In the past, we rented trunks and shipped many basses.
Here is an archive of our information and tips for beginning your planning. You'll be responsible for all the carrier's regulations, which change frequently.
NB we have discontinued shipping basses and renting trunks; used trunks are sold out.
- If you wish to ship a bass by air, and are not taking it as baggage on your own flight, you will have to have your own air cargo account. Be prepared for the approval process to take multiple weeks.
- FreightQuote.com provides pricing for shipping via truck freight on a pallet. NB truck shipping is the most complicated method to ship a single instrument, with numerous steps and add-on fees.
- Greyhound Package Express is an economical way to ship a bass in a trunk between participating Greyhound terminals. A pallet is not required. Time in transit may be extensive (multiple weeks). Including an Apple Air Tag in your trunk is highly recommended. Greyhound is typically very good and considerate at handling double basses.
- Airlines are notoriously capricious about allowing basses as checked baggage although they are now legally required to take them (AFM members can read the document here), but anecdotally, our trunks have never been denied on board. We strongly recommend calling the airline in advance, adding the bass as oversize baggage to your reservation, specifying it is a musical instrument, and paying the oversize fee in advance. Look up, print out, and carry with you a copy of your airline's baggage policy demonstrating the bass is allowed. In this instance, you are less likely to be denied or charged an enormous fee at the ticket counter. When you approach the counter, tow the trunk in a low, horizontal position and lay it on the floor. Prepare to be extremely polite in all circumstances. We deliberately leave baggage stickers on our trunk showing its weight, destinations and frequent travel dates, likely showing your chosen airline has carried it before. Our friends have also had success by engaging a baggage porter at the curb to take the bass directly to baggage check instead of the ticket counter.
- Trunk fits in virtually any mid-size SUV and up.
- At your travel destination, request a minivan taxi. They are often the most common size taxi seen, and we have never heard of anyone having trouble obtaining one.
- Not recommended: using airport shuttle van. The bass trunk often will not fit in the cargo door on top of the passenger seats.
- Most basses will fit in a trunk inside their soft gig bags. In the event you are concerned about weight, we recommend packing your gig bag inside a large duffel as an extra bag.
- Most damage to basses in transit is caused by TSA, not baggage handlers. As you know, TSA answers to no one: not the passengers or the airlines, and are famously ignorant of how to repack something they just unpacked for inspection. We recommend including packing instructions, with your phone number to call if there are any questions, in the trunk conspicuously on top of your bass, along with a request to be allowed to do the repacking yourself after inspection is completed.
- We have not yet had the opportunity to try, but welcome your feedback on: motion-activated camera in the trunk to document TSA inspection, and use of the tracking product "Tile" or "Apple Air Tag" to verify your bass is on board your aircraft. Theoretically, this should eliminate basses being left behind or mis-routed.
- It is more likely for a bass to be damaged by impact when under string tension, as the neck and top are loaded with over 200 lbs. of pressure. It's a consideration for all string players to know how to reset their sound posts, and be able to take the safety measure of de-tuning their instruments for travel.
Average Trunk Dimensions
60 pounds (empty)