U.S. standardizes regulations covering air travel with musical instruments

Posted on: January 6, 2015

“Airlines are ringing in the new year with a rule that standardizes how musical instruments are handled on flights,” writes Bart Jansen in Friday’s (1/2) USA Today. “The Transportation Department finalized the rule Tuesday that requires airlines to allow small instruments such as guitars or violins as carry-on bags in overhead storage or under seats. The long-awaited rule, which Congress ordered in a Federal Aviation Administration law in February 2012, anticipated possible discord if an instrument occupies space that could otherwise accommodate two or three carry-on bags. But the rule says musical instruments should be stored just like other carry-on bags, on a first-come, first-served basis.… The new DOT rule also covers larger instruments such as tubas weighing up to 165 pounds. The rule says travelers can buy a seat if they want to transport larger instruments in the cabin, but the instrument must be tied down without blocking emergency exits or signs for other passengers.… The rule anticipated that 127,000 professional musicians would benefit from the rule, along with about 5.8 million school-age children who play.” The article notes that DOT developed the rule “in meetings with musicians, airline representatives and industry associations,” including the League of American Orchestras, which has information about the rules here.

Posted January 6, 2015