Congress has passed legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration to create a uniform policy regarding musical instruments on airplanes. Any instrument that can be safely stored in the overhead compartment or under the seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. Additionally, the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and permits musicians to purchase a seat for oversized instruments or any that are too delicate to be checked. Existing law allowed each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instruments, and size requirements varied widely for both carry-on and checked baggage. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has been lobbying Congress to enact such a policy for nearly a decade.
“This is great news for professional musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada who carry the tools of our trade – our instruments – aboard commercial aircraft,” said Ray Hair, president of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). “Ending the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage has been a top legislative priority for nearly a decade. I am proud of our Government Relations Director, Hal Ponder and his assistant Laura Brigandi in our Washington legislative office for seeing the effort through. Musicians can now fly in friendlier skies.”
The FAA reauthorization was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, February 3 by a 248-169 vote. It subsequently passed the Senate February 6, 75-20. The President is expected to sign the bill into law.