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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Instruments Can Now Travel On Planes

Flying with instruments imageI've been seeing a lot of instruments on planes lately and there's a reason. Late last year the U.S. Department of Transportation ruled that musicians who travel on planes must be allowed to carry their instruments on board as long as they fit in the overhead bin.

What if the space isn't big enough for the instrument? The musician is permitted to purchase a second seat where the instrument could be stowed.

Sounds simple, right? You'd think that airlines would be allowing this all along, but the fact of the matter is that carrying an instrument  on board had been at the discretion of the airlines before, which could lead to having to check it as baggage and some disastrous results. Now, if you can carry it on, it should be safe.

There is a caveat however. The airlines won't prioritize an instrument over other types of baggage, so you have to be able to get on the plane early to make sure there's space available.

The best way to do this is to either enroll in a loyalty program or buy priority boarding so you can be one of the first to board the plane to make sure there's room in the overhead bins. It also has to be one of the your two carry-on items, so the other must fit under the seat in front of you.

That said, this is good news in that we no longer have to worry when carrying instruments on a flight (at least in a gig bag).

If you like legalese, you can read the full ruling here. Here's a list of the individual airlines instrument policies.

1 comment:

Rand said...

If you have a valuable instrument and feel confident it'll be safe and undamaged in your overhead bin, then by all means go for the convenience.

I still think it's a risky proposition though. On average, travelling passengers generally aren't the most polite and considerate when it comes to 'claiming' their space while boarding, especially when people are stressed and/or rushed.

I believe the safest place for anyone's valuable instrument is still by checking it in and in the best protective case(s) they can afford. It may cost more but personally, anytime I travel with my 90's Les Pauls' I prefer something that guarantees complete peace of mind and check it in the hold.

These cases are built like tanks and very well designed:
SKB - Model 3I421456 SKU 9901278 Case for Most Les Paul-Style Electric Guitars - Black http://www.skbcases.com/music/products/proddetail.php?f=&id=610&o=&c=82&s=


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