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Expert Advice for Flying with Marching Band Instruments Banner Image

Expert Advice for Flying with Marching Band Instruments

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by Rhoda Venture
Performance TripUncategorized

Your marching band is heading for an amazing performance venue – and you’re traveling by air to get there. How do you transport everyone’s instruments? Don’t panic – we’ve got you covered from Allegiant to Southwest! Here’s our expert advice for flying with marching band instruments!

9 Tips for Flying with Marching Band Instruments flying with marching band instruments

1. Check your airline’s policy FIRST.

Before you book your group’s flight, check your airline’s policy on musical instruments. Most policies are standard across the board, but there are a few exceptions.

To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of the major domestic carriers below and how they currently handle instruments (according to their websites.)

2. Pick the right flight.

When possible, choose a non-stop flight for your trip. If non-stop is not available, try for a direct flight before a flight with connections. A direct flight (which has a single flight number) may have more than one stop but does not require passengers to change planes.

This helps to reduce mishaps with checked instruments or keeps you from again having to find overhead storage on your connecting flight.

Pro Tip: If you’re flying with marching band instruments, the DOT recommends choosing off-peak times like Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday afternoon, or early Sunday morning.

3. Pack your instrument in a hard case.

Keep instruments in a hard-shell, padded case to reduce the risk of damage. You’ll also find that most airlines require a hard case for carry-ons.

flying with marching band instruments

4. Label cases and secure instruments.

Label cases clearly with student or school name and check that instruments are correctly secured inside. A few well-placed “fragile” stickers are also a good idea.

In addition, be sure to remove accessories, and other items from the case so that ONLY the instrument is inside. Students are notorious for tucking ‘extras’ into every nook and cranny they can find!

5. Prepare for security checks.

While musicians tend to be territorial with their instruments (translation- “hands off!”) chances are that TSA will want a peek inside.  Allow time in the schedule to get through security and repack instruments on the other side.

6. Take pictures.

Photograph everything pre-flight.  In the unfortunate event that an instrument is damaged or lost, you’ll have a record of the items.

flying with marching band instruments

7. Understand your travel protection options.

Research the post-departure benefits of your travel protection to understand what is covered and whether instruments are included in coverage.

8. Know your rights.

Check out the official Carriage of Musical Instruments Statement from the Department of Transportation for details regarding musical instruments aboard aircraft.

Pro Tip: Download or print a copy for easy access since airline personnel may not be familiar with them.

In the event that a problem pops up during the trip, visit U.S. DOT to file a complaint.

9. Consider shipping.

It may be in your band’s best interest to ship some instruments in advance. While a flute may fit neatly in a carry-on case, the drumline will have a harder time!

Shipping Your Drums

Flying with Marching Band Instruments

Flying with marching band instruments doesn’t have to be daunting. Do your homework ahead of time and partner with an experienced company specializing in student performance travel.

Kaleidoscope Adventures is an outstanding choice with more than 30 years in the industry and granular attention to detail. Online registration and payments, convenient crowdfunding options, and an expert team make your planning simple and efficient.


KA will work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish!



Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?

As a leader in the student travel industry for 30+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.

We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish

Learn More

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