Guitar Case Guide

Airlines in the USA that Allow Guitars – The Full List

Airlines in the USA that Allow Guitars | The Full List

This is a comprehensive list of airlines in the United States of America that allow or do not allow the transportation of guitars on flights.  Each airline has its own specific set of rules and guidelines when boarding with a guitar or instrument. If you are traveling with a guitar I highly suggest reading my article regarding best practices.  This table below compares airlines and their rules pertaining to the transportation of guitars and instruments.  I was unable to find a comprehensive list of these rules on any single website so here it is.

Before booking a flight within the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) it is best to make sure your airline of choice will allow three different methods:

1.  Carry On Luggage

Carry On Luggage pertains to storing a guitar in the overhead compartment or coat locker.

2. Checked Luggage

Checked luggage goes under the aircraft with suitcases.  For this option, it’s best to make sure you have a proper case to protect your instrument. Checked luggage has a higher risk of damage by baggage handlers or even just by getting crushed by other bags.  If you do plan on checking your guitar in with the luggage then you should read my post detailing 8 Essential Things You Need in a Hard Case for Airline Travel.

3. Seat Purchase

Some Airlines allow a full fare purchase of a seat for your beloved instrument.  As long as the instrument fits the size and weight requirements you usually can purchase a seat for it.

Skip to Guitar Baggage Rules for Your Airline Below


Alaska Airlines Guitar Rules

Alaska Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

Small musical instruments may count as your one carry-on bag and may exceed the Standard carry-on dimensions, as long as they can be safely accommodated in a proper stowage compartment in the cabin of the aircraft.

The carry-on bag size limit for flights has changed to 22” x 14” x 9” – these dimensions include the wheels and handles. Be sure to measure your bag carefully before you fly.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules:

Each instrument is subject to the following checked-baggage service fees and overweight/oversize fees:

Musical instrument weight table

On Alaska Airlines flight series 1-1999 the maximum combined linear dimensions of a checked musical instrument may not exceed 150 inches (length + height + width). On Alaska Airlines flight series 2000-2999 and 3300-3499 the maximum combined linear dimensions may not exceed 115 inches (length + height + width).

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

If you are traveling with an item too large or too fragile to check or put in the overhead bin, you have the option to purchase a ticket for that item and have it travel as cabin-seat baggage — in its own seat on the plane.

Cabin seat baggage is charged 100% of the applicable adult base fare, plus 6.25% cargo tax. Please call Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522 (TTY: Dial 711 for Relay Services) for assistance. Our standard ticketing fee will be waived. Cabin seat baggage cannot be booked online.

In order to safely transport your cabin-seat baggage, we request that you make reservations as early as possible. This ensures we can load the appropriate number of seatbelt extensions, and make sure that the specific seats required for transport of cabin seat baggage are available. We require at least 24-hour notice for groups of 5 or more traveling with cabin-seat baggage.

In addition to the cabin seat baggage item, each passenger is limited to only one carry-on item (not to exceed 9″ x 14″ x 22″ (23 x 36 x 56 cm) including wheels, handles and expanded pockets.) plus one personal item (such as a purse, briefcase or laptop) regardless of how many seats are purchased.

The seat purchased for the cabin seat baggage is allowed its own standard checked baggage allowance, fees, and waivers.


Allegiant airlines Guitar Rules

Allegiant Air

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules: 

The following conditions apply to acceptance for carriage in the aircraft passenger cabin of bass violas, cellos, guitars, and other musical instruments, and electronic, computer, and audio/video equipment and parts thereof, whose size prevents such instruments or equipment from being handled as normal carry–on baggage:

  1. the instrument or equipment must be contained in a case;
  2. a reservation must be made for the instrument or equipment at the applicable fare;
  3. the instrument or equipment must be secured in the first window seat aft of a floor–to–ceiling bulkhead. Such seats are limited in availability.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules:

Each checked bag may weigh up to 40 lbs. (18 kilos) and must not exceed eighty (80) linear inches in height + width + depth (203 cm). Each passenger may bring up to 5 pieces of checked luggage.

Luggage in excess of eighty (80) inches but not more than one hundred fifteen (115) inches (sum of outside length plus outside height plus outside width) will incur an oversize charge of seventy–five dollars ($75.00) per item in addition to the assessed Baggage Fee.

Baggage weighing between forty–one (41) and Seventy (70) pounds will be accepted as checked baggage for an excess weight charge of fifty dollars ($50.00) per item in addition to the assessed Baggage Fee. Baggage weighing between seventy–one (71) and ninety-nine (99) pounds will be accepted as checked baggage for an excess weight charge of seventy–five dollars ($75.00) per item in addition to the assessed Baggage Fee.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

Yes. Our mission and responsibility per our Contract of Carriage is to provide safe and comfortable air transportation for each and every customer. Passengers wishing to secure a musical item, a child restraint device for an infant, etc., must purchase an additional ticket. Please visit our Customer of Size FAQ section for information regarding seating requirements.


American Airlines Guitar Rules

American Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules: 

You can travel with small musical instruments as your carry-on item on a first come, first serve basis as long as it:

  • Fits in the overhead bin; or
  • Fits under the seat in front of you

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

Your musical instrument can also be checked. The maximum size for checked bags, including instruments, is 150 inches (381 cm), and the maximum weight is 165 lbs. (75 kg). Anything larger or heavier would need to be shipped via Cargo.

American Airlines Cargo 

The minimum size of the aircraft cargo hold doors on aircraft is 25in high x 40in wide/63cm high x 101cm wide, the ERJ 170 is a bit smaller at 25in x 38in. If your musical instrument is larger, please contact reservations for the exact size of cargo hold doors on the aircraft in your journey.

Please note that due to their fragile nature, we will only be liable for damages to musical instruments if:

  • Your instrument is in a hard-sided case
  • The outside of the case is visibly damaged

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

If your instrument doesn’t fit in the carry-on bag space, you can choose to buy an additional seat which:

  • Costs the applicable adult fare plus any applicable taxes or carrier-imposed fees
  • Is a bulkhead (divider) window seat (not in an Emergency Exit row)
  • Is directly next to yours

If you choose to buy an additional seat for your instrument, please note that seat bags must not weigh more than 165 lbs. (75 kg) and must meet seat size restrictions based on airplane type.


Delta Airlines Guitar Rules
Delta Airlines Guitar Rules

Delta Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

Guitars and other smaller musical instruments, such as violins, will be accepted as your free carry-on baggage item on Delta and Delta Connection® carriers flights¹. These items must easily fit in the overhead bin or other approved storage location in the cabin, based on available space at the time of boarding. Musical instruments may be gate claimed at the discretion of the passenger and as a result of limited overhead space.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

Musical instruments or equipment can be checked if the total linear dimension (length + width + height) does not exceed 150 inches (381 cm), and provided the weight, including the case, does not exceed 165lbs (75 kg).

Please note: Musical instruments exceeding 78.74 inches (200 cm) in length will not be accepted as checked baggage on 767-300 aircraft to/from Tokyo-Narita, Japan (NRT).

See standard rules and fees for overweight and oversized baggage.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules:

You may purchase a full fare ticket for an item that you feel is too fragile to be handled as checked baggage. You may stow the baggage in any passenger seat with a bulkhead or divider in front of the compartment. The following restrictions apply. The item must:

  • not exceed 165 lbs (75 kg)
  • be packaged or covered in a way to avoid injury to other passengers
  • be properly secured by a seatbelt to avoid shifting during flight
  • not restrict access to, or use of, any required emergency or regular exits or aisle of the cabin
  • not obscure any passenger’s view of the seatbelt, no smoking or exit signs
  • not contain dangerous goods
  • be secured in a seat in the same cabin as the owner and preferably next to the owner

Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

Musical instruments such as guitars, violins, cymbals, etc.

NOTE: We will not remove passenger baggage to make room nor will we provide special boarding. The musical instrument must fit into available space at the time of boarding; otherwise, the item will be gate checked and delivered to the jetbridge at the next stop.   A musical item may exceed the carry-on baggage dimensions as long as it fits into the overhead bin.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

Checked and carry-on bag prices are based on Fare Option purchased. Overweight and oversize baggage will be charged if applicable.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules:

Yes, if a seat is purchased you can carry your guitar as seat luggage.


Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

If the bag does not fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front, you may be required to check it in. You may also purchase a second seat for their fragile and/or bulky items, ex. guitars, cellos, at the currently available fare.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

NOTE: Any (i) separately packaged items and each additional musical instrument and (ii) any other item included with your musical instrument causing your musical instrument to exceed the standard baggage size or weight requirements, will be treated as separate items and will be subject to any applicable baggage fees.

  • The Outside Linear Dimension of the musical instrument (including the case) does not exceed 150 inches (381 cm) or the applicable size restrictions for the aircraft.
  • The weight of the musical instrument (including the case) does not exceed the lesser of (i) 165 pounds (74.5 kg) or (ii) the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft.
  • Your musical instrument may be subject to a visual inspection for any pre-existing damage.
  • Your musical instrument must be adequately and suitably packed in a bag or other container to protect it from damage.
  • For all string instruments, the strings must be loosened prior to transport.
  • Your additional baggage charges on musical instruments not qualifying as a Standard Bag are as follows:
    • Musical instrument is 51-70 pounds (23 – 31.5 kg):
      • Between points within the State of Hawaii, the additional overweight baggage fee is $35.00 per overweight piece.
      • For Domestic travel that is not wholly within the State of Hawaii, the additional overweight baggage fee is $50.00 per overweight piece.
    • Musical instrument is 71-165 pounds (32 – 74.5 kg):
      • Between points within the State of Hawaii, the excess additional overweight baggage fee is $70.00 per overweight piece.
      • For Domestic travel that is not wholly within the State of Hawaii, the total additional overweight baggage fee is $200.00 per overweight piece.
    • Musical instrument with an Outside Linear Dimension greater than 62 inches (157 cm), but not exceeding an Outside Linear Dimension of 150 inches (381 cm):
      • Between points within the State of Hawaii, the additional oversize baggage fee is $35.00 per oversized piece.
      • For Domestic travel that is not wholly within the State of Hawaii, the additional oversize baggage fee is $100.00 for each oversized piece.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

Passengers may purchase a seat for their fragile and/or bulky items if size requirements are met.


JetBlue Airlines
JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airways

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

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. Although the standard carry-on baggage size limitations do not apply to musical instruments, if the musical instrument cannot be stored onboard due space constraints, it must be checked at the gate. Such items will be delivered to the gate when the plane arrives in its destination.  

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

If the instrument is checked-in, it will count as part of the customer baggage allowance based on the fare that was purchased or applicable excess baggage fee(s) may apply. There is no oversize or overweight fee for musical instruments, as long as they do not exceed 150 linear inches, 165 pounds (75 kg) or the applicable size or weight restrictions for the aircraft, with the exception of certain international destinations which have specific size and weight limits- click here for international baggage limits.

We recommend that musical instruments travel in a hard-sided case or container. JetBlue accepts no liability for damage to musical instruments as per our Contract of Carriage.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

Musical instruments (such as upright basses, cellos, and some guitars) of a size that prevents the instrument from being handled as normal carry-on baggage will be accepted in the cabin subject to the following:

  • An extra seat has been purchased for the instrument
  • It has no sharp edges and is shaped so that it may be secured with a seat belt
  • It does not weigh more than 165 pounds (75 kg) and can easily be handled by the customer
  • Its bulk, shape, or size will not obstruct seat belt or no smoking signs when secured in the seat
  • It is placed in a window seat
  • It is not in an emergency exit row seat
  • It is secured by a crewmember
  • The item is pre-boarded and deplaned after other customers have deplaned

Note: Any crewmember in the process of securing the article is empowered to decide when the article cannot be properly secured because of its shape or size and whether the weight is greater than can be easily handled


Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

Please note that these items must be packed in a hard-sided case and that JetBlue is not responsible for damage to baggage carried in the cabin or as checked baggage if it’s not packed properly. JetBlue is not required to give musical instruments priority over other carry-on baggage. All carry-on baggage storage is based on a first-come, first served basis. 

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

  • In the event you are traveling with a musical instrument that will not fit in an overhead bin or under a seat onboard, you may purchase a seat for the instrument and carry it in the cabin under the following conditions:
    • The instrument must fit in the seat without blocking aircraft signage and be secured with a seatbelt.
    • The instrument must be placed in the first row and in a seat closer to the window than any other Customer in that row.
    • Reservations must be made and a ticket must be purchased at a charge no greater than the Child’s Fare. Musical instruments cannot be transported in place of a free companion under any fare promotion.
  • A musical instrument may be checked in substitution of one piece of the free Checked Baggage allowance for each Passenger at no charge on a one-item-for-one-bag basis.
  • Instruments that are transported in a soft-sided case or another packaging that is not strong enough to protect the instrument under normal baggage handling conditions will be subject to limited release, which means that Southwest assumes no liability for any damage sustained to the item during transport.
  • Carrier will not accept any musical instrument if the sum of the length, height, and width of the outside linear dimensions of the instrument (including case or covering) exceeds 150 inches, or the weight of the musical instrument exceeds 165 pounds (including case or covering).

Please Note: Some musical instruments (e.g. double bass, cello, etc.) cannot be secured in a seat and must be transported as checked baggage. Oversize or overweight charges will apply if the instrument is between 62-150 inches in size (outside length plus width plus height including case or covering) or if the instrument weighs between 51-165 pounds (including case or covering).

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

In the event you are traveling with a musical instrument that will not fit in an overhead bin or under a seat onboard, you may purchase a seat for the instrument and carry it in the cabin under the following conditions:
– The instrument must fit in the seat without blocking aircraft signage and be secured with a seatbelt.
– The instrument must be placed in the first row and in a seat closer to the window than any other Customer in that row.
– Reservations must be made and a ticket must be purchased at a charge no greater than the Child’s Fare. Musical instruments cannot be transported in place of a free companion under any fare promotion.

Please Note: Some musical instruments (e.g. double bass, cello, etc.) cannot be secured in a seat and must be transported as checked baggage. Oversize or overweight charges will apply if the instrument is between 62150 inches in size (outside length plus width plus height including case or covering) or if the instrument weighs between 51165 pounds (including case or covering).


Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

All carry-on items in the following seats must be placed in the overhead bin or in an approved stowage location at each seat. No carry-on items can be placed under the customer seat in front of these seats.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

Musical instruments are considered a fragile item. Fragile items will be accepted as checked baggage if they are appropriately packaged in a container/case designed for shipping such items. Fragile items without appropriate packaging will be accepted for domestic travel upon the execution of a release furnished by Spirit Airlines relieving August 23, 2011, Spirit Airlines of liability for loss/damage of checked baggage.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

Spirit Airlines allows customers to carry their musical instrument in the cabin with them if the instrument exceeds the size restrictions for carry-on baggage and/or the customer believes that the instrument is too fragile to be handled as checked baggage. The customer must purchase an extra seat for the instrument. Cost of the seat is the applicable fare for the portions of the flight that the extra seat is requested plus sales tax. The musical instrument must be secured in or against a window seat (not in an Emergency Exit Row). The customer must be seated in the seat directly next to the instrument. Seat baggage must not weigh more than 170 lbs. and must meet the size restrictions based on aircraft type and cannot block placards or signs.


United Airlines

Allow Carry On Guitar: YES

Carry On Rules:

As part of the allowance of one carry-on bag plus one personal item, a passenger may carry a violin, guitar or any another small musical instrument on board the aircraft if:

  1. The instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the passenger; and
  2. There is space for storage at the time when the passenger boards the aircraft

Musical instruments transported on board United and United Express aircraft must be in hard-shell cases.

Overhead Bin Dimensions:

The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.

Allow Checked Guitar: YES

Checked Guitar Rules: 

An instrument should be packed in a hard-shell case to keep it protected during normal handling. Excess checked baggage service charges may apply if the customer is checking more than two items. Oversize charges apply to musical instruments that measure 63 – 115 linear inches. Overweight charges apply to musical instruments that are over 50 pounds, but musical instruments weighing up to 165 pounds will be accepted. If the instrument is over 115 linear inches, please contact the United Customer Contact Center.

Additionally, customers should loosen the strings on stringed instruments to protect the neck against damage caused by expansion and contraction, which can result from temperature variations during flight.

See our Checked Baggage page for additional information about checking items.

As cabin-seat baggage

United will allow a customer to purchase a seat for a musical instrument that is too fragile or bulky to be handled as checked baggage.

Allow Cabin Seat Purchase: YES

Cabin Seat Rules: 

United Airlines will allow a customer to purchase a ticket for an item, approved by a United agent, which is too fragile or bulky to be handled as checked baggage. These items can be carried on board and transported in a seat.

Examples of cabin-seat baggage may include large or valuable musical instruments, media cameras, artifacts, garment bags and similar items of a delicate nature or unusual size. Note that guitars are not considered cabin-seat baggage and customers traveling with guitars should continue to follow carry-on baggage guidelines.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Must not exceed 165 pounds (75 kg).
  • Must be packaged or covered in a manner to avoid injury to other customers.
  • Must be secured in a seat adjacent to the owner.
  • Must be properly secured by a seat belt to avoid shifting during flight.
  • Must not restrict access to, or use of, any regular or emergency exit or aisle of the cabin.
  • Must not obscure any customer’s view of “seatbelt,” “no smoking” or “exit” signage.
  • Must not contain dangerous goods.
  • Must be reserved in advance and applicable charges paid.

Please check with a United agent for pricing information.