Thursday, December 12, 2013

Traveling by Air with Your Instrument

I'm sure there are enough loopholes in the following (signaled by the words "if" and "providing") to allow the airline to absolutely prevent you from getting your guitar in the cabin, but still, carrying these regulations with you might just help at a critical juncture. Herewith I present the relevant sections from pp 74 and 75 of

Public Law 112–95 112th Congress
An Act
To amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the Federal
Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, to streamline pro-
Feb. 14, 2012
grams, create efficiencies, reduce waste, and improve aviation safety and capacity, to provide stable funding for the national aviation system, and for other purposes.
[H.R. 658]

Here are the sections:

And here is something that may help you if you are flying in Europe:

Just print these out and carry them in your case and good luck to you!

I have been told time after time in Canada that guitars are NOT allowed to be carried onboard even though I know perfectly well that they can easily fit in the overhead luggage bins. In fact, here is what Air Canada says:

Musical Instruments
Packing instructions:
  • 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 is not liable for damage caused by failure to properly prepare a musical instrument for travel.
  • When transported as checked baggage, musical items must be properly packaged in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.
Musical instruments as carry-on baggage:
  • Air Canada will try to accommodate smaller musical instruments (such as violins) as part of a passenger's carry-on baggage allowance only if the instruments can be stowed in an approved area for cabin baggage (i.e. overhead bin, underneath passenger seat).
  • Customers are reminded to arrive prepared to check the item, as it is never guaranteed that it can be accommodated on board due to passenger loads, aircraft limitations and/or storage space available.
Musical instruments as checked baggage:
  • If checked in separately, a musical instrument counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type.
  • If your baggage count (musical instrument + number of other bags to be checked) exceeds the maximum number of items allowed by your fare type, additional checked baggagecharges will apply.
  • For oversized instruments measuring more than 115in/292cm (e.g. guitars, tubas, double basses), please contact your Air Canada Cargo local sales office for handling.
    ExceptionAir Canada Cargo cannot handle shipments from or via the US as passengers are considered as unknown shippers for cargo purposes. Please contact another shipping company for this service.
So just print that out and put it in your case as well. Hmm, along with all the documents relating to the instrument's provenance this might come to a sizable stack of paperwork. There may not be room for any musical scores. Never mind, just memorize everything. The important thing is to have handy the documents needed to deal with our bureaucratic masters!

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