The ones of you who happen to be musicians must know how frustrating it is to be asked to pay an insane sum of money just to carry your favorite instrument onboard every time you are taking a trip. Especially when your flight provider is one of the ‘cheap’ airlines (WizzAir, EasyJet, RyanAir etc) matters get the worse. Such companies use the so-called lure-and-rip-off tactics in order to make their profits: effectively meaning that they offer minimum-cost tickets so to entice passengers onboard their flights and subsequently find creative ways to cheat them into buying trivial additional services or ‘fining’ them for not abiding by their ill-expounded policies.
Such was the case on one of my recent RyanAir flights when I got forced to pay a €50 fee if I didn’t want to toss my guitar into the rubbish bin before the gate. It was a fairly small classical guitar, and my idea was to take it on hand for my cabin luggage. I had a suspicion I might not be allowed to do so due to the instrument slightly exceeding the size limit in one of its dimensions. That’s why I had an alternative plan, too. In case I met objections for taking it on hand, I was planning to tie it on my checked-in luggage with a pair of elastic ropes I had with me (which would technically make it one piece of luggage exceeding limits in neither size nor weight), assuming responsibility for damage myself. But things didn’t turn out well. What I got informed of upon standing in front of the check-in counter was that I simply have to pay an extra sum of money for carrying a musical instrument – “Sorry, these are the regulations”. Since I hadn’t prepaid for it, the fee applying was €50. Strangely, they didn’t have to give me any answer for how much it would have cost otherwise: if I had prepaid for it. Nor did they have any answer for whether I would still need to pay if it was a flute instead of a guitar or by what criteria and logic is a musical instrument defined as ‘charged’.
On my last RyanAir flight now, I tried to be prudent beforehand by attempting to prebook my instrument. However, to my bewilderment, I didn’t manage to find any such option on my ‘manage booking’ of the company’s app and website. Nor did I anywhere find any substantial source of information regarding the matter. It seemed like I would need to pay yet another €50 fee for carrying a guitar which cost new €80. But the deceived is perfectly justified to deceive the deceiver. So I rather decided to give it a try to smuggle the guitar onboard.
It was fairly easy. Proceeding to the check-in counter, I just shouldered the guitar upside-down. A black jacket in combination with the black guitar-case was of great aid, too. I took good care to stand close between other passengers and not turn my back towards the counters along the winding queue. And I walked away from the counter nimbly after I completed the check-in and gave a big smile to the staff. The exact same thing went for the boarding gate. The trickiest part was right before entering the plane. That was where I had – the previous time – delivered the instrument together with the payment receipt to the loading staff. They were then very quick to come to me, after seeing me carrying the guitar, as soon as I stepped foot outside of the shuttle. The shuttle stops right in front of the plane. Only the middle door opens so to make it easier for the bunch of staff waiting in front of it to control that no one takes up in the cabin any item not supposed to go there, like a guitar let’s say. The instrument worn on my back neck-down still, I take good position inside the bus so to exit it following about half the passengers and preceeding the other half. I take care
Only the middle door opens so to make it easier for the bunch of staff waiting in front of it to control that no one takes up in the cabin any item not supposed to go there, like a guitar let’s say. The instrument worn on my back neck-down still, I take good position inside the bus so to exit it following about half the passengers and preceeding the other half. I take care for having a group of them walking in close distance behind me and I make straight for the airstair. I face sideways towards the middle of the plane and the staff while going up. Inside the fuselage – though I doubt the stewardesses care – I am fast to place the guitar in the luggage compartment, behind other passengers’ bags. That’s pretty much how one may easily carry a guitar onboard a flight cost-free.