Final Rules for Musical Instrument Air Travel Released by USDOT
December 31, 2014
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued final regulations to improve travel by air with musical instruments. The rules become effective within 60 days of being published and require major airlines to update their policies and practices. This action comes nearly three years after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act was signed into law, including a section mandating improved airline policies for musicians traveling with their instruments.
This major policy development is the result of intense and prolonged advocacy efforts by the music community, reinforced by dozens of Congressional leaders, including Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
The new rules require airlines to adequately accommodate musical instruments in their formal policies for checked and carry-on baggage, and to ensure that front-line airline personnel consistently apply the policies. The next crucial step will be for the airlines to adopt new policies, make them publicly accessible, and thoroughly train airline personnel. The League continues to partner closely with the American Federation of Musicians, Chamber Music America, the Recording Academy, the Performing Arts Alliance, and other national music organizations in conversation with senior USDOT and aviation industry officials, advocating for swift implementation, and immediate relief for traveling musicians.
As the airlines take action to implement the new rules, the League will update our online hub of resources to explain the impact on travel with musical instruments.