Flying with cymbals???

Dom Chandler

Junior Member
Hi guys/gals, I've got a few European gigs to do and I will be taking my cymbals, What is the best way to do this?
I'm flying from London to Stockholm back to London and up to Scotland.
Do I go cymbal vault/flight case in the cargo hold, or try and keep my babies close to me in a pro racket bag?
if anyone has any advice I would be most grateful.
Dom Chandler


Pioneer Member
With all the rules and regulations for flying now, you may be safer with a hard flight case because they probably won't let you carry them on, but I could be wrong. Bring a soft case with you, and if they say no. Transfer them to the hard case and check em.


Silver Member
I've flown with a soft case a couple times before, it's pretty easy. Sometimes they'll search your bag at the security gate but they've always let me through. Just make sure there's nothing ELSE in your cymbal case that they might not be down with--tools, pocket knife, drum key, sticks, whatever.

A soft case will fit in the overhead compartment. A properly packed hard case will prevent any damage if you check it, but then you run the risk of the airline losing it, so I like to keep the plates with me.


Platinum Member
I'm surprised they would let someone carry cymbals on a plane. You could use them to seriously injure someone or damage something - that's not a laughing matter on an airplane these days.

I would pace them in a hard case, with felt or rubber pads between each cymbal, and of course identifying the case inside and out, with a note that the case is heavy.

I am looking to sell my Humes & Berg Enduro hard case, holding up to 22 inch cymbals. I put 8 cymbals in there, including an 18-inch China and rubber pads between each cymbal, along with cymbal polish and cloths. PM if you're interested in buying as I could send it parcel post as a piece of luggage, no cardboard box (seems kind of dumb to pack a drum case in a box anyway).


Platinum Member
Here in Canada due to the new sze limit restrictions for carry on luggage a 18" soft cymbal case will by fine to take onto a plane for domestic or overseas flights. Anything over that size has to go into a hardshell cymbal case underneath and depending on weight might cost a few extra bucks but should be fine with only a few cymbals inside it.

This is the situation here at present so many have adjusted their setups to fit the rules if you don't like to be seperated from your bronze "treasures" well travelling. I just got a 18" Istanbul Agop Signature crash that will work fine as a ride too if needed for carry on travel. I have a high end hardshell flight case but with to many close calls over the years with misplaced or late arriving fragile special handling items does not have me putting them underneath anymore on planes travelling to shows.


Senior Member
These days I pack him in a hard case and check 'em - no question about it.

No matter what you are told up front - what you are able to carry into the cabin is ultimately at the crew's discretion. So no matter what the rules say - if the plane's too crowded, they're not fitting just right - or the rules just changed this morning "didn't you call and check?" - if they won't let them on at the gate and your standing there with a soft bag of cymbals and your plane is boarding - what are you going to do? You're basically hosed because you have two choices - skip your flight (always $$$ to reschedule these days, plus you might miss your gig) or let then "hand-check" your soft bag. Truly the worst thing you can do for the safety of your cymbals.

Over the years, I've seen far more damaged hand checked instrument than lost or damaged ones checked as baggage.

In all the years I've been touring, I've only witnessed one truly lost instrument - though they can, like all bags, get delayed, usually by missing a connection. The biggest gig insurance for that is to make sure there are cymbals available with whatever kit you're playing at the gig. Then you're covered in a case situation - but honestly unless you're flying in three hours before the downbeat even a delayed bag will usually make it in time for the gig.

As much as everyone is always scared of checking their axes - I've seen more hand carried instrument get left at snack bars and book stores, left abandoned on stage door loading docks and (cring) backed over by trucks and tour buses than I've ever experienced the airlines losing or damaging.

Check 'em.


Dom Chandler

Junior Member
You guys are amazing, this is the first time I've really used this forum i usually just read bits and pieces. All of the advice on this matter really, really helps and I appreciate it.

The willingness to help and share ideas and experiences, I feel, really sets us apart from other musicians.

Anyway, enough love, lets rock!!!

Cheers people



Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I would call the airline and ask if the size softcase you have is allowed on the plane.
They will give you the dimensions and you should have an idea. Last time I flew I asked the airport security guys if I could carry drum sticks in my carryall and they said yes.


Gold Member
I want this!

Looks like it's going to stand up to even the most incompetent baggage handler. Too bad they didn't put wheels on it though; I imagine it's going to be pretty heavy when loaded up with cymbals.
I have 2 of 200 bux ever spent. They go thru hell, I toss em in the trailer and nary a mark on any of the contents.
I would HIGHLY recommend these.
They are very heavy when loaded, but that's what a dolly is for.



Platinum Member
They are very heavy when loaded, but that's what a dolly is for.
Yeah, but I still have to carry it around on airports and venues where we fly in.

But yeah, that looks like a great case. Maybe I can modify it and mount some wheels to it permanently

Dj magic d

Senior Member
I would check them in only if you have them in a hardshell case. Check with the airline about the weight restrictions of checked items, also. I flew to Florida in September, and used an SKB hardshell cymbal case for my cymbals. I put a ride, high hats, four crashes and a splash...and it weighed approximately 40 pounds. If it was over 50lbs, the checked bag fee would have doubled(ouch!). Good luck.