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Author Topic: Airlines, security and violin cases  (Read 7763 times)

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Offline concertA

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Airlines, security and violin cases
« on: Apr 28, 2006, 12:16:57 AM »
Since I'll be flying all over the globe here soon (yay!!!!  ;D) with my violin, I've been thinking...should I take out some of the things in my case that could possibly be used as weapons--if you were really creative that is.  Like finger nail clippers...are those allowed now or not?  Extra strings? (you could use them as a garrote)  Practice mute?  (looks vaguely like brass knuckles)  A mirror?  (you could break it and have a sharp weapon)


Ummm...what else could be used in a deadly fashion?  My etude book?  (cuz it's sure killing me...Thank you!  I'll be at the comedy club all week   ;D)

Seriously, should I take some of these things out and put them in my checked luggage?

edit:  Sorry...I thought I was in Accessories.  Acoustic/Accessories--they both start with 'A' 

Men-In-Blue--you want to move this for me, please?

Offline sreizes

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #1 on: Apr 28, 2006, 12:29:14 AM »
I'll put in my 2-cents before they do...

I took the "I'm not gonna be playing anyway" route and took out anything metal that wasn't part of the violin.  So, mutes, pitch pipe (looks like little bullets maybe...) nail-clipper, coiled spare strings (I left in the ones in the string tube) etc came out.  I also stuck my music in an outside pocket of our luggage, just to save the weight (for myself).  Then I stuck my spare book for the flight in the music pocket :).  Just make sure you put them somewhere you will be able to find everything later...

Offline fiddly diddly

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #2 on: Apr 28, 2006, 01:47:57 AM »
ROFLOL Lol Heidi you make me howl  ;D ...I do appologise but you could get some wheeler dealer shoes with huge hollow plateform soles and hide all these things in the soles....oh now I have visions of you trying to mince your way through customs looking very guilty with huge heavy boots on, dragging your legs cos the the boots are soo heavy cos they are crammed full of lips sticks and nail clippers etc etc ..... then you go getting yourself arrested for having one to many strings... >:D

oh yeah ...avoid wearing any false noses or false moustaches for this ...it might cause suspician...you really need to remain inconspicuous at all times >:D       

Offline Mia

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #3 on: Apr 28, 2006, 06:19:34 AM »
i'd like some tips about this as well! i'll be leaving for europe with my possibly-used-for-hijacking violin very soon!

Offline Steve_W

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #4 on: Apr 28, 2006, 06:23:37 AM »
When I travel with my violin (so far only in the US) I take everything that's non-essential out of the case, including extra strings, tools, electronic tuners, etc.  My aim is to remove anything that isn't immediately identifiable to a non-violinist in the security scan of the case; I don't want to give the security people a reason to want to take a more detailed look at it.  You might think this is overkill but the last time we flew to a gig, a bandmate was stopped because he was carrying his instrument microphone, which to the security people apparently looked like a pipe bomb (it's a sort of non-standard shape but would be immediately recognizable as a mic to a sound person).  They detained him for about 20 minutes for questioning and a thorough pat-search.  -Steve

Offline Tize

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #5 on: Apr 28, 2006, 07:51:24 AM »
I've been questioned about my mic before as well. I've also been told I can't take the spare strings on, but then kicked up enough of a fuss that they gave in. I'd definitely remove the nail clippers, strings I think you can get away with.

Yay, not long to go now! :)

Offline mickeysmom

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #6 on: Apr 28, 2006, 02:19:30 PM »
I recently flew to California... they xrayed the violin (in case).  Had removed nail file, clippers.  Left a set of spare strings in the case under the violin, but no problem.  International travel is probably lots different.  I carried the violin case as my "carry-on" luggage and stored in overhead storage compartment on the plane.
Good luck, Heidi... and have fun on your travels.  Wish I could be going to Buxton, too.   

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #7 on: Apr 28, 2006, 04:08:10 PM »
ROFLOL Lol Heidi you make me howl  ;D ...I do appologise but you could get some wheeler dealer shoes with huge hollow plateform soles and hide all these things in the soles....oh now I have visions of you trying to mince your way through customs looking very guilty with huge heavy boots on, dragging your legs cos the the boots are soo heavy cos they are crammed full of lips sticks and nail clippers etc etc ..... then you go getting yourself arrested for having one to many strings... >:D

oh yeah ...avoid wearing any false noses or false moustaches for this ...it might cause suspician...you really need to remain inconspicuous at all times >:D       

Ha ha, Ruthie!  I'll get me some platform shoes from the 70's and hollow them out. 

Hmmm...Ok...so remove non essential metal stuff and weird not obviously musical things.  I was thinking my tuner looks like a mysterious detonating device also.  When I flew with my violin to the coast this fall I had no problem, but I am thinking maybe international flights are more of a hassle.  Perhaps not, I don't know. 

Re: fake noses and moustaches   That might be an improvement!  I swear I look like a complete criminal in my passport foto.  And we all know about the moustache.   ;)

Offline Mia

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #8 on: Apr 28, 2006, 04:50:30 PM »
it's safe to x-ray electric instruments, by the way, right? i hope?

Offline beeswing

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #9 on: Apr 28, 2006, 05:35:14 PM »
My un-educated guess is that the dose of rays they use is so low it wouldn't even inconvenience a bow bug. I wouldn't worry at all about an acoustic instrument.

With a little less basis for my opinion, I wouldn't worry about a passive electric, either piezo or magnetic pickup. I imagine it takes a healthy swat of energy to depolarize a magnet the size they use, and I imagine the piezo films and ceramics are pretty rugged in that respect as well.

If they X-ray laptops and ipods without ill effect, then I wouldn't worry about an instrument with built-in preamp either. I think the transistors in either of those gizmos are a lot tinier than the ones in your fiddle, and so more susceptible to being upset by Xrays...

Bear in mind this is just me rambling off the top of my head ???

Three of us went walking through Boston's Logan airport wearing Groucho glasses  to meet a friend arriving from Heathrow one time, without mishap, but that was back when aeroplanes were made of linen and spruce, and xenophobia hadn't been invented yet.
;D
« Last Edit: Apr 28, 2006, 05:43:22 PM by beeswing »
I want to be a musician when I grow up.
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Offline JohnP

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #10 on: Apr 28, 2006, 07:27:52 PM »
X-rays won't bother musical instruments, whether acoustic or electric.

Offline johnnie40coats

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #11 on: Apr 29, 2006, 06:39:08 AM »
I'm flying back to Dublin next Wednesday and I'm taking anything open to question out of the case so as to prevent any delays or hassle. Once I when I was living in Manchester I was flying home for a friends wedding and was walking thru the separate section where they screen/frisk Irish passport holders - the gal frisking me pulled a Shubb guitar capo out of my pocket and started freaking out! I stuttered that it was for to use with guitars and luckily a much calmer person frisking someone else said, "Yeah, she's telling the truth..." and the gal let me thru. A friends band was going up to Belfast once to play a gig, and got thru the border checkpoint no problem, but as they were going to drive off, the back doors of their van flew open and a flight case fell out and burst open. The army swarmed over and were stood, rifles to the ready, screaming "What is that what is that??!!", and when my mate Des, arms held above his head, looked down at what they were fixated on, it was the red light of his guitar tuner flashing! To quote a Smiths lyric, "I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was terrible..."

Johnnie

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #12 on: Apr 29, 2006, 05:05:08 PM »
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...it was the red light of his guitar tuner flashing!...

OK, the tuner definitely is going in my checked luggage!!  I don't really fancy having guns pointed at me.   :P

Offline Mia

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #13 on: Apr 30, 2006, 07:55:48 AM »
haha, ditto!

thanks for the great suggestions, everyone!

Offline propjet

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #14 on: Apr 30, 2006, 06:15:17 PM »
I am a pilot who takes a fiddle everywhere. I can tell you that the TSA is not the problem. I bring mutes and tuners in my case and have never had a problem. The problem with putting your fiddle in the overhead is with the airline itself. Sometimes a particular airline will blame TSA. Don't believe them. I have no real answers except to use the smallest case you can find so that you do not take up to much room in the overhead. I use an arrowhead shaped case with backpack straps. I have only had a few instances where the airline would not let me bring my fiddle aboard. Good Luck.

Offline fiddly diddly

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2006, 05:32:42 PM »
 >:D Heidi NO you must NOT draw any unnecessary attention to yourself by DEMANDING that nice young customs ocifer man frisks you....just pick up your flashing tuner and your fiddle case and head out to the parking bay ...Trish will be waiting for you...theres a good gorl  ;D 

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2006, 06:03:15 PM »
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...DEMANDING that nice young customs ocifer man frisks you...

But...what if he's cute?  Can he frisk me then?


Naw, I washn't drinkin' nuthin on the plane, oshifer.

Offline Worldfiddler

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2006, 06:32:11 PM »
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Naw, I washn't drinkin' nuthin on the plane, oshifer.

It's the Buxton Department of Correction for you,my dear.  :)

Jim

Offline johnnie40coats

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2006, 07:03:38 PM »
I just arrived back in Ireland with my fiddle, flew out of LAX last Wednesday and no one so much as opened the case! No funny looks or hassle trying to get it on the plane either. The flight was packed, which made me think they might try to make me check it in, but the only question I was asked was by a cop with a sniffer dog - "Hey what instrument is that?" Fiddle arrived in one piece, BUT my soundpost had moved considerably. In a similar thread over in the Maintenance forum, some folk advised loosening strings a wee bit, and others not. I went with the wee bit of loosening and now am thinking I shouldn' t have bothered. Ah well, at least it's not in 5 pieces! Good luck with your trip...

Johnnie

Offline Varian

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2006, 12:32:19 AM »
When I travelled to Russia with my violin I took out everything but the violin, bow, and rosin. And the Frankfurt airport they took a look at my instrument to be sure I wasn't smuggling drugs in by means of violin. So, I think that as long as you aren't smuggling drugs ;) and you leave it at the bare bones, and put the rest in your checked you will be fine... believe me, they will flip out about anything...

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2006, 12:48:07 AM »
Good to know.  Thanks for the info.  I have a lay-over in Frankfurt on my way to Rome.

Offline corien

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2006, 11:48:11 AM »
A mirror?  (you could break it and have a sharp weapon)

What are you doing with a mirror in your case? :D

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2006, 04:21:45 PM »
For the lipstick!  Doh!  Don't you have lipstick and a mirror in your case?  LOL   ;D

Offline Worldfiddler

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2006, 07:35:56 PM »
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Don't you have lipstick and a mirror in your case?  LOL   

No, he doesn't need a mirror, he can apply lipstick without it. I don't either, but that's just me. By the way, dear, how do you manage to avoid getting the lipstick on your moustache?  >:D  [Anyone fancy joining me for one of those incredibly strong home-made beers before I collapse?  ;D

Jim

PS On the subject thread, I did get heavily questioned for having talc in a little box beside the rosin...well they sniffed and sniffed at it and eventually let it go.

Offline diddle

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2006, 08:52:51 PM »
I could be wrong, but I think she avoids lipstick on the 'stash by lookin' in the mirror and pluckin' out those unwanted hairs with tweezers...  (Which, of course, she's carrying in her suitcase, not the fiddle case...)  Don't wanna be raisin' too many eyebrows, ya know...    >:D

Jest jokin' with ya, Hide-E!   ;D  No mirrors, no tweezers!   ;D

Thanks for the home-brew, Jim...  I think I've had enough!   ;D

Offline diddle

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2006, 09:09:09 PM »
(We love to tease you, cA...  You know we're just jokin'!)   8)

Offline corien

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2006, 12:13:16 AM »
By the way, dear, how do you manage to avoid getting the lipstick on your moustache?

I usually let it stick on my moustache and then lick it away.

Offline woodwiz

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2006, 12:22:47 AM »
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By the way, dear, how do you manage to avoid getting the lipstick on your moustache?

Same way you get to Royal Albert Hall: "Practice, man, practice."

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2006, 04:07:54 AM »
Don't you know anything?  Naturally I shave first, then use the mirror to apply the lipstick.   ;)

Offline Worldfiddler

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2006, 12:44:46 PM »
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Jest jokin' with ya, Hide-E!     No mirrors, no tweezers!   

Too late for that, diddle girl...Heidi's gonna whip ya wi her eyelashes!!  :laugh:

Jim

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2006, 11:58:40 PM »
Hmmm....do you think I look suspicious?   ;)


Offline diddle

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2006, 01:18:43 AM »
Way too suspicious, Heidi...  You'd better dye your hair to match the 'stash...   ;D

Offline diddle

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2006, 02:39:45 AM »
Actually, what would be easier is if you just let the blond dye on your hair fade out...  But I don't know if there is enough time (before your flight) for that...   >:D   ;D ;D ;D

Offline Steve_W

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2006, 07:30:33 PM »
Back on topic (at least compared to the recent posts >:D)  when travelling internationally, should a person be concerned about carrying documentation that shows that you owned the instrument prior to leaving your home country?  Has anyone had problems with customs on re-entering the US?  Is there specific documentation that should be carried?  -Steve

Offline sreizes

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2006, 08:01:07 PM »
I saw a story about someone having problems once from customs in an Eastern European country (I think it was on FF about a year ago? or more).  Just in case I carried copies of my violin's appraisals (old and new, to show extended ownership).  They never left my case.

I would think a receipt copy (if available) or a copy of an appraisal showing you to be the owner would be helpful in the event of questions.  Especially if you are going to be traveling to the purported origin of your fiddle, an example, my mother traveled to Peru years ago and wore an emerald she has.  She had to pay duty on it returning to the U.S. since she did not have any documentation on it and did not "declare" it on leaving the U.S.

Offline fiddly diddly

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2006, 08:28:31 PM »
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Hmmm....do you think I look suspicious?   

Quote
Way too suspicious, Heidi...  You'd better dye your hair to match the 'stash...   

Heidi you have one month to grow a really long beard to match you tash...then if you completely shave your head baldy style ...get a fisherman knit jumper.....hey presto the nice customs man will just think your here to play folk music.....think about all the money you can save on the hair dye....leaving you loads a money for filling your fiddle case with new strings and detenators...hey and with the money you save you can get the beers in too!!!!! >:D   

Offline Steve_W

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2006, 09:54:26 PM »
I saw a story about someone having problems once from customs in an Eastern European country (I think it was on FF about a year ago? or more).  Just in case I carried copies of my violin's appraisals (old and new, to show extended ownership).  They never left my case.

I would think a receipt copy (if available) or a copy of an appraisal showing you to be the owner would be helpful in the event of questions.  Especially if you are going to be traveling to the purported origin of your fiddle, an example, my mother traveled to Peru years ago and wore an emerald she has.  She had to pay duty on it returning to the U.S. since she did not have any documentation on it and did not "declare" it on leaving the U.S.

Thanks Steve.  After some searching on the US Gov't travel sites to attempt to find some guidance I found this link to the customs form "Registration for Dutiable Personal Articles Prior to U.S. Departure" which is apparently the form that US Customs would like you to use for these situations:
 http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing_goods/certificate_of_registration.xml 

The description for this form says 'This is a prior to U.S. departure "Certificate of Registration" (CBP Form 4457) for personal articles (cameras, laptops, etc). The certificate provides proof of article ownership and therefore may secure the article exempt of customs duties on U.S. reentry with exceptions.'  But you apparently have to visit your local US Customs & Border Protection Office prior to departure, along with the items, to have it approved.  Like you I would imagine that carrying copies of appraisals and/or receipts would be sufficient for most situations. -Steve

Offline diddle

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2006, 08:53:48 AM »
(With the exception of traveling with my folks, when I was 10-14 years old or so...)

I have never been through the experience of traveling to foreign places...  But, I asked my neighbour about this "declaring" business, and he said that they should have a booth there, at the airport, in order to fill out a form and "declare" whatever you declare...  He said that it shouldn't be a problem, but if you're concerned, to go a couple of hours early, and fill out the form, if you want to...  He said that it should not be a problem, especially if you have a receipt of some sort...  Well, I don't...  My violin was a gift from my father...  I have an apprasial for it, but that is from 1962.  It really doesn't show any proof that it was obtained in the U.S....  It's just an appraisal...

AND... don't take this as the final word...  Although my neighbour could be knowlegible in this area... it's not his bag...  He is speaking from personal experience, from his own travels...

Offline swarbrules

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2006, 03:42:27 PM »
To quote my late mother:

Ye Gods and little fishes!!!

I thought we were bureaucratic.

Offline concertA

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2006, 04:03:27 PM »
Last time I went to  Mexico I remember on the plane before landing, the flight attendants handed out a form to fill out to declare any purchases.  There are various categories and amounts.  If you have purchased nothing but souvenirs and it's under..I don't know, some amount like $400....you just mark the box "nothing to declare" and hand that to the customs official.  They didn't even glance at the form or my bags. 

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2006, 06:42:42 PM »
Now that the violin case has been thoroughly vetted, how about bows? Is anyone familiar with U.S. Customs confiscating bows made of exotic materials, like ivory or tortoise shell? Yesterday my shop mentioned this practice when I asked about certain fine bows. Apparently a number of SF Bay Area musicians have had their expensive bows confiscated on return from abroad.

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2006, 01:55:49 AM »
EGADS!   :o  Now bows?   ???  Oh great... one more thing to stew about...

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2006, 04:35:40 AM »
I wouldn't get worked up about it.

The bow thing is old news.  Import/export of certain items like ivory are strictly controlled.  Most of us have nothing to worry about.  Those of us with expensive bows made with such exotic materials need to leave the things at home or there may be ways of certifying the bow so that customs will let it go through.  I've read stuff about this but I knew the odds of it every applying to me was essentially zero so I promptly forgot about it.

While some modern bow makers are still using these materials, they will tell you about it if a bow you like is made of that stuff.  You won't every buy a bow like that by accident.

The other way to get into trouble is if you happen to own a very old bow.  But again, if you bought the bow from a reputable shop, they'd tell you if the bow contained materials on the controlled list.

- Ray

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2006, 08:08:22 PM »
Hmm, missed that on my trip!  Here I am with an old bow, with real ivory tip and ivory slides on the frog...

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2006, 11:06:40 PM »
I was thinking of taking my fiddle with me on vacation.  I have an old plastic case that seems real tough and would be smaller and holds two bows, some rosin and that's really about it. Anything else i'll carry in my suitcase. I think I'd have less chance of any hassle as a carryon.

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2006, 01:34:10 PM »
My experience with customs when entering/exiting countries... You usually fill out a wee form on the plane detailing the value of any gifts you've purchased etc., then at the airport there are to channels to walk down, Green for "Nothing to declare" and Red for "Stuff to declare"  I have NEVER walked down the Re d channel and have brought back guitars from the states in years gone by with no problems. At Dublin airport I've never actually SEEN a customs officer. I thought with all the press about asylum seekers and immigrants that they would've beefed up the customs presence, but I didn't see anyone. Just as well as I was kind of conspicuous travelling with two guitars, a fiddle and a huge duffle bag. For a bit of background, I'm Irish, but mixed race, so on recent visits home, I've been pulled over and asked questions by immigration, only for them to do a redner when they saw my Irish passport and heard the Dublin accent. Whats interesting is that when we weren't a "multi cultural society" this never happened, but now that there are folks of different nationality/race living in Ireland in large numbers, I get pulled over all the time... A bit of advice a friend gave me was to always look customs and immigration officers in the eye as you walked past as they nearly never pull you over if you do so. I tried it once coming back from London with a guitar I'd just bought, lots of customs fellas at the ferry port, pulling folks over - I looked one fella straight in the eye, said 'Howya",  he said "Enjoy your journey" and my scruffy punk rock butt was one of the few ones NOT pulled over for questions and bag opening...

Johnnie

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2006, 02:08:12 PM »
I was holidaying abroad during one of sterling's various crises in the 70's. Being a bunch of lads, we, naturally got pulled over.

HM Customs

"Got anything to declare? Buy anything while you were abroad?"

Me

"Have you seen the state of the pound?"

HM Customs

"Fair enough, through you go."

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #47 on: May 17, 2006, 12:02:38 PM »
Heidi, if your fiddle case looks like this you might look a little more suspicious!

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2006, 01:15:08 PM »
I'm thourougly confused...  Do you only go through "customs" on your way back?  What's all this business about, anyways?   ???

What's the difference between "declaring" and "customs"?   ???
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 01:47:26 PM by diddle »

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Re: Airlines, security and violin cases
« Reply #49 on: May 17, 2006, 04:41:31 PM »
Customs is the "nice" folks from the Government who charge tax & tariff on imported goods.  "Declaring" is when the nice customs people ask you "So, what did you get while you were in the land of the heathens?" and you say "Oh, nothing".  Getting pulled aside is when they go "Uh-huh.  Let's just have a look shall we?"

Sometimes, you get asked "You, foreign person! What corrupting influences are you bringing into our innocent country"  Again you Declare..., then it turns out your 150 yr old violin from Upper Somewhere is one of their National Treasures which you are now smuggling out of their country!  (Some one good with search, find that story, it's on FF somewere, Church Group, bus tour in Eastern Europe, old violin...)

 




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