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#1354166 - 01/20/10 02:33 PM Taking a digital piano on plane travel  
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carlospete Offline
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Argentina

Hi all, i'm from Argentina and i'll be traveling to the US in a month or so..
My plan was to get a P-155 there, and then bringing it here on the plane (this would cost me about U$1000 less than buying it here).
The thing is it's to big to carry it on with me, and i would have to check it.. and that is what scares me the most, what if it breaks there?
Even if I put the "fragile" stickers and keep it in it's original box I don't know how the airport guys will treat it.
And if it got here broken I suppose the guarantee won't cover for that (if there even exists an official distributor here where i could make the claim).

So.. has anyone here done this before, taking a digital on a plane? what would you recommend me?

I actually own a P-85, so the 155 would be an upgrade. Is there really too much difference in terms of quality (action, sound, etc.) between them to take this kind of risk?

thank you, and i'm sorry for my bad english smile.

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#1354171 - 01/20/10 02:37 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Is it possible for you to buy online and have it shipped to you?

#1354180 - 01/20/10 02:48 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: bhf]  
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feeble Offline
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If it isn't possible to buy it online and have it shipped to you as bhf suggested, could you buy it when you come to the US and then ship it to yourself when you are ready to leave for home? That might be cheaper than checking it as baggage on the plane and then you could purchase shipping insurance.



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#1354187 - 01/20/10 02:54 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: feeble]  
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It is possible, but if I shipped it i'd have to pay a whole bunch of taxes when i recieved it (like 50% or more the value of the piano), and other complications. So it is either bringing it with me on the plane or keeping the P-85.

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#1354200 - 01/20/10 03:05 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Originally Posted by carlospete
It is possible, but if I shipped it i'd have to pay a whole bunch of taxes when i recieved it (like 50% or more the value of the piano), and other complications. So it is either bringing it with me on the plane or keeping the P-85.


You can take a DP on an airplane. However the airlines will require that you put the DP inside a "approved" shipping case or that will not be liable for damage. You can't really fault this policy. So you'd need an "ATA" shipping case. Just about everyone who sells digital pianos also sell these cases.

Also I'm sure when you get back home the customs man will notice the factory box and figure it out quickly. But with an ATA case at least you might be able to argue that you are a musician returning home from a Show in the US.

Here is one example of a case (Notice that an empty case weights 47 pounds, they are built strong. Much stronger than a cardboard box.
ATA Case

Last edited by ChrisA; 01/20/10 03:08 PM.
#1354201 - 01/20/10 03:05 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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feeble Offline
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Do you have to pay taxes on "gifts"?

Last edited by feeble; 01/20/10 03:06 PM.

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Studiologic SL-990xp | Ivory II Grands | Pianoteq | Alicia's Keys
#1354221 - 01/20/10 03:29 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: ChrisA]  
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carlospete Offline
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Originally Posted by feeble
Do you have to pay taxes on "gifts"?


If I shipped it yes, i'd have to pay taxes anyway..

Originally Posted by ChrisA
You can take a DP on an airplane. However the airlines will require that you put the DP inside a "approved" shipping case or that will not be liable for damage.


what do you mean with "liable for damage"? If I put the piano in one of this cases the airline would take responsibilty if something happened to it?


#1354228 - 01/20/10 03:37 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Originally Posted by carlospete

Originally Posted by ChrisA
You can take a DP on an airplane. However the airlines will require that you put the DP inside a "approved" shipping case or that will not be liable for damage.

what do you mean with "liable for damage"? If I put the piano in one of this cases the airline would take responsibilty if something happened to it?

Yes thumb but you don't have to get the most expensive case. Just ensure that it is ATA approved..


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#1354237 - 01/20/10 03:51 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Originally Posted by carlospete

what do you mean with "liable for damage"? If I put the piano in one of this cases the airline would take responsibilty if something happened to it?



Yes. They have a policy to pay up to a set amount for damage. They pay more if you declare the value and pay a fee for the extra value. But they will not pay out unless the item was packed correctly. You will have to ask the airline because these policies and the prices change frequently.

"ATA" is "Air Transport Association" and it's them who sets the standards used by airlines.

These cases are designed to be dropped, run over, left outdoors in rain and run through automated baggage systems and otherwise abused. You can't do any of those things to a cardboard box.

I would say that if you can't stand on the package with your full weight and jump up and down a dozen times on it then it is not packed properly for shipment as checked baggage. And if it will not fit under your seat you can't hand carry it.

When you show up to the check in line with a 110 pound oversize luggage and then tell them it is worth $2,000 don't expect them to check it through for free. Call first to avoid an expensive surprise. (and yes a 60lb DP in an ATA case will have a weight over 100, so buy the case with wheels.

Last edited by ChrisA; 01/20/10 03:55 PM.
#1354240 - 01/20/10 03:56 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: TTigg]  
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Originally Posted by TTigg
Yes thumb but you don't have to get the most expensive case. Just ensure that it is ATA approved..

Great!! Thank you all very much!!
Would you know of any cheap or not too big case models suitable for the p-155? and any stores in Miami selling it?

#1354248 - 01/20/10 04:05 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: ChrisA]  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA

Yes. They have a policy to pay up to a set amount for damage. They pay more if you declare the value and pay a fee for the extra value. But they will not pay out unless the item was packed correctly. You will have to ask the airline because these policies and the prices change frequently.

"ATA" is "Air Transport Association" and it's them who sets the standards used by airlines.

These cases are designed to be dropped, run over, left outdoors in rain and run through automated baggage systems and otherwise abused. You can't do any of those things to a cardboard box.

I would say that if you can't stand on the package with your full weight and jump up and down a dozen times on it then it is not packed properly for shipment as checked baggage. And if it will not fit under your seat you can't hand carry it.

When you show up to the check in line with a 110 pound oversize luggage and then tell them it is worth $2,000 don't expect them to check it through for free. Call first to avoid an expensive surprise. (and yes a 60lb DP in an ATA case will have a weight over 100, so buy the case with wheels.


Ok thank you for all that information. I'll ask about the amounts they charge for the check in and how much they pay in case of damage.
Wheels is probably a good idea too smile

#1354305 - 01/20/10 05:26 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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when my teacher went overseas with his P90, he took it on the plane (not checkin!) with a soft case (which can be carried on shoulder). i guess he had no problem with it on the plane. you can check on some online stores for such carry-on type of cases, which are cheaper than the hard shell cases.

but call the airline to see if there's any problem taking it on the plane first.

#1354307 - 01/20/10 05:28 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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The IATA case is a requirement for the airline to allow a musical instrument to be checked in as luggage.
That does not mean, however, that they will take (full) liability for it if something happens. Their liability is limited by treaty on international flights and it is low.

Bear in mind that the airlines have discovered that charging for bags is a great way to generate more revenues.

Such an instrument is normally too large to carry on board as carryon, so must be checked. If you are flying a premium class or are good at charming your way into situations you might have luck, but if you have to make a connection, you might be out of luck on the next flight.

However, when you check it, it also exceeds the normal allowed dimensions and the normal allowed weight which will subject it to as many has 4 bag overcharges.

A P155 in an IATA case from the US to Europe for example can cost in the worst case as much as $600-$750 in excess bag charges depending on the airline and whether or not the passenger has any elite status with the airline.

So, by the time you buy an IATA case, you will spent in total as much as you would have spent buying the instrument locally (but you would have one with a good transport case thrown in). However, in most countries you are still legally fiscally liable for the import duties on the instrument whether you are bringing it in as luggage or shipping it. If you are stopped you will be required to lie to avoid paying these taxes and they may require you to pay the tax anyway until you show them your proof of purchase that you really did buy it in Argentina. Given that everything will look brand new, your manuals will be in English and the electric cord will have US prongs, you may have to do some fast talking or have $100 for the custom official. Finally, you have the piano there and discover that one of your keys is sticking. You call Yamaha for warranty service and they refer to you Yamaha USA to whom you will be told you have to bring the instrument for service back to the States or pay for the repairs yourself in Argentina.

In short, potential risk for low savings and high headache.


Last edited by theJourney; 01/20/10 05:30 PM.
#1356031 - 01/23/10 03:34 AM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: theJourney]  
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BTW, Delta is one of the airlines that seems to have the most explicitly stated policy with regard to transporting musical instruments.
This is a link to their website:
http://www.delta.com/traveling_chec...gile_bulky/musical_instruments/index.jsp
Other airlines may be more strict.

#1356539 - 01/23/10 06:39 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: theJourney]  
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Thanks for the link.. and in spanish smile
I'm traveling with American Airlines though..
http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/baggage/baggageAllowance.jsp
according to their website the piano would have to be checked in, and they would only take "limited liability" for it.
I suppose that nothing will happen to it if I buy the case (which I could also sell once I got here), they are supposed to be designed to be treated harshly and still protect the instrument. There is a certain risk of course.
This is the model I was considering: http://www.amazon.com/Gator-GK288R-Keyboard-Case-Wheels/dp/B0002E3DP8

My biggest concerns would be about the charges for the big luggage and the customs here.
Oh and BTW the model hasn't even arrived here I think. A P-140 sells for about U$2000, and a P-85 for U$1000..
So i'm still considering it.. if anyone has any other suggestion/experience/info they will be much appreciated.

#1357282 - 01/24/10 06:40 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Finally, you have the piano there and discover that one of your keys is sticking. You call Yamaha for warranty service and they refer to you Yamaha USA to whom you will be told you have to bring the instrument for service back to the States or pay for the repairs yourself in Argentina.

I would, of course, try it there when I bought it.. so if something was wrong with it I could change it before coming back.

#1360958 - 01/29/10 02:12 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Ok i've done some more research and here is what i got so far:

Yamaha P-140 - U$1000 (i've decided for this one, it's a little cheaper and weights less)
Gator GK288slim - u$340

Airline - U$200
it's U$50 for extra weight, up to 32 kg (calculating from the specs aprox 31kg piano+case)
and U$150 for extra size (height+width+lenght over 157cm, and up to 292cm - the case is about 228cm)


Customs - ?? (let's suppose U$100)

TOTAL: U$1640 (and i could still sell the case for at least U$200 here)

P-140 price here: U$2175

Gives me a difference of about U$530, could be more if I sold the case, or less for customs.

What do you think? is it worth taking the trouble and the risk??
Bear in mind that I own a P-85 (which i could sell for about U$1000)
Is the upgrade worth the U$600??

#1360977 - 01/29/10 02:42 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Do you like adventure? If so, of course it is worth it! There are a lot of things you can do with $500 or 600 or more...

Why not bring some stickers from local Argentinian clubs to apply to the case so it looks like it came with you from Argentina? You could also scuff it up with the heels of your shoes. Bring an argentinian cord and plug with you to have in the same case. Declaring or not is your business...

Some people buy trumpets and clarinets from ebay in the US and then bring them back to Europe to sell at a nice profit thereby paying for all their vacations. Maybe you could get into the smuggling business?

#1360999 - 01/29/10 03:05 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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The P140 is discontinued and no longer made. Are you sure the store will have one when you get there? (I have not seen a P140 in a store for months now) Even if they do have one it seems a lot of work to get last year's model. The CP-50 will be out soon and looks to be great.

Don't forget to budget local sales tax. In the US this tax is not listed on the price because it varies locally. This might add 8 to 9% the the price.

#1361105 - 01/29/10 05:23 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by ChrisA
The P140 is discontinued and no longer made. Are you sure the store will have one when you get there? (I have not seen a P140 in a store for months now)

I could buy the P-140 online (amazon for example) and have it shipped to the hotel i'll be staying in.. Although I don't know how the guarantee works, if the piano doesn't work properly and I need to return or replace it.

Originally Posted by ChrisA

Even if they do have one it seems a lot of work to get last year's model.

What do you mean by 'last year's model'? there's more than one model of P-140??

Originally Posted by theJourney
Do you like adventure? If so, of course it is worth it!
Some people buy trumpets and clarinets from ebay in the US and then bring them back to Europe to sell at a nice profit thereby paying for all their vacations. Maybe you could get into the smuggling business?

haha thanks, but no thanks!.. i'm actually more scared than excited..

#1361124 - 01/29/10 05:43 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Verify that amazon will in fact send to your hotel.
Many mail order companies have stopped doing so due to problems with fraud and loss.
You may be required to prepay your order or not use a credit card.

ChrisA is referring to the P140 being superseded by the P155.

#1361166 - 01/29/10 07:02 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Originally Posted by carlospete

What do you mean by 'last year's model'? there's more than one model of P-140??


What I mean is that the P140 was replaced by the P155. Some stores still have stock left

If you read the link below you can see where they say "This product is discontinued in the United States and may not be available at all dealer locations"
P140


#1376728 - 02/17/10 06:25 PM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: ChrisA]  
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Hey, updating this old thread to tell you that.. I did it!
I brought the P-140 home, and i'm very happy with it.
I also ended up paying a lot less than what I expected:
$750 for the piano (+ $50 shipping)
$380 for an SKB case (which was about $480)
and only $100 to the airline (the guy at the check-in made it pass as a snowboard), when I expected to pay $250.
Customs didn't give me ANY trouble.. they made me show them the bill of the piano and that was it.. turns out there is a certain amount of money (i think $300 per person) that you can get into the country without paying any taxes, and we were 4 persons.

I bought it all at Sam Ash store in Miami. The salesman made us a lot of discounts!
Thanks a lot to everyone for all the good advice

#1377021 - 02/18/10 01:31 AM Re: Taking a digital piano on plane travel [Re: carlospete]  
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Congratulations and welcome to the wild and woolly world of cross-border, discrete market segmented pricing arbitrage runners! Once you get the taste of it, you may find yourself making more excuses in the future to take trips just to buy gear cheaper.

Happy playing and happy travels!



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