The airline has published detailed regulations for the transportation of musical instruments on its website


Air Canada has published a detailed explanation of its carry on and checked baggage rules in relation to musical instruments, and has distinguished between violins and violas.

The airline, which reserves the right to disallow any musical instrument from being transported in the cabin at check-in stage – depending on available space on the day – states that under no circumstances will violas be allowed as carry-on baggage. A violin ‘may be accepted as carry-on or checked baggage’, while a cello ‘may be accepted as checked baggage, or may be transported in the cabin if a seat is purchased for it’.

The policy is in contrast to that of most airlines, which do not make a distinction between violins and violas. The company’s website states:

‘Due to passenger loads, aircraft limitations and/or storage space available, we cannot guarantee that a musical instrument can be accommodated on board. It may need to be checked at the gate and transported as checked baggage. For this reason, musical instruments must always be properly packaged in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.

‘When a stringed instrument is transported by air, it may be exposed to dramatic changes in temperature and pressure, which can cause the instrument’s headstocks to crack or snap off. To prevent possible damage, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the strings are loosened so that the tension is reduced. Air Canada will not be liable if and to the extent that any damage results from the inherent defect, quality or vice of the baggage.’

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