Header Graphic
Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Carrying 30 harps through the airport?
Carrying 30 harps through the airport?
Login  |  Register
Page: 1

37 posts
Aug 10, 2021
11:14 PM
Hi there,
Got an event abroad happening soon, and I will be coming back with 30 or so new harmonicas from where I am going. (It's a EU based dealer that gets me Hohners at vendor-prices)

Is it possible to carry-on a small case of 30 harmonicas through airport security nowadays? Or would you recommend that I check them in to go under, but then I risk losing the suitcase.
334 posts
Aug 11, 2021
1:33 AM
Every time I brought harps through security, they got a look. They look like ammo magazines on x-ray. Never a serious problem. I put the harp case separate in the queue, so officers don't have to waste time rummaging through my backpack. I offer to demonstrate they are musical instruments, most times they decline.

Last time I boarded a plane was in 1 BC (Year one Before Corona = 2019) I went through BWI security with 14 harps in a Seydel softcase. They were relaxed and hip to what they were looking at.

Last Edited by the_happy_honker on Aug 11, 2021 2:11 AM
79 posts
Aug 11, 2021
3:14 AM
I got pulled up in Thailand once when my back pack went through the X-ray. I had a couple of harps with me. I pulled one out and blew it and the bloke looked at me like I was some kind of idiot then waved me on.
1554 posts
Aug 11, 2021
8:08 AM
What the happy honker said is spot on. Just put them in a separate bin so TSA doesn't have to search for them. Expect them to get checked. But most of the security people have seen them before. Not a big deal. I would not check them in. If they get lost, stolen or damaged, it would be a lot more painful than the minor incovenience going through security or lugging them around with you through the airport. I just flew to Switzerland and back in July and went through this.

On a lighter note, I have been to the annual SPAH Convention many times as a vendor. I have this aluminum jeweler's case on wheels that is perfect for carrying the hundreds of custom combs and dozens of custom harps that I routinely bring with me to the show. And the aluminum case fits in the overhead compartment in the cabin. It weighs over 100 pounds when it is full so it can be a challenge to maneuver it into the overhead bin but I have done this many times. Rest assured, it is always checked when I go through security and once the delay caused me to miss my flight.
Tom Halchak
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blue Moon Harmonicas
807 posts
Aug 11, 2021
9:25 AM
Here is what I do, and I am a retired TSA Security Screener. I normally leave my harp case in my carry on, because, sometimes in the airport confusion, which happens frequently, a small case, laptop, whatever, get left behind on the belt, and occasionally it gets picked up by another passenger, or with luck goes to TSA lost and found, where it can be retrieved. I put a harmonica in the little bowl with my keys, wallet, cell phone etc and put it on the conveyer directly before my bag. when I notice the X-ray operator trying to figure out what is in my bag, I will tell them that there is a hint in the bowl, which is still in their site. Normally they get the hint, and let your bag through. If they still want to look at your bag, then no problem, but at least you still own your harmonicas. However I retired from Homeland Security 14 years ago, so some procedures might have changed.

38 posts
Aug 12, 2021
3:26 PM
Cool posts!
Thanks guys, that made me calm down a little bit.

I'll just put all 30 harps in some small soft case and check it in like a laptop, outside the backpack.
85 posts
Aug 12, 2021
3:43 PM
First few times, as I recall about 35 years ago, I sent a carry-on though with about 12-15 harps they had no idea and needed to demonstrate! Seems past 10 years or so they are more familiar but I always carry them on (mine are from 1997 Richard Sleigh built custom MB1896) and count on they are going to look at them. Same if you are packing a couple mics.....I have even done a Butterfield PE54 pistol grip...you can bet that got checked out!
710 posts
Aug 15, 2021
12:13 PM
I take close to 40 harps---i take on plane--carry on

another way is wrap your harps in your clothing in luggage--I only do back ups there

I left my case on a counter in food place in airport--I wish I had a photo of my face when I realized they werent with me--got em back --still on counter

Post a Message

(8192 Characters Left)

Modern Blues Harmonica supports

§The Jazz Foundation of America


§The Innocence Project





ADAM GUSSOW is an official endorser for HOHNER HARMONICAS