Now I know many musicians who fly with their instruments all the time and, for the most part, nothing goes awry. Some have told me that their precious hand-made whatever has ended up in one place while they landed in another, but there's generally a happy ending to the tale, even if there's been a little bit of inconvenience experienced along the way.
But I heard a story the other day that surprised even this old cynic. A very famous musician was flying between Germany and the UK and checked two guitars into the baggage hold. Bear in mind that in order to do so, you have to sign a document which releases the airline from any responsibility if the instrument(s) are damaged in transit. Something which kinda gives baggage handlers carte blanche, in my opinion...
Anyway, when he arrived, one case was clearly very badly damaged. In fact, he said that you could see tyre tracks across the top of it. In other words, somewhere along the line, it had actually been run over! Obviously, we can expect our luggage to experience a few knocks and scuffs along the way – it's understandable, as airports are very busy places and the sheer ergonomics involved in loading and unloading aircraft at speed is inevitably going to cause some minor mishaps. But tyre tracks, fer gawd's sake?
Fortunately, and somewhat unbelievably, the guitar wasn't damaged, which is a tribute to the case manufacturer concerned; but I'd love to hear how the airline responsible talked their way out of that one!