Musicians in the US have cause for celebration after Congress
approved provisions for a uniform national policy on carrying
instruments on planes. The provisions are included in the
Federal Aviation Authority bill, which after 23 short-term
extensions since 2007 has now been reauthorised for the next four
Under the new provisions, any instrument that can be safely stored in an overhead compartment or under a seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. In addition, the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and allows musicians to buy a seat for oversized instruments, such as cellos, that are too fragile to be checked. Up to now, each airline has been allowed to set their own musical instruments policy, and size limits for both carry-on and checked baggage have varied widely.
The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the League of American Orchestras have been among those lobbying Congress for a national policy. AFM president Ray Hair praised the FAA reauthorisation, saying, 'Ending the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage has been a top legislative priority [for the AFM] for nearly a decade. Musicians can now fly in friendlier skies.'