However, we realize that it is not always possible to carry your flute on the plane. We asked our technician about flutes in checked baggage, and she said it would be perfectly fine as long as the flute is well-fitted in the case. To quote her exactly, "the case is designed to protect the flute, and as long as the flute is fitting properly, there should not be a problem." How can you tell if it is fitting properly? Well, you can put the flute in its case and give the closed case a shake. If you feel or hear anything, the flute is not fitting properly.
Our technician tells us that she has seen flutes come in with cases that have "extra padding" inside the top lid to help protect the flute -- but this is definitely not what you want to do. She has seen bubble wrap, towels, and all sorts of "padding," but this is a huge problem because the padding is pressing down on the key mechanism. Her recommendation is to pad the case in the areas where the material would only come in contact with the flute body and never the mechanism. So, where would that be? It's on the "blocking" of the case, which you will see in the photos below. If you visualize the case coming down to close, you will notice that the points of contact are not on any part of the mechanism -- only the body.
|Yellow lines outline the right side of blocking. Yellow arrows show points of contact.
|Yellow line outlines left side of blocking. Yellow arrive shows point of contact.
So, regardless of how the flute is transported (hand carried, checked), making sure that it fits properly in its case is critical. If it does, the case will be able to "do its job" and protect the flute!