Firstly, every airline has their own policy, so be sure to read the policies of the airlines on which you fly.
Secondly, when traveling by plane, there can be situations in which airplane staff can force you to check your baggage, regardless of it’s size – so the best perspective to have is one of risk mitigation. For example, some airlines have a rule that if they run out of overhead space, they will require all unboarded passengers to check in all carry on luggage. (So we always recommend you go to the front of the line at check-in if you travel with any instrument)
Thirdly, you can check out our Collapsible Guitar Size & Spec Comparison Here.
In General, all our instruments fit in the overhead bins on medium and large sized airplanes like the Boeing 737, 747 and the Air Bus. For smaller propeller planes and jets with 4 seats across or less, we recommend the Overhead or Puddle Jumper models, but keep in mind every airline has their own guidelines. You can search the website for your flight and the plane used and determine the overhead bin dimensions as well.
For Frequent International Travel:
If you plan to travel around the world, we recommend either our Puddle Jumper (PJ410N), Overhead (OF660, OF420, OF310 etc), or Overhead+ (OF312, OF422 etc) sized guitars. These guitars were designed for overhead carry-on dimensions for most major airlines and we don’t have a single report of these not traveling on the overhead bin. The Puddle Jumper is the smallest guitar we make, and can fit under most airlines seats – so it’s the safest bet if you want the smallest guitar possible. The Overhead line, however, has the best sound/scale/bag feature set – if you want a guitar that feels most like a full-sized guitar that can be safely carried on board under most circumstances.
For Domestic US Air Travel:
49 U.S. Code § 41724.Musical instruments states if your instrument can fit in overhead bins or under your seat, you can bring it on board even if it is larger than the airline’s carry-on size limit. However, if the overhead bins are full, you may be required to gate check your instrument along with all the other passengers who must gate check their carry-on luggage also.
If you want a larger guitar sound, you can try our First Class Guitars (FF412C, FP412, FC522 etc) and you should have no problem on domestic USA airlines, as long as your cabin is not full. We have several professional artists who travel with the FF412C First Class GA sized guitar in the US with no problems.
The FP412 Parlor and FC522 Torres Classical models are about ½ inch wider and taller than most airlines carry-on guidelines – however we’ve never had a report of these not being brought on board. These both have a full-sized guitar sound and come with a roller-case, which is very nice.
For Local Travel:
For Local around-town travel and gigs the Journey Junior or RoadTrip models are great. They’re much smaller than most competing guitars, and they sound great plugged in. We have several artists who play the FF412C at local gigs simply because of the wheels and storage capacity of the roller case. (Great if you don’t want to carry a heavy guitar on your back)