Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Article excerpt

Let's face it: Even under the best circumstances, flying with your instrument can be difficult and nerve-wracking. The potential of harm coming to your "baby" is both real and unrelenting-from airport curbside, to jostling in the terminal, passing through ever-heightening security, boarding the plane, and then scrambling to find space for your oddly shaped instrument case in tight overhead compartments, there's nothing easy about negotiating the potential minefield of perils for your precious instrument.

If it makes you feel any better, it used to be a lot worse. Not so long ago, musicians carrying instrument cases onboard-anything to keep the careless and sometimes malicious ground crew from tossing your instrument into the baggage department like a child's rag doll-occasionally had to tussle with flight attendants who believed that stowing instruments in the overhead bins prevented "real" carry-ons (i.e. small suitcases) from occupying that sacred space, and forced musicians to check their cargo in the dark, dangerous recesses below. Yikes!

However, in March 2015, new guidelines developed by the US Department of Transportation, airline industry trade groups, and the American Federation of Musicians were announced and they should make flying with an instrument considerably easier. The DOT implemented the new guidelines as a requirement of Section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which requires US airlines to accept musical Instruments as carry-on or checked baggage, provided certain conditions are met.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR NEW RIGHTS:

IF THERE IS SPACE, ITS YOURS. Every carrier in the US must allow a musician to stow a small instrument, like a guitar or violin, in a suitable baggage compartment, such as an overhead bin or a closet, or under the seats, if storage space is available when the passenger is boarding the plane. …

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