Tips for Traveling with Musical Instruments from the Department of Government Relations
Ponder, Hal, International Musician
Negotiations between the House and the Senate still have not produced a compromise on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which contains a provision that would establish a uniform national policy regarding musical instruments on airplanes. Although the controversial portions of the bill are unrelated to the musical instrument language, it holds up passage of the entire bill, preventing AFM's carry-on provision from becoming law.
Until this new provision is in place, musicians are asked to cooperate with ticket agents, gate attendants, and flight crews to resolve any difficulties encountered with regard to the transportation of musical instruments. You should carry a copy of the TSA letter available on the AFM website and make it available to airport security personnel. (Note: this letter only applies to security personnel and not to airline personnel.) Taking the following steps will minimize problems at the airport:
1) Know the airline's policy. Most airlines make them available online. You can find links to all the major airlines on AFM's website at www.afm.org/ member/page/id/1706. Look within each airline's "contract of carriage" or baggage allowance rules for their policy on musical instruments and carry a copy of the policy with you to present to airline employees if necessary. …