..."If you have a musical instrument NEVER CHECK IT. Take it to the gate with you. If they don’t have room on the plane they can "gate check" it and put it on last. When you de-board on your next stop it will be waiting for you as soon as you exit the plane.
This ensures that it goes on LAST and is taken off FIRST then left at the ramp for you to p/u immediately after de-boarding the plane."