Traveling With Instruments? The US Department Of Transportation Just Simplified Air Travel For Musicians
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a final rule implementing section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, requiring U.S. airlines to accept musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights, provided that certain conditions are met. The rule states musicians must store smaller instruments in an approved location either overhead or under the seat, but that even oddly shaped instruments such as a violin or guitar will be recognized as approved carry-ons and will be allotted space on a first come, first serve basis.
“At DOT, we know how important instruments are to musicians and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that they are not damaged while being transported on airlines,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This final rule implements the statute, and it will go a long way towards keeping instruments safe when they fly – from allowing them in the cabin if there’s space for safe stowage, to letting passengers buy a seat for certain large instruments.”
The final rule aims to simplify and standardize what has been a long standing headache for musicans and airlines alike. While the department estimates a cost of $732,000 to the airlines to modify their policies covering instruments along with an additional estimated $474,023 a year to train 132,200 workers such as ticket agents, laborers and supervisors how to deal with instruments – they anticiapte 127,000 professional musicians would benefit from the rule, along with about 5.8 million school-age children who play.
In addition to issuing this rule, the Department has also created a webpage (http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments) that provides useful tips and information for consumers on how to prepare for air travel with musical instruments.