Weird question - but how would you do it? I'm almost afraid to because I bet the tree will break with how roughly they handle the luggage. Last time I flew I had 2 bottles of rum wrapped HEAVILY in clothes and they still managed to break one. I am flying to Washington State and plan on buying a saddle when I get there (western) and want to bring it back to KY in one piece! Any suggestions?
I taught a clinic in Canada. I took one of my dressage saddles to sell to one of my students there. I had a huge hard shell suitcase and I laid it flat with the saddle flaps flared. Then I packed all my clothes around it. It got there just fine.
I don't know how the airlines work now, but a few years ago when I worked for Budget Rent-A-Car in Tucson, we had a guy rent a car from us who took his saddle as a carry-on. No joke! He came walking up to my counter with his saddle slung over his shoulder (tough old cowboy type). When I asked if he'd taken it on the plane with him, he said that he took it as his carry-on. He said he was coming to work on a ranch in the area and refused to buy a new saddle since he'd had that one since forever. I'd call the airline and ask if that's an option.
When I brought my Collegiate back from CO, I put in in a saddle bag and took it as my carry-on, lol! I got some weird looks, but hey, it worked. Of course, this was an English saddle...I don't think the same could be done with a Western one.
An English is easier to tote on a plane but since you are talking Western, I would either mail it back or UPS it. Since airlines are charging for luggage, it won't be much more to send it ahead then to have to pay and then handle 50+ pounds in a box at the airport - and you can insure it.
Saddles go thro the mail very well in a box that's a fairly close fit. If western, just bubblewrap the horn and mark the box with arrows and indicate up. Do put ID on the saddle itself, just in case the box gets destroyed (extremely rare). The post office will rebox it as they know where to send it. And of course, do insure it.
Another vote for shipping it instead of taking it on the plane.
Hehe thanks for clarifying. I think she may have just overlooked it because the title basically asks the question ;)
I am leaning toward shipping too. Maybe I will buy it when I'm in Seattle (my first day) and ship it so it will beat me back? It would probably make me feel better to pack/ship it myself. I don't even think I have a suitcase big enough, come to think of it...