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Thread: Flying With Sewing Machine

  1. #1
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    Flying With Sewing Machine

    My sister is flying back to Racine Wisconsin and she is taking a 301A sewing machine with her. She will be flying on Southwest Airlines. Does anyone have any experience flying with a sewing machine. In other words, will the airlines let you put the sewing machine in the overhead compartments? Is there a problem with checking it thru the scanner? If you have to check it, is insurance available for purchase in case they damage it while loading it with other bags? Should it be marked with a fragile sign in case she has to check it? Would stuffing clothing in and around it protect it enough if it has to be checked. It will be traveling in a soft sided machine case? Lots of questions but we are looking for some help.

  2. #2
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    I can't wait for someone to answer this as i am traveling overseas probably beginning of January an it would be nice to know i can carry one with me. Thanks for bringing this up
    Faten
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  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Try using the search function. We have had some discussion on this recently

  4. #4
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    Regarding using "fragile" tape... We had it all over some antique clocks we were bringing home after living in Asia for 10 years. We watched in horror as they tossed our suitcases from the dock into the plane! We had two suitcases filled with bedding and sleeping bags (the best padding we could come up with) with our clocks in the middle, and the check-in people covered the suitcases with "fragile" tape. One of the clocks still works, the other (our favorite) works again after a clock repair person went over it, but the Westminster chimes are so tiny and uneven that we no longer use it. Sigh. I'd be very reluctant to have it in the luggage area where you had no control over it's treatment.

    You are going to have to call up the airlines to find out. Maybe if you have no needles, scissors, or.....? (packing all that in your shipped through bags) they might let you take it on. Remember that it will have to go up high and that can be hard with a heavy sewing machine (unless they let you put it in a 1st class coat closet on the floor... but I'm not sure Southwest has first class).

    I'd go with a plan B.... rent or borrow a sewing machine while you on wherever you are going.

  5. #5
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Best answer, call the airlines!
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  6. #6
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I agree, call the airline. I know Bonnie Hunter has posted here and there on her blog about traveling with her FW, you might read her experiences.

    Years ago I worked at the airport. One of my jobs was loading/unloading the bags from the belly of the plane. Just because it's marked "fragile" does NOT mean it will always be treated as such. Sometimes it is too dark to see. Sometimes the writing is not visible. Sometimes the employee is hurrying, trying to get the job done and doesn't take the time to read the side of the box before grabbing it. Sometimes the employee is a jerk and thinks it's funny to throw fragile items around. It's a crap shoot. If you have to check it, make sure it is packed very securely.

  7. #7
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I agree, call the airline. I know Bonnie Hunter has posted here and there on her blog about traveling with her FW, you might read her experiences.

    Years ago I worked at the airport. One of my jobs was loading/unloading the bags from the belly of the plane. Just because it's marked "fragile" does NOT mean it will always be treated as such. Sometimes it is too dark to see. Sometimes the writing is not visible. Sometimes the employee is hurrying, trying to get the job done and doesn't take the time to read the side of the box before grabbing it. Sometimes the employee is a jerk and thinks it's funny to throw fragile items around. It's a crap shoot. If you have to check it, make sure it is packed very securely.
    You know, the part about "sometimes the employee is a jerk and thinks it's funny to throw fragile items around isn't funny to anyone, even that jerk. He has a chip on his shoulder!! There is nothing at all "funny" about throwing other people's fragile items around. You are right in calling him a jerk!! I hope someone reported him and he was fired! He needs to work away from the public.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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    I have traveled with my machine packed in a small suitcase - well padded. Be prepared to have security manually check your machine but I have always passed through just fine. I frequently travel Southwest.

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    In early December, I flew with my featherweight on Southwest airlines from Burbank - it just went into overhead compartment - I'd previously called the Burbank airport, and they said it was okay, and as I was going through the scanning area I told everyone that there was a sewing machine in there. There was no problem - and about 2 years ago, my husband flew with my 1980's Kenmore machine on Southwest - again, no problem. BUT, on a Southwest flight from Burbank in November this year, my husband was carrying an Ott lamp in his suitcase (for me, of course!), and they took the lamp out of the suitcase, opened the box, and everything. So... anyway, I believe the 301 will fit into the overhead compartment, and there shouldn't be a problem. Let us know the outcome! I left the needle in the machine. I think it's safest to carry it on... but... it will get heavy - if she has a portable luggage carrier, it will be easier to transport.
    Last edited by Ellietow; 12-20-2012 at 09:46 AM. Reason: spelling error

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    There is a great post on the ISMACs website: http://www.ismacs.net/sewing_machine...g-machine.html - shows transporting a 401 in a trapezoid case - it may help you a lot!

  11. #11
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I have traveled with my FW a couple of times. Once she got swabbed for drugs (she was SO upset! She would NEVER take drugs!), on the way home on that trip, they didnt even open the bag (but the TSA agent manning the scanner looked over the top and said with a big grin on his face "thats a sewing machine , isnt' it??! um..ya think? lol) I was able to tuck her under the seat in front of me. I had less room for my feet, but then I didn't have to worry about conking someone in the head with it when I got her down. My mom still cannot believe I will not use the sewing machine she has in an unheated/uncooled walk in closet with scorpions. It has not been used in literally YEARS...and I hated it when I learned on it! Happy travels...
    Beth in AZ
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    I hope you find your answer. This summer I was traveling back to FL for a few weeks, and wanted to take aymy Janome 11000SE with me, as I have free maintenance on it from the dealer in FL. I called the airlines (Air Tran)several times and the answer I got was if it was withing certain size restrictions, and weighted less then 50 pounds, it SHOULD be okay to carry on. (No way was I going to check it). I wound up leaving it in MI and paying for maintenance rather then getting to the airport to find out it wasn't okay for carry on. Good luck.
    Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most!

  13. #13
    Super Member rusty quilter's Avatar
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    I would send it UPS ahead of myself so that it was there when I arrived. I find this the absolute best solution to my travel woes post 9/11. (Just wish I could ship myself that way LOL)

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    I also would seriously consider packing it tightly inside with bubble wrap. Then find a slightly larger box and put the case in it after wrapping the case in bubble wrap. It should be packed tightly. Then ship it ahead of yourself.
    Cheryl Robinson
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    I would UPS it with insurance.

  16. #16
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    I have flown with my machine on more than one airline. I put it in a bag that I paid less than $10 for at Walmart, it converts from a carry bag to a back pack. I take the needle out of the machine, put the presser foot down, wrap it in a piece of bubble wrap and put it in the bag. If I'm taking fabric with me, I will often put the fabric in the bag, around the machine, as well.

    I have been asked a couple times to take the machine out of the bag but more often than not it goes through without a hitch.

    I store it in the overhead compartment.
    Thought for EVERY Day: You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    I flew to Texas (from Canada) last year with my Kenmore. I bought the smallest size Tutto bag for it, because that was well within carry on sizes (the next size up claims to be carry on, but I was afraid it would be just that smidge too big if they were being testy about it). I had no trouble with the scanners - at least once I learned to take all the cables and pedal out of the bag before putting it through. It never fit overhead, but was fine under my feet in most cases. On one of the planes, it didn't fit at all and had to be gate checked (as someone mentioned, even this is dangerous as evidenced by Bonnie Hunter, but my machine made it through safe and sound).

    I wouldn't check it. Even fragile stuff seems to be handled somewhat roughly. Although now that I think about it, I did check a sewing machine as fragile baggage years ago. And found it on the round-about at the other end (not in a separate, fragile, location)

  18. #18
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    As others have commented, it is not a problem. I have flown with one as carry on and have checked one. Although the one I checked was just a parts machine, it came through just fine wrapped in quilts and clothes. It was over weight so I had to remove some of the clothes that I had used for padding.
    Lisa

  19. #19
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    I would consider shipping it. That way, you don't have to deal with all the problems. My mom went to California and brought back an extra bag that had to be checked. It cost $50. It would probably cost less to ship it. I grew up in Kenosha, it's right next to Racine.
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    Heather

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    I haven't done it since 9/11 but I flew with my sewing machine from Orlando, fl to Paducah, KY (by way of St. Louise, MO). I bought a rolling hardside sewing machine case that has foam padding inserts in it. I was using a Pfaff 7570. I checked my clothing suit case and carried on my sewing machine. When asked about that I told them i could easily buy more clothes but my sewing machine was worth more than my clothes. My machine fit in the overhead bin from Orlando to st. Louis. But the plane from St. louis to Paducah was a puddle jumper. My 'carry on' bag was wheeled to the plane (by me) and then placed in the belly of the plane because there were no overhead bins.

    Unfortunately I do not know the name of the company that made my bag. But I feel pretty comfortable with it traveling in the case. Guy monitoring the scanner did have to call over someone else to verify the contents. But otherwise everything was fine.

  21. #21
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I don't like to see heavy items placed in the overhead compartment of the planes when I'm traveling. One trip to Germany was very rough & a few of the bins popped open, you can imagine if a sewing machine had fallen out on to your head instead of all those sweaters & hats, it could have been very dangerous. Do you NEED the machine or could you rent one at the other end?

  22. #22
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    i carry my FW on in special carrying bag i bought off internet. It is small enough to fit under the seats. I've never had to gate check it. I carried my Bernina on as well though it did have to go in the overhead and on a puddle jumper got gate checked. Just be sure it is well padded and the machine won't shift in the carrying case or something will get broken. I ended up with the area around the spool spindle cracked off when i took it in the original red carrying case with inadequate padding and it shifted and hit side of the case. have had the FW swiped for explosives etc. However i've also had my medium format camera swiped. Not every TSA agent knows what these antiques are for LOL

  23. #23
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Take the needle out and have it as a carry on. If it cannot fit in the overhead compartment give it to the flight attendant to store on board. I would not send it through with checked luggage. Mine was moved in the original packaging and not on an airplane and I ended up with the bent needle shaft. Good luck!

  24. #24
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Last year, I gave my DSD my 301. She packed it into a carry-on bag, and put it in the overhead bin on the plane. She had no trouble from the airline, and the machine arrived in great condition.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  25. #25
    Super Member KyKaren1949's Avatar
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    Good luck with this. Bonnie Hunter was flying this summer with a custom painted Featherweight, which they had always let her take on board with her. This time they insisted she leave the Featherweight and her laptop with her luggage. Both were destroyed. They had to pay for a new one, but that doesn't solve the aggravation of going through all the claims, etc.
    Karen in Kentucky

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