Oh no! JetBlue breaks guitars, too?

jetblueAdd the word “breaks guitars” after any company, and everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about.

“Breaks guitars” is synonymous with terrible service, bureaucracy and corporate arrogance. And you’d expect an airline to be particularly sensitive to it.

For those of you who missed the whole United Breaks Guitars episode, here’s a recap: Back in 2009, United Airlines destroyed country musician David Carroll’s checked guitar and then basically ignored his damage claim.

It resulted in a viral video that still haunts United to this day.

All of which brings us to Jonathan Pardo’s claim. Last year, he was flying from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on JetBlue. But when he arrived at the gate, an attendant told him he couldn’t board with his instrument.

“I told him that I have brought my guitar on as a carry-on in the past, on numerous flights, and it fits fine in the overhead compartment, but he insisted it be gate-checked,” he said. “He assured me that it would be placed in a safe area at the ground crew’s discretion and there would not be a problem.”

But there was a problem.

He explains:

When I arrived, I opened the guitar case to find extensive damage. We contacted JetBlue and were told that the claim needed to be made in person within four hours of arrival.

Due to a hurricane and tropical storm watch, we were not able to make the 50-mile round trip to Fort Lauderdale at nearly one in the morning.

Before going to the airport, I contacted JetBlue and verified that the guitar could indeed be carried on. The guitar should have been accepted onboard and if not, proper storage should have been used once in care of JetBlue personnel.

The guitar cannot be repaired and has a replacement cost of approximately $500.

The response from JetBlue? A form letter, essentially denying his claim.

After completing a final review of the claim, we have determined the total of your settlement to be a $250 JetBlue electronic voucher.

According to our Contract of Carriage, JetBlue Airways assumes no responsibility for certain items such as: glass, ceramics, mirrors, medication, money, jewelry, cameras, perfumes, video, audio and electronic equipment (including computers, software or music), wigs, optical equipment, dental and orthodontic devices or equipment and collectible, perishable, fragile or irreplaceable items among others.

These items, contained either in checked or unchecked baggage, are accepted only at the customer’s own risk. Please reference the complete Contract of Carriage online at www.jetblue.com under Legal/ Contract of Carriage.

Realizing that you have valued your claim at an amount greater than our settlement, we recommend that you may want to contact other resources, such as your homeowner’s insurance or credit card travel insurance, for any additional compensation that might be available to you.

As you’re aware, in the case of a reported mishandled baggage, our Baggage Service Offices, Central Baggage, and Customer Commitment team work closely with customers to determine what, if any, compensation is needed. We request customers report any mishandled baggage directly to the office of their destination airport within four hours of arrival to ensure integrity of records and actions. In the event that a customer attempts to file a claim after leaving the airport, however, our team will handle those instances on a case by case basis.

Nice form letter. But that doesn’t really work for Pardo, and it doesn’t work for me, either.

Pardo asked his uncle, an attorney, to call JetBlue on his behalf. He did, and received essentially the same response.

So I contacted JetBlue. A representative responded right away and promised to look into it, but added the following warning:

While I appreciate your interest in this particular customer’s case, we do prefer a direct relationship with our customers, and will not share any personal or customer information with outside parties.

I’m confident that proper lines of communication between the customer and our team have been established and the customer’s note you forwarded has been received by our Central Baggage Office along with the request for followup. Any additional followup the team feels necessary will be addressed directly with the customer.

In other words, I should mind my own business.

And that’s fine with me, as long as JetBlue does something. But after more than a month went by without Pardo hearing from the airline. I contacted JetBlue again. Nothing.

Here’s how I see this: If a passenger willingly surrenders a bag to an airline, then he or she is agreeing to its contract of carriage — which, as JetBlue points out, says it isn’t liable for damage to musical instruments.

But if someone is forced to check a guitar in a soft case, then there is no contract of carriage. The contract, if there is any, was the oral contract between the crewmember and Pardo, in which he’d been assured that his guitar would be safe.

Pardo and I have waited patiently for months to give JetBlue the chance to do the right thing. But it blew both of us off.

I guess JetBlue really does break guitars.

Should JetBlue have denied Jonathan Pardo's claim?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • sirwired

    I cannot understand why airlines think it’s okay to apply regular checked-baggage liability rules to force-checked bags that could have been in the overhead. That said, I wonder why JetBlue said it was ok for it to be a carry-on? A guitar is not a shape that I would normally think would meet carry-on requirements.

    All that said, I can’t find great fault with their refusal to work with you Chris; it’s always rubbed me the wrong way when companies make a special exception for customers that contact the media. There is something to be said for setting a policy (even if it is wrongheaded), sticking to it, and treating all customers equally.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    All that said, I can’t find great fault with their refusal to work with you Chris;
    I have to disagree. It’s no different that working with an attorney or other advocate. Its not that Chris is shaming companies into action, but rather some people know how to bypass the low level person who always says no and get to a decision maker who can actually look at the file.

    I know personally that these companies routinely say no to Chris. Years ago he tried to help me out with a Hilton matter and Hilton told him point blank no.

  • Grant

    Something doesn’t ring true, here. If Pardo was so concerned about his force-checked guitar, then why, upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale, did he not check it immediately? If he had, he wouldn’t have had “to make the 50-mile round trip to Fort Lauderdale at nearly one in the morning”. Come on, folks, ya gotta help yourselves out at a least a little bit. :-(

  • EdB

    ” A guitar is not a shape that I would normally think would meet carry-on requirements.”

    That is what I was thinking. Also, for a guitar to fit in the overhead, it would basically take up the whole compartment. Not sure about the type of plane he was on, but I have seen them fit 3 roll ons into a compartment. So by him bringing the guitar as carryon, he is denying two other passengers access to the overhead bin.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    It’s true. Companies routinely say “no” to me. But there’s no harm in asking.

  • PsyGuy

    I’ve always had problem with this issue, because assuming the item can’t be taken on the plane why does it matter if it was gate checked, or checked as luggage? If the passenger had checkeded the item themselves it would not be covered as a loss under the contract of carriage, so what’s the passenger complaint that they didn’t give him a choice? Well they did give him a choice, he could have chosen not to fly. That would be the options for an item that cant be taken Into the aircraft, either check the luggage or get off the plane. All the airline did was offer him the convenience of checking the item he originally could, and should have done.
    I don’t agree that the airline should have some responsibility for loss or damage, because a passenger tried to exempt themselves from the rules. Does a guitar and guitar case fit in those little metal carry on “things” used to determine what bags can and can not be carried on board? I don’t think so.

  • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

    That depends. Was the flight crowded? What was in the overhead compartments–it could likely have fit on TOP of other luggage. Also, was there room in a stowage compartment that they could have used?

  • BillCCC

    By not checking the condition of his guitar right away he puts himself in the position of not being completely believable. Under these circumstances I think that $250 is a fair amount of compensation.

  • John Baker

    I have great sympathy for those that bring a carry-on that fits in a “sizewise” measuring box and are then forced to check it leading to a loss.

    I have yet to see a guitar that fits in one so, by definition, you’re asking the airline to make an exception to their written policy to allow you to bring it on. I can’t really fault them if they don’t make the exception, even if they did in the past, especially since it necessarily displaces other passengers bags (on an empty flight I might feel differently) who do meet the carry on requirement. There’s a finite amount of space on an airplane for carry-ons and I haven’t been on a flight recently where at least one person wasn’t forced to gate check a bag.

    I also have a problem buying into a guitar in a soft sided case that you don’t check upon landing or realize that its “extensively” damaged.

    I feel for the OP and beyond telling him to buy a hard sided case for his new guitar I don’t have any more advice. It seems that Jet Blue waived their policies to give him 50% of the guitar’s value in airline scrip. Since airlines are only on the hook for depreciated value (not replacement value) and normally require original receipts (like anyone has those), it seems to be a fair compromise to me.

  • EdB

    I was pointing out, in general, for any flight this person might take, not that particular flight.

  • Deborah Orth

    At least we have someone like you to help us ask and to educate us on how to ask better ourselves in the future Thanks for being there P.S. hope things do work out with Mr. Pardo’s claim

  • KarlaKatz

    I understand how difficult it is to retrieve a guitar from the conveyor belt, and then spend sooooo much time to open it and inspect it on the spot. However, I think the OP should have done so, before leaving the baggage area.

  • Fishplate

    JetBlue’s rules clearly state:


    Carry-on Requirements

    Each customer may bring one bag that fits in the overhead bin plus
    one personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop, etc.) that fits under the
    seat in front of you.

    To fit in the overhead bin, your item must not exceed:

    for our Airbus A320: 26 inches (66 centimeters) length x 18 inches
    (45.72 centimeters) width x 12 inches (30.48 centimeters) height

    for our EMBRAER 190: 24 inches (60.96 centimeters) length x 16
    inches (40.64 centimeters) width x 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) height

    Carry-on baggage is the sole responsibility of the customer and
    JetBlue will assume no liability for property carried onboard the


    So, I don’t see how his oral contract with any low-level employee could trump the written rules as stated. I don’t believe his guitar was less than 26 inches in its longest dimension. You could maybe carry on a ukelele…but I’d buy a hard case if I was going to fly with a guitar…

  • sffilk

    If JetBlue isn’t going to pay, he should sue the person who told him that it’d be OK as a gate check-in and name JetBlue as an additional party.

  • Deborah Orth

    That part disturbs me a little too, as I would have probably checked something like a musical instrument for damage before leaving the airport. How long can a quick visual inspection take, especially given Mr. Pardo’s claim that the guitar was damaged beyond repair and had to be replaced it is also a little strange that he does not mention any damage to the case itself. Would a baggage handler take a guitar out of its case damage it then return it to its case? If it had been dropped or had something heavy enough fall on it to where it was damaged beyond repair the case should show some damage. Now that I have reconsidered this I am starting to think that maybe Mr. Pardo was hoping his guitar (age and condition of which was not mentioned in his story) would be replaced at Jet Blue’s expense? Hate to be a skeptic because the next OP writing for help could be ME!! But there are an awful lot of schemers and scammers out there and while I am not accusing Mr. Pardo of being one, his story does have some legitimate questions about it.

  • RWD

    Part of the problem is that Jet Blue does not follow its own rules. If there is a size limit for overhead bags then it should be enforced, ALL THE TIME. On a flight from Orlando to DCA my wife and I watched while 90% of the plane boarded with the gate attendant paying no attention as to who’s turn it was or the correct order. It’s chaos.

  • Deborah Orth

    Dear Mr. Baker maybe I missed something or misread it, but Mr. Pardo just says when I opened the guitar case I discovered the damage. Where does he mention that it was a soft sided case just that it was a guitar case. I can understand your assumption that it would have been a soft sided case becasuse then you would not notice damage until the case was opened, but you know what they say about when you assume things.

  • EdB

    This is towards the bottom and was a statement by Chris…

    “But if someone is forced to check a guitar in a soft case,”

    I’m guessing it was just some information about the case Chris was aware of but didn’t make it into the narrative. Either that or it was just a general example Chris was using.

  • bodega3

    I am wondering what type of case the guitar was in that damage to it didn’t happen. I have been on flights where passengers traveling with instruments have purchased a ticket for it so it would travel safely in the cabin in the seat next to its owner. What the OP has been allowed to do before, with a carryon that exceeded size limitations experienced an employee who was following company rules and what many here have commented that they wish the airlines would do regularly.

  • Will K

    Unfortunately, as a seasoned traveler
    I find it odd when passengers walk on an aircraft with a guitar case… especially
    in today’s airline environment. As an avid guitar player myself, I always
    wondered how a guitar would be allowed in an overhead luggage compartment. The
    guitar would take up the entire overhead space thus eliminating the possibility
    of two other traveling passengers’ stored luggage above their respective seats.
    May “God” help the individual who tries to put their luggage on top of the
    guitar case! I have a specially made guitar case that specifically designed for
    travel. When it is checked it is also tagged as fragile… And when I receive it
    at baggage claim I can see that it has gone through a “Rough” trip. Thankfully,
    the investment in the travel guitar case has protected the guitar… so far. Summary,
    I sympathize with the passenger who wants to protect their instrument but I
    find it unreasonable to carry guitar on board in today’s high-pressure airline
    travel environment. So, invest in a travel case and hope for the best.

  • JenniferFinger

    Now we know: Never carry a musical instrument of real value on a commercial airplane.

  • John H.

    After so many stories of JetBlue’s arrogance and nearly non-existent customer service, I think there should be a customer backlash of just not doing business
    with it. Six weeks of half empty planes would reduce the airline to cargo hauling, if that. You’d think any CEO of a company would take notice and make changes. But apparently JetBlue’s top man just missed the day they taught customer service in CEO school.

  • Deborah Orth

    Found it you are RIGHT, thanks for the correction. I still think that I would have checked my guitar before leaving the terminal, but maybe they were rushed?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    After reading the comments about size, I decided to grab the trusty tape measure and go measure my husband’s guitar cases, both hard and soft.

    Hard: length 45″, width 18″, depth 6 1/2″
    Soft: length 41″, width 18″, depth 4 – 5″, depending on the guitar inside the case

    Not seeing where/how a guitar could fit in an overhead compartment, unless the overhead compartment were completely empty, and that’s a very unlikely scenario these days.

  • Deborah Orth

    Sorry Mr. Baker I stand corrected EdB pointed out that Chris said it towards the bottom. I was just going by Mr. Pardo’s statement at the begining. But I agree a hard case would be safer though nothing is 100% foolproof. Please accept my appologies

  • JetBlueBlows

    I had a set of golf clubs broken and there were TIRE MARKS on the case. They tried to argue with me that it was preexisting damage. At the end of the conversation the supervisor at Central Baggage told me they weren’t responsible for any damages according to the fine print of their carriage contract – even if they were negligent. There’s a special place in hell for these people.

  • TonyA_says

    There is more to this issue than just a request for help from a consumer advocate.

    The legal baggage limitations of airlines are different for domestic versus international flights. The DOT has ruled that airlines may not include any language in the COCs that limit their liabilities inconsistent with the Montreal and Warsaw Conventions for international flights.

    Unfortunately, the DOT does not have the same rule for domestic flights. The airlines simply have to state the minimum liability consistent with 14 CFR Part 254 and then add a ton of disclaimers, limitations, and exemptions on their COCs. In fact, for domestic flights airlines say they have no liability whatsoever for your carry on luggage. They cannot say that for international flights.

    Whatever happened to the way they used to do things? The usual SOP is for the airlines to inspect your luggage and labelled it FRAGILE if it were so. They will ask you to sign a waiver of liability but the ramp and loading crew handled your FRAGILE luggage differently. They do not toss it and they try to separate it from heavy bags that might fall on it. They also do not place them on a sortation belt.

    For some reason, nothing is FRAGILE anymore. Maybe everything is made in China and are easily replaceable. But that is not true for many musical instruments, IMO.

  • DavidYoung2

    Like a 10-year old girl who jumped the queue to get an adult lung transplant because they took to social media, even though the doctors say that having incurable cystic fibrosis means it’s basically a waste of time and possibly denied somebody else a life? It’s a tool in toolbox to get what you want – logic and reason don’t always apply when dealing with social media.

  • emanon256

    I agree, I have seen instruments sit in their own seat many times as well. I have also seen musicians use metal cases with foam inserts that are custom fit to the instrument while checking them. I personally would mail a good guitar before I would check it on a plane if it were a one time occurrence, otherwise I would get the custom metal/foam case made.

    I too am baffled he didn’t check it at the airport. That part seems fishy to me. I hope it was just an oversight and he was not being nefarious.

    As a side note, I took the baggage risk a few times recently. Six times so far this year I checked a stroller and a car seat each in soft sided bags knowing it was a risk, and somehow they have never been damaged. In all honesty, buying a new car seat and or stroller, is about the same price I have found for renting them, so it was worth the risk in my opinion. If it doesn’t break, I save money, if it does, well, I get a brand new one for the price of the rental. I’m going to Hawaii soon, and want to bring the good jogging stroller. That one I am not willing to check as they cost more, turns out the rental with delivery is about 1/3 the cost of a new one, so I won’t be checking this time. Its all about looking at the costs, benefits, and options.

  • TonyA_says

    Airline scrip. LOL but a very accurate description I might say.

  • DavidYoung2

    Great point – something doesn’t smell right with that. Also, if your traveling with a guitar, why use a “soft case.” Doesn’t the OP know that sometimes the overhead bins get full and stuff has to be gate-checked. Or planes get swapped out and that little puddle jumper won’t fit a guitar in the overhead?

    The OP needs to accept responsibility for both (1) not checking before leaving the airport and (2) not packing it correctly given the fact he was traveling.

  • emanon256

    Tony, I have a recollection of the airlines offering insurance on checked bags in the past. Am I imagining that? I’m thinking pre baggage fee days. I remember them always asking me if there was anything fragile inside, and then offering insurance as a pretty reasonable price to protect it.

  • EdB

    “even though the doctors say that having incurable cystic fibrosis means it’s basically a waste of time”

    They were saying the exact opposite of this. That the transplant would basically cure the problem. I also heard the statistic of 50% survival after 5 years. A lot better rate than 0% with out it.

    But these two issues are not related. A judge ruled the current rule for transplants were discriminatory and life threatening. Mishandled luggage is not even close to being in the same league.

  • emanon256

    I was traveling with a friend on DL, and they paged her when we were waiting at baggage claim. They brought us to the baggage room and showed her her bag. It had tire marks, and some of the canvas was scraped off and some of the items inside were destroyed. They apologized and since since it was their fault, they will cover everything. They went through every item with her, took pictures, and looked up the prices on line, and documented it. They then asked her to sign some paperwork and a release. They then cut her a real check for 80% of what they determined the value to be (20% for depreciation). She balked as one of the damaged items she had just bought on the trip, and she showed them the receipt. They had her file an appeal for the 20% on those items, which sadly was denied. But all in all, I was very impressed with how well they handled this and how good of a procedure they had in place.

    I had an incident on UA once where my bag came out of the baggage claim completely broken an in a bag. The folding top has been severed, and it looked like a sharp item cut it. I brought it to the little office, and they had a whole stock room of various bags, and let me pick one. I went through all of the items with them (Only clothing) and nothing was damaged. I was also impressed with their handling.

    If only the airlines were more consistent in this.

  • TonyA_says

    Yes you are correct. But I do not see that being offered by airport agents nowadays.


    The liability coverage for checked baggage on domestic flights is $3,300 USD per person. [Wrong it (minimum liability} is now $3,400 on or after 6 JUNE 2013].

    You may declare and pay for a higher value than the covered liability at a rate of $1 USD per $100 USD to a maximum of $5000.

    For example, if you wish to purchase $500 USD in additional baggage insurance, you will be charged $5 USD.

  • John Baker

    No worries… most on here will tell you I’ve done the same thing in the past… Happens to everyone

  • Bill___A

    My carry on bag is within spec. I refuse to gate check it.
    So far I’ve gotten away with that, although on some of the dinky toy United Express planes it is difficult.
    This story underscores why I don’t like gate checking. If I have a checked bag, I’ll check it, and a carry on should remain in my care.
    Having no room in the cabin because they let the previous passengers on with too much or too big baggage is not my concern.
    Jet Blue should compensate for the guitar and provide a goodwill gesture in addition to that.

  • TonyA_says

    IIRC, about 2 xmas ago, we went to an island called Boracay in the Philippines. We flew a small domestic airline called AirPhil (now PAL Express) from Manila to Kalibo, and then a shuttle bus from Kalibo to Caticlan (jetty) and finally a ferry to Boracay Island.
    We brought golf clubs and many folks beside us, scuba gear. But we also brought very expensive booze. Lots of it. The check in agent asked us if we want FRAGILE stickers on our treasure. Of course I said yes. Then a cargo handler came over and asked if we wanted FRAGILE stickers for the golf clubs. Well, I said sure and why not put FRAGILE to ALL our luggage (jokingly). Well he did! I pulled him aside and asked him what the loading process was on the ramp for fragile. He told me what I expected to hear. Not belt sort, no throwing or tossing, and separated from heavy baggage. Sure enough not a single bottle broke!

    Now if a tiny airline can do that, why can’t Jetblue? Because they don’t give a damn.

  • Poley King

    How the heck did he not realize the guitar was broken before leaving the airport? How are we to know he didn’t decide to go all heavy metal and smash the guitar after the fact. Regardless of the COC we don’t even need to get into the exceptions. There is a reason for the 4 hour rule and it would only have taken a few seconds to check the guitar for damage. $250 voucher is more than fair

  • emanon256

    I would say that is the case for all US based carriers. They just don’t give a damn. I miss the pride people used to have in their jobs here. Now people just don’t care.

  • Deborah Orth

    Thank You so much for being understanding and for your civility. Have a nice day Or as those of us in Greyhound Rescue like to say Have a Grey-T day

  • Deborah Orth

    It was stated that the OP’s Uncle is an attorney. He should be able to advise him if he has a realistic chance in court. He may or may not have gotten the name of the person who told him it would be OK. Even if he did get the name (something I try to remember to do) it could still end up being a he said she said thing with no way to prove it.

  • TonyA_says

    This post should NOT have been voted down. It shows the ignorance of people regarding US Law.

    You may bring a guitar in the cabin as a carry-on provided there is space just as John Frenaye has described. So if you board early the overhead bin compartments are fair game for your guitar.

    FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012

    § 41724. Musical instruments
    (a) IN GENERAL.

    carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger
    to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the
    aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition
    to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable
    carry-on baggage, if
    (A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable
    baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a
    passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for
    carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the
    Administrator; and
    (B) there is space for such stowage at the time the
    passenger boards the aircraft.

    carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger
    to carry a musical instrument that is too large to meet the
    requirements of paragraph (1) in the aircraft cabin, without
    charging the passenger a fee in addition to the cost of the
    additional ticket described in subparagraph (E), if
    (A) the instrument is contained in a case or covered
    so as to avoid injury to other passengers;
    (B) the weight of the instrument, including the case
    or covering, does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable
    weight restrictions for the aircraft;
    (C) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with
    the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo
    established by the Administrator;
    (D) neither the instrument nor the case contains any
    object not otherwise permitted to be carried in an aircraft
    cabin because of a law or regulation of the United States;
    (E) the passenger wishing to carry the instrument
    in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat
    to accommodate the instrument.

    carrier shall transport as baggage a musical instrument that
    is the property of a passenger traveling in air transportation
    that may not be carried in the aircraft cabin if
    (A) the sum of the length, width, and height measured
    in inches of the outside linear dimensions of the instrument
    (including the case) does not exceed 150 inches or the
    applicable size restrictions for the aircraft;
    (B) the weight of the instrument does not exceed
    165 pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for the
    aircraft; and
    (C) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with
    the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo
    established by the Administrator.

  • Deborah Orth

    The best way to complain is with your pocketbook, but it takes a significant number of people taking their business elsewhere to have an impact. Some people are willing to accept poor treatment in exchange for low fares which I feel is sad.

  • Michael

    I know many may disagree, but I don’t think this is too bad of a case. If one decides to downgrade to JetBlue, a cheap budget airline, there are understandably consequences. For JetBlue to damage the guitar is a shame, but since their policy is already quite clear, I feel the $250 compensation is reasonable and the case should be put to rest.

  • Deborah Orth

    Just asking: What will you do when and if your luck runs out so to speak. Will you refuse to fly? Having no room might not be your concern as you say, but how do you force them to let you board? I really would be interested in knowing what you would do. Thanks

  • TonyA_says

    Jetblue a cheap budget airline? Oh dear. I have to disagree with that.

  • Michael__K

    Federal Law trumps Jet Blue’s rules.

    H.R. 658 (112th): FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012


    (a) In General- Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘Sec. 41724. Musical instruments

    ‘(a) In General-

    ‘(1) SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE- An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if–

    ‘(A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and

    ‘(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.

  • Michael__K

    And even without federal law, Jet Blue has a published exception to it’s carry on rules for musical instruments:

    Musical Instruments on JetBlue

    Musical instruments carried in the Cabin:
    A musical instrument is allowed in place of one carry-on item, provided it can be stowed properly under the seat or in an overhead bin, and the total linear dimensions do not exceed 45 linear inches (length + width + depth). If total linear dimensions exceed 45 inches, the instrument must be checked. JetBlue is not responsible for damage to baggage carried in the cabin unless the damage was caused by JetBlue.


  • TonyA_says

    Well I am glad someone else knows the law :)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Hi Michael,

    I posted a couple of hours ago what the measurements are on my husband’s guitar cases. The soft case holds the electric guitar, the hard case holds an acoustic guitar. The length alone on either a hard or a soft case is 41 – 45″, width is 18″ and depth is a minimum of 3″, but more like 6″. So say 41 + 18 + 3 = 62″.

    Under JetBlue’s rules, a standard sized guitar is therefore not a carry-on.

    Both you and TonyA agree on the applicable Federal Law in this case trumping the carrier’s policy. I’m not asking to be difficult, but for education purposes: how do you resolve this issue at the gate or while boarding, without angering personnel to the point that neither the guitar nor the passenger gets to fly in the cabin? Thanks.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    See my reply to Michael_K. Can you help answer the question I posed? Thanks.

  • Michael__K

    Hi Jeanne, A good question and I wish I had a good answer….

    I would probably keep a printout of the law handy and politely explain that I believe it applies. But I realize that doesn’t guarantee anything…

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thanks. My husband is keenly following the comments, as he’d like to bring his guitar with him when we visit our son, who is also a musician. My son flies overseas with his equipment, and has learned to keep his mouth shut and pack tools and duct tape.

  • TonyA_says

    Jeanne, first of all the law gave the FAA till 6FEB14 to write all the implementing rules. That said I would first find out what the FAA has to say about this law.

    Second, I don’t expect airlines to be in the forefront of implementing passenger protecting laws, so they will keep employees ignorant until further notice :)

    So what do I think a passenger (who must fly) with a guitar should do.
    Ignore the new law since you do not want to get into an argument and:

    (1) invest in a hard shell protective case and check in the guitar and pray it does not get lost.

    (2) buy an extra seat for cabin-baggage. Enter the pax name as CBBG surname and make sure the proper SSR message is sent to carrier.

    (3) never gate-check a precious instrument.

  • Fishplate

    My wife had exactly that happen last week. US Air lost her carry-on bag. Finally showed up 5 hours after she did.

    The alternative was to not fly – hardly an option for most people.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thank you. As I told Michael_K, my husband is keenly following these comments. He’s shaking his head at the idea of the OP not checking his guitar immediately after getting it back. He flew Frontier years and years ago and was required to check the guitar as baggage. He did everything possible to protect his guitar, including wrapping it like a mummy inside of the case, wrapping the case in bubble wrap inside of a box and paying through the nose to send it as fragile baggage. First thing he did on arrival was tear open the box, case and the wrappings and then entertain the rest of the people in the baggage area by strumming a few chords!

    My son flies internationally with his guitar (and no, heavy metal band members can’t afford to smash their instruments!) and has learned to fly with tools and duct tape to repair the inevitable damage done while on tour. I’m hoping the rules get implemented soon and clearly enough that my husband can again take his guitar to visit our son in Queens and that my son can take his guitar on tour without scheduling in time for repairs after he gets home.

  • Lindabator

    But it DOES say B) provided there is space…. Seems like this was a risk, then.

  • TonyA_says

    As John Frenaye said “It depends”. So you better be damn sure your guitar fits the overhead bins (shelf to be exact) and you board with the first people who come in, or there is stowage space for it. Otherwise, be ready to check it in or buy an extra seat as cabin baggage.

  • Michael__K

    If you’re flying Jet Blue, you could also cite their response in this thread in the True Blue community forum:

    Jetblue has always allowed musical instuments as carry on baggage as long as they fit into the overhead baggage compartment. Happy Strumming


  • Lindabator

    The sticky point is part B) provided there is space — so it is NEVER actually a guarantee, just that they can’t deny you if there IS — not an option I’d risk.

  • Lindabator

    See part B) provided there is space — nowadays, that’s probably not likely – and far too great a risk I’d take.

  • Lindabator

    GREAT suggestion about the extra seat. I’ve had to fly members of the Orchestra, and have booked a seat for CELLO many times! ALSO – the law does specify B) provided space is available at time of boarding, which means slim to none by today’s standards (who’s actually seen empty bins???)

  • Lindabator

    HAHA! I had an actual FOOTPRINT thru both sides, with duct tape in xs over both. They then tried to say they got it that way – REALLY? I pitched a fit about how they would have refused, or had me sign my a@@ away first – got a new bag.

  • Michael__K

    According to the OP’s account, he was stopped at the gate and the discussion was not about space.

  • Bill___A

    Well, I try set things up so my luck doesn’t run out. Obviously I can’t force them to let me board. However, if they were insisting I gate check my laptop, it is extremely likely I would not take the flight. Bear in mind that I am quite good at setting things up so that won’t happen, though.
    I don’t like to throw around money either, but that is one of the “travel tools” I keep handy to take care of any issues. So far, it hasn’t had to be used much but I have already set aside the funds to take care of this if it comes to that.

  • TonyA_says

    Only the ones who clean the airplane cabin :)

    I can see a new ancillary fee coming up soon – early boarding with musical instrument that fits on the overhead bins $150 :)

  • flutiefan

    had a guy today buy a 2nd seat for his banjo. if it’s that important and must be in your possession at all times, it’s the only way to go.

  • TonyA_says

    smart man :)

  • flutiefan

    as one who works with those on the ramp every day, and witnessing several airlines in the same terminal…i can definitely say that putting a “Fragile” sticker or tag on a bag does not mean your item will be handled differently. there is a set amount of time to get all the bags of the landing flight off, then load the new bags into the correct bins according to various downline destinations. couple that with freight and cargo needed to be loaded, and you really don’t have minutes to spare. that bag is getting tossed like all the others.

  • flutiefan

    or we are so short staffed that we don’t have the TIME nor the resources necessary to provide that extra care.

  • flutiefan

    my thoughts exactly.

  • flutiefan

    at my airline, if you put in “CBBG” as the surname, i would have to correct the entire reservation.

  • TonyA_says

    If they are given maybe 20-30 minutes to get everything done, then that’s why tossing is the only way to get the job done.
    The system was never engineered to work with fragiles then.
    Actually FRAGILE in the USA airline lingo means NO LIABILITY, since the pax signed a release :)

    It was very different during the times I worked at FedEx. Fragile really meant Fragile. Got to be loaded ON TOP of container at the least. No heavies in the container, too. Avoided the sort diverter (smacks the package to the right secondaries) at all costs and brought as close as possible to the loading ramp directly. That’s why it ain’t free.

  • flutiefan

    “so many stories”??? that’s why they are consistently rated at or near the top of Customer Service surveys & awards…

  • TonyA_says

    I meant CBBG as the first name followed by the SURNAME.
    Hope I did not confuse people here.
    It should be

  • flutiefan

    same thing… that is NOT how my airline would accept the reservation, and i’d have to redo it.

  • TonyA_says

    Added: I reckon BULK loading an aircraft is a different beast compared to using containers. So they have to setup a space (I guess near the tail or somewhere) to place the fragile cargo.

  • TonyA_says

    So does your airline want it as the middle name? Or some other way ?
    Is an SSR message good enough?

  • flutiefan

    i just don’t want people to get the mistaken idea that to put a “fragile” marker on means their bag will be handled differently. when someone asks for one, i ask what is fragile in the bag, and then i inform them we are not liable for any damage to fragile items. my goodness, dozens of people still check their breakables anyway.

    also…checked bags go through TSA sorters and what feels like miles of conveyor belts. one at my old airport had a sorting arm that released over 80lbs of pressure with each swing. and that’s with NO human ever touching it! so who is to blame if something breaks at that point?

  • flutiefan

    no, they want the passenger’s name. first and last. if it’s any other way, our system will reject it as an extra seat for the object. there’s also a code we have to enter, but i’m not putting it here!
    i had to correct Mr Banjo’s 2nd reservation today for that very reason :)

  • TonyA_says

    I thought that most ground handling manuals say the FRAGILE must not go through the belts sortation. And must be brought separately to the ramp.

  • flutiefan

    on my last flight, which happened to be on Delta, i needed to gate check my bag. smartly, i had put my purse, keys, kindle, expensive makeup, and other important items in my small backpack.

    was i “forced” to check my bag? no, i had a choice. i could’ve chosen not to fly.

  • flutiefan

    nope. have never seen that.

  • TonyA_says

    Interesting. The way I was taught to do it was:
    So the 2nd pax first name is CBBG

  • TonyA_says

    Then there is nothing preventing that FRAGILE baggage from breaking :)

  • flutiefan

    my point exactly!!!
    don’t mistakenly believe that marking a bag fragile will lead to it being specially handled.

  • emanon256

    That too. I was going to write something longer, but then didn’t have time, so I wrapped it up. I was going to say…

    I think this stems from the way corporations are treating their employes as a resource, rather than a human. The trend today is to pay people as little as possible, while working them as hard as possible. If they quit, there are always more people to hire. So companies treat people like dirt, and in turn, people feel like crap, and aren’t as likely to care. Its a self deteriorating cycle.

  • Deborah Orth

    I think you are pretty safe with your lap top and for all shall we call them issues you sound very well prepared. Thank You for responding I was just curious. So here’s to your run of what I called luck continuing. I know that in sports they say that the truly great players manufacture their luck. It looks like maybe you do too.

  • bodega3

    I have known younger guys who worked the last shift for loading at a similar company and if the box said FRAGILE they deliberately would throw the box around. Which might explain why several items arriving at my door in a less than intact box and broken may have become that way. Then the drivers refuse to take it back and I have to call to get a pickup. Annoying!

  • bodega3

    You hit the nail on the head IMHO! We have had this exact discussion many times. If you treat your employees like they are expendable, why would they give their all? Bean counters don’t seem to get this!

  • Deborah Orth

    I agree the not to go option is usually not really an option. We love traveling on Amtrak now that we are retired and have the extra time, when possible. The rules are much more relaxed, you see more, and when you use the sleeper car option it’s just a more enjoyable experience. At least for us it has been. Meals in the dining car are included and you can bring your own adult beverages aboard with you as long as you consume responsibly and do it in your sleeper compartment.

  • TonyA_says

    In the olden days, FRAGILE meant baggage will be sent using out-of-gauge (OOG) process like for wheelchairs. Handler usually takes the FRAGILE item directly to the make up area bypassing any sortation or conveyor belt.
    Nowadays. FRAGILE means nothing. So you better have it beside you (on a separate seat) and strapped to the chair.

  • Alan Gore

    We need to be able to invoke the help of consumer–affairs bloggers because Internet shaming is increasingly the only way to get a company to take a complaint seriously. JetBlue’s snippy attempt to push Chris out of the loop on this complaint shows corporate fear of the new power that online complaints are starting to give te consumer.

    On the complaint itself: yes, when you bring an unusual item as a carry-on, you need to check ahead to make sure that you can bring it. This pax did so, which means that being forced to check it makes the airline responsible for the damage. He has every right to use Internet shaming as a response to JetBlue’s stonewall.

  • TonyA_says

    I think I found the best answer to your question.
    Take a look at this pic.


  • Cybrsk8r

    Tony, on a US airline, the bottles wouldn’t have been broken, either. They’d have showed up empty, but not broken.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Aaaand, what does this have to do with luggage?

  • MarkKelling

    Never take anything of real value on a plane ;-)

  • Ali Jackson

    When I was a hotel Front Desk Manager, we were told that the instant guest said something like “I’m going to get my lawyer involved”, we had to cease all communication related to the problem. While the OP probably thought that having his uncle the attorney call was smart, it’s possible that action effectively ended any further offers of compensation.

  • EdB

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the luggage. And the details about it being a waste of time is wrong.

    Patients with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that damages the lungs, have an average life expectancy of 31 years old, said Dr. Devang Doshi, a pediatric lung specialist at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Michigan who has not met Sarah. But if they get a lung transplant, the condition is essentially cured.

    As far as I can tell, David was just upset that the little girl got a life saving operation that she was being denied because of a discriminatory and arbitrary rule.

  • bodega3

    Not necessarily true. I’ll never forget UA and the flight attendant who assisted my 90 year old father with his antique ukulele. It is quite valuable and he would carry it in a special case. I asked UA if we could board early as my Dad took more time than most to get down the jetway and into his seat. They allowed it and the flight attendant, once we were at our seats, assisted my dad with the uke into the overhead bin and chatted with him until others boarded. When we landed, she immediately came to our row, opened up the overhead bin and handed Dad his uke. That was his last trip and her kindness and care of both of them was wonderful. That uke traveled thousands of miles over the years and always arrived safely!

  • John Baker

    Michael read the rest of the relevant section. The law gives the sec of transportation until February 2014 to enact regulations governing the law. Those regulations have not been released so the law is not currently in force and is moot to this discussion.

  • seriously???

    If I had a $500 guitar I wouldn’t be traveling with it in a soft case, no matter where the guitar was at on the plane. Duh. Not the airline’s fault. Your friend is to blame here.

  • gracekelley

    That’s why the airline’s all clearly state on their websites if you bring anything onboard that is fragile that it has to be stowed per FAR’s. if you want to ensure the safety of your items you purchase a seat and strap it in. You are risking it by assuming it will fit in an ohb where it can still be damaged. Had the customer paid attention to this when purchasing his ticket & wanted to ensure it was safe then buy a seat for it. I transported a symphony recently and every SINGLE musician purchased a seperate seat for their instrument’s. i would NEVER promise anyone their things would be 100% safe having to be gate checked or anywhere onboard unless it ia strapped in.
    Of course they get upset but this is a simple if you think about it. It is on their webpages under baggage and or carryon policies and it specifically says buy a seat if you think it may not fit onboard. When you plan to travel esp via air do your research and be prepared. We are all adults and this falls under personal responsability IMO. You cannot hold those types of things in your lap as what happens if you hit turbulence it goes flying splits someone elses head (hence far’s) then airline & FA’s sued. Nope PERSONAL RESPONSABILITY
    We all want to be catered to these days including myself, but alas common sense prevails!

  • gracekelley


    See they actually did NOT have to give him anything. The $250 he got was pretty stinking generous considering their policies are all posted on their webpage!
    Personal accountability people

  • gracekelley

    Exactly i totally agree! This is why when flying take personal accountability for expensive items and if you must travel via air with it buy it a seat (like most do) and strap it in. Plus read their policies before you go strolling onboard with expensive stuff that is never going to fit. This is 2013 not 1950 the airlines are clear if you just read their policies and use that think tank!

  • gracekelley


    Or people can take personal accountability when they travel and read the policies before rolling up with an expensive item that should have it’s on seat (like most people do) and not expect a magic wand to appear and make it fit.

  • gracekelley


  • gracekelley

    Or do what people that read the policies do before they fly and buy a seat for it.

  • gracekelley

    Yes yes yes. A flyer that prepares. You can also buy seats for these types of items and strap them in….

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Of course, their parents are back in row 26 or so. Don’t you hate people who stow their carry aboards in the bins forward from where they’re sitting?


  • gracekelley

    One should never assume there are empty seats avaliable. Buy a seat for it is what they have probably done. Most flyers do when carrying on things like that and don’t want it damaged. The airlines all have policies posted on their pages regarding traveling with these types of items. If only people would read them.

  • gracekelley

    That’s exactly why I always tell people “my apologies but if you did not purchase a seat for it i cannot guarentee it” then tell the CA they were advised then do an ops report. I will not be sued because people do not read policies that are very clear and are unprepared and fail themseleves of being accountable and responsable of their OWN belongings.

  • gracekelley
  • gracekelley

    Yes spelling was an epic fail darn phone

  • sffilk

    As someone who’s flown with *2* guitars before, when someone tells me that the guitars won’t fit, I tell them “Yes it will,” and when they don’t believe me, I prove it. They then shut up. They can’t say anything when you prove them wrong.

  • gracekelley

    If it fit fantabulous! If it doesn’t then it is on the passenger not the airline. That’s all i am saying… Not all planes are the same! Ijs

  • gracekelley

    1 jetblue is a private corporation and not subsidized by the goverment. 2 it did not fit 3 http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll/,/?St=440,E=0000000000055970163,K=8910,Sxi=5,Case=obj(1806)
    Yup trumps that! He got a good faith $250 say thank you & fly prepared next time. Personal accountability

  • gracekelley

    What poor treatment? He was ill prepared….

    Buy a seat for
    It like most people do. Plus he got a $250 in good faith when their policy states otherwise. He was treated fantastic considering his total lack of knowledge of the airlines policy he choosw to travel with….

  • gracekelley

    I agree! http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll/,/?St=440,E=0000000000055970163,K=8910,Sxi=5,Case=obj(1806)

    He could have also purchased a seat for it as most musicians do and strapped it in!

  • gracekelley

    He also could have purchased a seat for it like most musicians do. Why can’t all travlers read policies and fly prepared? Problem avoided!

  • gracekelley
  • sffilk

    Thing is, when I travel with a guitar, I make sure it’ll fit into the overhead or I’ll take a smaller guitar. The original poster in this case knew that his guitar would fit into the overhead yet no one would believe him. That’s the one point I think you’re forgetting.

  • Cat

    Did you skip over the part where the airline violated its own rule be demanding that the passenger turn over the guitar for stowage? That the agent making the demand assured him that it would receive special handling? They admitted that was not their policy and it should not have happened. And the fact that he came to expect the airline to follow that policy since he had flown many times before without incident? And that regardless of some nitpicking rules carefully crafted by a pack of lawyers there is simply being a decent human being doing the right thing?

  • gracekelley

    Hearsay & the gave him a credit for good faith! Prove they made him. Plus why is he traveling with a guitar with no insurance or seat purchased? No airline promises or guarentees carry space ijs

  • Michael__K

    Hadn’t realized that about the regulations, but it’s absolutely not moot, particlarly given statements like this:

    True Blue Community

    Re: Musical Instrument policy in light of recent legislation

    (4/16/12 4:07 PM)

    Jetblue has always allowed musical instruments as carry on baggage as long as they fit into the overhead baggage compartment. Happy Strumming


  • Michael__K

    1: irrelevant (and not even accurate)
    2: Not true: “I have brought my guitar on as a carry-on in the past, on numerous flights, and it fits fine in the overhead compartment
    3: https://trueblue.jetblue.com/web/trueblue-community/discussions/-/message_boards/message/71351282

  • gracekelley

    OK since all guitars are exactly the same size and model and since all OHB are exactly the same on all planes you must be right! Silly me I just do this for a living what do I know! Besides I never argue about carryon’s take it on and put it up then if it doesn’t fit i’d address it. This does not read to be the case here but as always we get the one sides story. Even so since every guitar and every OHB is the exactly the same I have been proven wrong. How silly of me to assume that I’d know my own job better than a passenger.
    I don’t even work for jet blue and I still realize that they just like every part121 carrier has policies and read them before I buy tickets when travelling with valuables since MY stuff is MY responsability but hey again what do i know.

  • gracekelley

    Also Micheal, they allow it if it fits and if there is OHB space. Their policy also states they are not responsable if damaged. Thanks goodness most musicians read all policies and be accountable enough to buy it a seat if it is that valuable. And the law the doesnt go into effecy until 2014 is pretty much irrelevant why? Because it is 2013 and the faa has given the airlines until 2014 to clarify them. Until then they can go by what is already policy. What’s your point anyway? I could care less what they bring on as long as it is stowed per FAR’s and company policy. I’m just saying they gave him $250 when they clearly didnt have to do that so say thank you and move on.

  • gracekelley

    “The following items are accepted for transportation at your own risk. JetBlue will not be liable for damage, loss or spoilage of these items.

    You may choose to carry the item(s) with you if they meet the requirements for carry-on baggage. Essential medication or currency should always travel with you and should never be checked.

    Fragile or unsuitably packaged items (such as antiques, art, bottles, cameras [video, still, projectors], ceramic, computer equipment, glass, hockey sticks, liquids (Alcohol Guidelines), luggage totes, mirrors, strollers and other items subject to break in transit, musical instruments, precision tools, radios, small appliances, sound reproduction equipment, televisions or trophies)

    Irreplaceable or essential items (such as antiques, artifacts, car keys, house or other keys, currency, checks, negotiable papers, securities, essential medication, heirlooms, collectible items, irreplaceable business documents, jewelry, precious stones or metals including silverware, natural fur products, optics, contact lenses, paintings/works of art)

    Perishable items (such as fish, meat or any perishable food item, flowers or plants)”

    This ^ is straight from their policy on their webpage that i put a link to earlier. Your quoting the first paragraph it is in your best interest to read airlines ENTIRE policy when taking valuables via air travel. Thanks for listening.

  • Michael__K

    What? Who is talking about all guitars or all planes? This is about the OP’s guitar on an A320. And whether it fit was not even in dispute — the passenger was stopped at the gate before boarding.

  • gracekelley

    Ok Michael,
    Since when do airlines guarentee ohb space? They also load cargo and their are weight and balance issues. There are about 5 reason I could name as to why someone may ask to gatecheck. As to why this particular person would not let the guy try to fit it i don’t know and I sympothize with the lack of service he was given and supposedly was lied and promised his item would be fine. Unfortunate and bad service assuming that is 100% what happened. Yet, the only person liable for expensive items are the passenger. Sounds like they gave him $250 they did not have too. Now we can agree to disagree about it but when i travel as a passenger or go to work on the line i realize based on policies that when and IF i take expensive items of value that the only person responsable is ME. I have had a macbook broke as a paying passenger but did i complain no because i knew the policies and should have took it put when i was forced to gate check. When i carried on a antique platter to take to a relative guess what i did i knew the policies and i packaged it to survive a gate check had i had to do that. I realize he was forced to gate check yes, but please let the madness stop. Stop strolling on planes with these valuable items in no case, a soft case or ill prepared because it can still get damaged in an OHB seen it happen. I am just saying be prepared and know the policies and prepare for the worst and then you’ll be fine. Again we can agree to disagree. As far as me and mine we go with what i say even we i go to work because when it comes to air travel the only thing they really have to do is get you from point a to b the only person worried about you is you not the airlines. Their policies protect them not is so read them and travel prepared that is just my opinion.

  • JenniferFinger

    Glad to hear that, but I think stories like that in this day and age where getting that kind of assistance from flight attendants and crew members is the exception and not the rule are rarer and rarer. I’ll stick with not carrying valuable fragile items on a commercial airplane.

  • JenniferFinger

    Indeed not.

  • Michael__K

    No space issue or safety issue was cited. Here’s the thing: the crew member is in a position of authority. Passengers aren’t exactly in a position to say no to a crew member’s order, nor to challenge their assurances, even if the crew member’s orders and assurances are wrong.

    If the passenger was allowed to board with the guitar and couldn’t find space, then I could see where you are coming from. Then again, I bet passengers would have been able to resolve that scenario to everyone’s satisfaction on their own: I would be happy to gate check my roll-aboard to accommodate a fellow passenger with a fragile item like that and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Plus the guitar toting passenger could always offer to buy neighboring passengers a meal or a drink as an extra incentive :)

    I agree with Chris based on the facts at hand:
    if someone is forced to check a guitar in a soft case, then there is no contract of carriage. The contract, if there is any, was the oral contract between the crewmember and Pardo, in which he’d been assured that his guitar would be safe.

  • gracekelley

    I understand where your coming from and again i sympathize with the lack of service he got that day. Something like that would never happen if i was working the main door. I still have an issue though and think he is still accountable for his own items. He needs proof the crewmember said it would be ok i don’t think anyone would say that in fact if he was at the mcd most likely a pilot heard and he would have to have proof other than his one sided story. Again I agree to disagree but my advice is still but the item a seat if the item is of value that is the only way to be certain it will make it unharmed.

  • gracekelley

    Key word here is “unsuitably packaged”. A softcase can obtain damage in an OHB. Again take the $250 & don’t travel via air with a soft case or items of value without purchasing a seat or nothing is 100%.

  • Michael__K

    No, it’s implausible that the passenger voluntarily offered to check the guitar at the departure gate. And Jet Blue isn’t even claiming that. Passengers shouldn’t need to walk around with live mics everywhere they go to prove what they were ordered to do.

    Funny how people in the industry never believe that their peers would say some of the things that they say.

    Just a couple of weeks ago I flew a round trip on a small aircraft with my family — we had the exact same plane type and seating and OHB configuration each way. On the outbound trip an FA told me I needed to check my roll-aboard because it wouldn’t fit in the OHB. On the return trip, I proactively submitted the same roll-aboard for gate checking, and the FA told me to carry it aboard. I protested that I didn’t think it would fit. Sure enough it did fit. (And, no, there was no space issue on the first flight which had a few empty seats and empty bins).

    It was really of no consequence to me– it made little difference to me whether I gate checked that bag or not. And overall I was very happy with the service from the crew on the outbound flight; they were wonderful with my small kids. But it just goes to show that they were fallible — either they misjudged the size of that carry on or they fibbed and didn’t want to tell me the actual reason why they wanted me to gate check it.

    PS: If you choose to reply, do you mind replying to the actual post you are responding to? Thanks.

  • DFTG

    None of this is new. Tom Paxton recorded a song about just this topic back in 1985: “Thank You, Republic Airlines” (http://www.mydfz.com/Paxton/lyrics/tyra.htm). I love the eerily prescient final couplet.

  • gracekelley

    It wouldn’t let me reply to them from my phone so I got on a computer just for you one last time! I understand what your saying I even sympathize with it. I don’t disagree he was asked to check it. I am just saying, do I think a crew member would say that beyond a shadow of a doubt it would 100% be a ok? that I am not sure about. I straight up tell people that I cannot promise anything even if it is onboard and stowed (ever been on a plane that drops 10k feet), they get mad, but if anyone that wants to keep a job will not guarentee a passenger’s belongings…IMO. Then i tell the CA then i fill out an ops report. There are 2 sides to every story and then there is the truth. I have also seen a lot of surly FA’s out there and have had to apologize and difuse a lot of situations before so I don’t know I was not there. My only point here is that they gave him $250 so move on. be glad you go it because no they are not responsable. let him sue the crewmember if he has proof he told him that which again i have a hard time with that because how could he promise that unless he planned to ride in the cargo and hold it himself personally. Don’t thinks so… but again i see both sides I am just saying the policies are black and white on their websites and if you wanna stroll onboard with an expensive item then buy it a seat, buy insurance for it, but i would never assume that it will get there ok without either of the two you can’t be sure you really can’t. I have seen a crewmember be fired over something she asked someone to remove from the seatback pocket not only because it was a far violation but she was afraid it could get broke well guess what they ignored her and it got broke they call up the airline and she is expected to pay for it or quite she ended up being fired and that is an account from my own two eyes so yeah i have a hard time with this side of the story being 100% accuarate. I am not saying it is right I am just saying it how it is and when your traveling on a us carrier your better be prepared. I will help people out as much as I can(again i would never ask someone to gate check and if i had to i truthfully give the reason), but if your not prepared I cannot promise you anything. I will quote company policies as politely as I can take a verbal lashing and fill out a report on it. This guy that was working this flight better have done the same or he probably got fired. That’s all I can’t talk about it anymore I am just saying you cannot expect them to promise you anything when you don’t package it properly, buy a seat for it, or buy insurance on it per their policies. PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY we are all adults. My kindle fire got broke recently during turbulence and noone is paying for it but me. can you imagine if everything that gets damaged during flight became an issue like this and they paid for it? There would be no airlines or you’d pay a 1950 price for your ticket for the same terrrible service you get here in 2013…… I mean after all the ceo’s need their pockets lined right? (joke joke joke) I don’t say it is right I am just saying it is clear and that is their policy.
    Can we not just agree to disagree? I understand your side, but I still know the policies and I can read what is on their webpage….

  • gracekelley

    On a side note about your smaller aircraft travels if it where a rj then sometimes the cockpits in those aircraft are different and weight and balance is calculated differently. some reg jets are nose heavy and some reg companies have the equipment in the cockpit configured to calculate the rollerboards to even out the weight and balance with out having to add ballats to the cargo compartment and it is very confusing when going from a mainline aircraft to a regional one and all regional have diff. policies esp. when a legacy carrier may have 7 diff. reg. carriers doing quick turns for them. so i very much sympathize with it and I am a very nice and helpful attendant and never ever argue about carryons (not worth it) but if it is asked “will it be fine” my answer to that would be “i am so sorry but unless your purchased insurance or a seat for it of that I cannot be sure” I am sorry for the way things are I truely am the way things are written are to protect airlines not passengers in theses cases and I hate it i really do but that is why i tell people be prepared cause it is nuts out there and the only person responsable for you and your stuff is YOU all they have to do is get you from a to b unless you have prearranged something in advance! Good luck with any future travels i truely wish all the best i just cannot agree that people should be able to bring these types of things on without a seat for it and just assume it’ll work out because so many times it doesn’t andn it is sad but you must prepare.

  • Michael__K

    What I keep coming back to is that the policies were violated the moment the passenger was refused the ability to board the plane with his guitar. If one party doesn’t follow it’s own rules then the consequences are not the “personal responsibility” of the aggrieved party.

    I understand you don’t concede that’s what happened. But JetBlue replied with it’s POV and they don’t cite a safety issue or any other legitimate policy basis for refusing the guitar on board. If there was an unusual, atypical situation to justify the refusal then it’s incumbent on the carrier to explain. It’s unfair and baseless to assume such a justification out of thin air.

    We may be going in circles at this point, and, yes, we can agree to disagree.

  • Puck2u

    If you ask a question then ask for the answer in writing or email that includes appropriate regulation references. Carry a copy with you. I’m going through this with a student returning for Ramadan in Indonesia. He and his wife are caught between United allowing one bag each starting out on a regional jet and then on an international airline that allows 2 bags each. United web site does say one bag each for a $25 each then $100 for the next bag. The travel agent, who is not really responsive, says they can take more than one bag each as does the international airline. I can set seat assignments on United but the international airline says the flight has none available to reserve! This going on with $4,000+ in tickets!

  • jetsetgo

    JetBlue’s website is pretty clear about carrying musical instruments in the cabin – if it falls outside 45 linear inches it must be checked. The customer may have carried it aboard other flights (with JetBlue or another carrier), however, those circumstances should be seen as the exception, not the rule. I personally have never seen a guitar that would fit inside the carry-on requirements of any airline – especially on a JetBlue A320 or E190. While I have seen some customers place guitars in special cabinets or closets on some airlines (Delta in particular), I don’t believe JetBlue planes have those areas.

    I personally feel that the customer was in the wrong here – this is an item that is explicitly excluded from liability. JetBlue’s website is clear on the procedures for traveling with this type of item (including the option to purchase a seat for the item). You can’t blame the airline for enforcing its own policies. The customer wasn’t forced to check his item – he chose to check his item the moment he took it through security. Seeing as how he wasn’t entitled anything, I feel a $250 credit is more than fair.

    JetBlue’s website: http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll/,/?St=370,E=0000000000129144895,K=8233,Sxi=5,Case=obj(2132)