February 6, 2012

An important provision that eases air travel for musicians was approved by Congress on  February 6, 2012 as part of a broader package of federal aviation programs.  The FAA has been operating on a series of short-term extensions since the 2007, and reauthorization has been a lengthy and hotly debated process. Throughout that time, the League and the American Federation of Musicians have partnered closely to advocate for a policy that will improve the ability of musicians to fly with their instruments in cabin.
The new law will make the process of flying with an instrument more predictable by allowing on board all musical instruments that can fit into the overhead bin or beneath the seat of an airplane.  In addition to a uniform carry-on policy for small instruments, there is also a provision for oversized instruments that allows a musician either to buy a seat on the airplane for a large instrument like the cello, or choose to check the instrument. Thus far, airline policies have varied widely, with each individual airline responsible for adopting and enforcing its own policy regarding carry-on luggage and checked baggage. This has made it difficult for musicians to know what to expect when they travel. The FAA will soon begin implementation and airline policies regarding musical instruments will become uniform.

Please direct any related questions to Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, hnoonan@americanorchestras.org or Najean Lee, Senior Manager, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy, nlee@americanorchestras.org

The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America

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