St Clements Wind Ensemble - London

Musicians and Airlines

Airlines can freely choose their policies towards musicians travelling with their instruments in most parts of the world. The United States have made a great step forward with the latest federal Bill regulating these airline policies. This has now passed both Houses and is awaiting approval by the President. Meanwhile, in the UK, flagship carrier British Airways made a decisive step in the opposite direction earlier this year, 2012.

Here are some relevant texts:

"One Hundred Twelfth Congress of the United States of America AT THE SECOND SESSION Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the third day of January, two thousand and twelve 
An Act To amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, ......
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012’’.
  
........ SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘§ 41724. Musical instruments ‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.— ‘‘(1) SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE.—An air 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. ‘‘(2) LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE.—An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a musical instrument that is too large to meet the requirements of paragraph (1) in the aircraft cabin, withoutcharging the passenger a fee in addition to the cost of the additional ticket described in subparagraph (E), if— ‘‘(A) the instrument is contained in a case or covered so as to avoid injury to other passengers; ‘‘(B) the weight of the instrument, including the case or covering, does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft; ‘‘(C) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; ‘‘(D) neither the instrument nor the case contains any object not otherwise permitted to be carried in an aircraft cabin because of a law or regulation of the United States; andthe passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument. ‘‘ (3) LARGE INSTRUMENTS AS CHECKED BAGGAGE.—An air carrier shall transport as baggage a musical instrument that is the property of a passenger traveling in air transportation that may not be carried in the aircraft cabin if— ‘‘(A) the sum of the length, width, and height measured in inches of the outside linear dimensions of the instrument (including the case) does not exceed 150 inches or the applicable size restrictions for the aircraft; ‘‘(B) the weight of the instrument does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft; and ‘‘(C) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator. ‘‘(b) REGULATIONS.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue final regulations to carry out subsection (a). EFFECTIVE DATE.—The requirements of this section shall become effective on the date of issuance of the final regulations under subsection (b).’’. (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—The analysis for such sub- chapter is amended by adding at the end the following: Musical instruments.’’. "

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British Airways new hand baggage policy as of May 2012
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/bagcabin/public/en_us
"Musical instruments • Small musical instruments (including cases) within the maximum size and weight limits for hand baggage may be carried onboard as part of your free hand baggage allowance. Where possible, those musical instruments (including cases) which slightly exceed the maximum size and weight limits for hand baggage will be carried subject to availability. • If the instrument is in addition to your free checked baggage allowance, you will need to pay an extra bag charge. • Larger musical instruments must be carried as checked baggage. Each item will count as part of your free checked baggage allowance. We will accept musical instruments between 23-45kg (51-99lb) and up to the dimensions 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in), provided that British Airways has been notified at the time of booking, or at least 24 hours before your flight. A heavy bag charge may apply to bags over 23kg (51lb). • It may be possible to purchase an extra seat for your musical instrument, depending on availability. If you would like to book an extra seat for a musical instrument, please make the booking through your nearest British Airways office. Extra seats cannot be booked through ba.com.  A double bass will still be accepted as checked baggage even if it exceeds the maximum dimensions. "

Incorporated Society of Musician’s response
http://www.ism.org/news/article/ism_denounces_BA_instruments_policy
BA are happy to meet ISM, and the campaigning goes on.

Lufthansa, German flagship airline, do not mention musical instruments at all in their hand baggage information except in their special baggage section. Information is only available on request. In fact, they seem obsessed with sporting equpiment. Typical. 
"Other special baggage – Special fees and conditions apply to the transport of musical instruments, bulky baggage items and other special baggage. Please obtain information in good time from your local Lufthansa Service Team. Please note that ebikes or electric bikes are not allowed on flights operated by Lufthansa."
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