The veteran rocker was flying from London to Los Angeles to attend the Classic Rock Awards in Hollywood on Tuesday (04Nov14) when he learned his Red Special guitar would be put in the luggage hold.
May opted to book a seat on the British Airways flight for the treasured instrument to keep it safe.
The star built the guitar with his father, Harold, when he was a teenager in the 1960s.
A source tells Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "There is no way he would have allowed it to be treated like any other piece of luggage. A member of staff and the guitar were bumped up to first class where he had to purchase a seat for it as it couldn't go in the overhead locker. It was the only option so he made sure it was treated to the full Vip works. There are few things in Brian's life that he is as passionate about as his guitar."