Since I work a lot with the airlines in setting up international workshops
and tours and I travel extensively, I have a pretty good perspective on this
First, you should know that the taking of anything aboard a flight which is
not a "carry-on bag" is not only up to the individual airports - it's up to
the individual airlines as well.
Final decisions are mostly based upon space availability and on COURTESY.
Smile!!! I mean it. No matter what you do, don't get mad. Telling them
how important something is only works part of the time. But if you can
"charm" your way past the folks at the ticket check-in counters - so that
they let you take your art to the gate, you still my not be able to get it
aboard. The gate crew may not let you take it - and they are not
necessarily the flight crew. You have to be extra courteous to the gate crew
as well. And once in the plane, the flight crew still has final discretion.
If you can, except for the art, don't have anything with you but carry-on
luggage for yourself, or check your luggage outside at curb side. This
allows you to skip the ticket counter check. The people outside don't care
what you carry into the terminal. But then...
Best suggestions are: If you can roll anything into a heavy tube, you're
more likely to get it aboard. Make it a heavy tube no matter what, (in case
it does get checked) and tape the ends well. Mark it well as "FRAGILE."
If you have to keep it flat, make a skinny-box-portfolio of foam core. It's
easy to make, stiff, and light enough to carry. Mark it well as "FRAGILE."
Tape it up well, but not so that they can't open it and look inside - it's
the airline's right to do so. Anything that is odd size and marked well is
generally hand carried up anyway in baggage claim, as it won't travel well on
the conveyor belts.
In the last few years - it's gotten a lot harder to just get things through.
The airlines are much more interested in security than objects d'art. In
late 1995 I wanted to carry-on a beautiful broom from the Peruvian Amazon.
Because of its shape, it was considered a "weapon" and I had to check it.
Ya never know... :-)