Congress Passes Bill Standardizing Airline Rules for Musical Instrument Storage | News | BMI.com
Traveling musicians got a big boost from Congress last month with the passage of a sweeping Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that includes new universal standards for storing instruments in flight. Pending issuance of final regulations, the amended law will, among other things, allow travelers to carry aboard any instrument or related gear that can be safely stored in the cabin, rather than risk it being damaged in the plane's cargo hold or during baggage handling.
Included as an amendment to section 403 ("Musical Instruments") of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658), the bill provides airport personnel with specific guidelines for carry-on instruments - including when musicians may purchase a separate seat for an oversized or fragile instrument - as well as weight and size limits for storing a larger instrument in a plane's cargo area.
Calling the amendment "great news for professional musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada," American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Ray Hair said that passage of the new rules would help end the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage.
"BMI salutes the passage of the Airline Musical Instrument Carry On Luggage Act and is proud to have assisted in its passage," said Fred Cannon, BMI Senior Vice President, Government Relations. "We would like to thank Hal Ponder, lobbyist for the American Federation of Musicians, who spearheaded the industry efforts on this bill. This legislation will assist all traveling musicians by allowing them to protect their instruments, knowing that there is a standardized national policy regarding how these instruments are handled by the airlines."