident. That may work for you because you are mr lucky.

 

This is also a perspective to keep in mind regarding my previous comment about carry-on. It's never 100% guaranteed. (Heck, your SEAT isn't 100% guaranteed, people do get bumped!) I'd have to assume there is always SOME chance that they simply have no space for it and will insist it be checked, which, without a true flight case, probably gives you about a 1% chance of it arriving in perfect condition at the other end of your flight. Maybe someone else could speak to this more authoritatively. (MoI?) I'd at least look for the smallest board you could possibly get through the gig with, to maximize the ability to find on-board space for it...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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2 hours ago, Jr. Deluxe said:

This reminds me of the argument that I don't need car insurance because I've never had an accident. That may work for you because you are mr lucky. But it's not sensible advice to give in my opinion because accidents do happen to many other people.

But yes if you can carry your gear yourself and not let it be handled by an airline baggage handler then a lighter duty option can be a way to go.

 

I'm not advising anybody to do anything, just relating my experience - which as I said is flying over 400,000 miles both nationally and internationally, over a period of nine years. BTW the more recent version of my SKB case is called an "ATA 61 Note Keyboard Case" (Model: 1SKB-4214W). SKB clearly intends it as a case that can fly in a baggage compartment.  https://www.skbcases.com/products/ata-61-note-keyboard-case

 

As far as being "mr lucky": you really think anyone can be that lucky, with the amount of flying I've done, considering the stories we hear about traveling with instruments? I don't think so. I think my case is adequate for the particular (meaning, light) keyboard I use. If someday it gets damaged, that's life - nine years of safe travel are on the other side of that scale, and as I said, I saw expensive and heavy Calzone rack cases get damaged, not the SKBs. Of course I understand the logic that a plywood case is better at protecting something than a plastic one. For things like puncture-type incidents, obviously. Getting thrown on & off a baggage cart or conveyor belt is a little less obvious. I believe heavier cases are subject to rougher handling – and that, imo, plays a part in what I've seen.

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20 hours ago, Reezekeys said:

Not to contradict but... I've been flying with my A800 Pro in a plastic SKB case I used with a Roland XP50. It's very old (pic below) - I don't know if they're making them like this now. It's also very light, with extra foam inside since my A800 is smaller than the XP50. Knock on wood but after nine years and 400,000+ miles all is still well. I put this case in a large canvas bag with my bass, also in an SKB case. Maybe because the keyboard and case are so light, there's not as much inertia happening when it gets bumped around? Or am I just extremely lucky? In my experience traveling with the band I work with, it's the heavier gear (ironically in a plywood Calzone case) that's been damaged. I also have a theory that baggage handlers and TSA workers don't like dealing with heavy bags or cases – it pisses them off!

 

I have nothing bad to say about the big guns except what they might do to your back. I used Calzones and Anvil cases in my younger days - I even had a 1/2" plywood Calzone custom made for my Ensoniq Mirage! You could run that over with a Mack truck without worrying about what was inside.

SKB case.jpg

Well, that’s the exact case that my Kronos ended up with a 1/2 octave of keys busted with… so we each have our own experiences. 
 

Jerry

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Sorry to hear that Jerry. Maybe I am extraordinarily lucky. AWB uses the light molded SKBs for our guitars & basses and now that I remember, there was an incident a few years ago with one of our guitars. One thing to think about is that it's TSA personnel that open & inspect your baggage, unlike the handlers that just move it. We've had racks come off the conveyor with evidence of having our wireless units unscrewed. The evidence is that they didn't bother to screw them back in! The rack units were loose with screws rattling around inside. The keyboardist playing my chair before me brought a Nord and he had stuff unscrewed on occasion as well. They did have the courtesy to at least throw whatever part they took off back into the case.

 

I'll say it again - I think my A800, being very light and plastic-y, with no obvious way to disassemble (like rack gear or Nords), may not get the same kind or amount of abuse as a heavier piece of equipment. Being packed inside a bag helps too. It's pretty snug in there and that helps a lot if the latches open. I think that may have happened once, thanks to TSA. And my bass has a nice gouge in it, courtesy of TSA as well. The case's ability to protect had no bearing on that!

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On 3/31/2022 at 5:20 PM, richforman said:

...it doesn't look like one will be provided by backline it's a cruise and I'm told they only provide controllers,  not specific model keyboards)

Color me curious to know what kind of KB controllers this backline company is willing to provide especially for a fly-in gig. 

 

Most backline companies offer some type of Yamaha, Roland or Korg pro-level KB. The more fancy backline outfits have Nord KBs too. 😎

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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