Re: Air travel experiences

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Posted by Tim Johansson Taj on March 27, 2001 at 21:55:40:

In Reply to: Air travel experiences posted by Gary Swart on March 27, 2001 at 14:58:23:

I traveled with my group, The Jeffco Brass, and a choir/orchestra, The Musicians of St. Clare, to Italy for the Jubilee 2000 celebration in late Dec. of '99. We had two tubists along to back each other up and it proved necessary.

We traveled United Airlines from Denver to Milan, and return from Rome to Atlanta to Denver. During the course of the trip the airlines beat up many of the cases. Drum cases were scarred and had casters knocked off. A trombone case was smashed beyond practical use, fortunately the instrument survived. One of the tubas, a brand new MW25, was not as lucky. It was being transported in a beautiful handmade case, made by the father of the young lady who owned it. The case was substantial, made from plywood and shaped to the horn. It was padded inside and had a vinal exterior upholstered on it. On the way to Italy it was rough handled severely enough to break some hardware on the case and bend the horn's 4th valve linkage out of servicibility. On the return trip we actually saw the crew in Atlanta drop the horn out of the plane onto the baggage waggon. This new horn was now severely dented in multipule places and had more valves out of commission. In Denver, the owner, who was broken down to tears at the claim desk, was told that United would only cover - I think I remember it as $2000 of the damage. It may have been $1000, it was over a year ago. The owner's parent's homeowner insurance covered the balance.

My horn, a 1955 Roth-Reynolds Recording Bass survived a little better. Not being able to find used case(s)for it I was compelled to start up the tablesaw and make one. This 3/8" plywood box, 2'x2'x4' was constructed in a manner similar to what is used to ship heavy machinery. It totaled nearly 100# by the time I had the horn strapped in with nylon straps, added in accessories, tux, shoes, and etc. I custom configured the interior, padded it, lined it, added chest handles, heavy duty casters, and used cargo straps and hasps to keep it shut. The airlines turned it upside down, on end, and on edge. They made deep gouges in the top and dented a metal corner. They couldn't hurt the horn. I also had to lash it to the bow of a water taxi in Venice. The salt water washing over the bow in a storm made the wheels squeek all over town until I got out the Al Cass and stopped it. It stayed perfectly dry inside the case. I now own a new VMI 3301. (Mike Russo, I love it!) I have been thinking about how to modify the old case if I travel like that again.

The bottom line of this long story is insurance. I have the new horn fully insured in a rider on my homeowners insurance. I would never want to lose either of my horns, they are like valued friends. However, I could at least replace the expensive one without the financial pain. The RR has too many memories to replace.


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