Sunday, January 11, 2015

Frequent-flyer musicians look for relief in Department of Transportation rule

"A violist, a cellist and a bassist walk into an airport ... "

It feels like the premise to a corny music joke, but for working musicians traveling with their instruments, walking into an airport was no laughing matter.

"It's terrifying," says Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman. "Even if if you think you know an airline's policy and you arrive at the airport having researched it, everyone's got horror stories about having missed a flight or left off a flight because a gate agent says you can't bring your instrument on the plane because it doesn't fit inside that little box they have."

Recently we published a blog post that summarized a recent rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement section 304 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 regarding the carriage of musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights.

In summary, the new DOT ruling states — provided all safety requirements are met — musicians are allowed to bring small instruments, like violins or guitars, on board aircraft to be stowed in an overhead bin or in-cabin storage space; to purchase a seat for larger instruments (e.g. a cello) at no additional cost beyond the typical price; and to check really large instruments (e.g. a bass) in the aircraft's cargo hold.

Following the publication of the DOT rule, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), AFL-CIO, issued a statement applauding the efforts of all involved.

To get further insight into musicians' travel experiences and their thoughts on the DOT rule which becomes effective in February, we asked a violist, a cellist and a bassist to share their thoughts. 

Read more here:  http://www.mprnews.org

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