Friday, November 22, 2013

CTO … Worried about carrying your instrument onto a plane?

There's a law protecting your right to do it!

Check This Out … The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Obama on February 14, 2012. It includes a section under "Passenger Air Service Improvements" that addresses musical instruments on airlines - page down to Section 403, subsection 41724. There's more pertaining to larger instruments, but here's the scoop on carry-ons:

‘‘(1) S
carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if—
‘‘(A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and
‘‘(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.

Many hammered dulcimers are not "small" instruments, but if you have a more compact instrument it may fit in the overhead compartment. If so, the key is to board the plane early before available storage space is taken. Check with your specific airline to find out how to get an early boarding pass.

It wouldn't hurt to print out the entire "musical instruments" section of the law in case you run into gate attendants who don't know the score. It's helpful to realize that "gate checked" items end up with the regular baggage. If you must check at the gate, make sure your instrument ends up with a tag that's the same as the one that goes on strollers and other personal items that will be put on the jet bridge at the end of the flight. Some airlines may call this "valet" checking as opposed to "gate" checking.

Read lots of great comments and stories about this issue and other musical concerns at Ari's Take .  Check it out!

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