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AFM and Carry On Baggage

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The saga continues: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-11138657 Of course this is a British airline, not an American one.

That link definitely shows how capricious all the rules are about bringing a violin on board as carry-on.

Even the solution being proposed

"The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is now warning anyone intending to travel with a small instrument to check very carefully before travelling and to ensure their instruments will be accepted as hand luggage before booking any flights."

doesn't really help. An airline may state as general policy that a violin will be regarded as acceptable carry-on, but then restrict all carry-ons at the gate because of an overcrowded flight.

What is needed is a guarantee at the time of ticket purchase that the instrument will be allowed on the plane, if the player has gone through some reasonable procedures (which may include some reasonable surcharge, but something less than purchasing an additional seat). That guarantee then makes it the airlines responsibility to arrange the flight in such a way as to ensure the player can bring the violin on board.

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There's a new petition from the AFM:

Musicians constantly face difficulty traveling with their instrument. Although AFM won a commitment from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow instruments through security checkpoints, policies for carrying instruments on to airplanes still vary wildly from airline to airline.

The inconsistencies in airline policies make it extremely difficult for musicians to plan their travel and earn a living. Thus AFM fought for language to be included in the Senate version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (S.1451) that will streamline the airlines’ carry-on policies regarding musical instruments. If this bill passes musicians will be able to carry most musical instruments on board and place them in the overhead compartment or in a seat (if a ticket is purchased).

This bill is currently being debated in Congress and it is critical that all musicians weigh-in to demand that the Senate version (S.1451) of this language be included in the final bill. Please sign our petition below to support streamlining airline carry-on policies, so that travelling with an instrument is safer and more reliable.

Please sign this petition to demand that the language included in S.1451 is included in the final version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

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Update: I was traveling last week. I asked everyone I could about my case at the airport. They all said it would be no problem.

The trick is to board as early as possible, to get overhead space. Most people are carrying on "rollers" of a standard size. Once they put one in there is no room for violins or violas.

I boarded as soon as I could and had no problems. A violist from the Minneapolis symphony boarded late and they had to scramble to accommodate his case, but they did find overhead space for him as well.

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not that I'm flying any time soon but what would happen for a cello

Cellists have to buy a seat next to the bulkhead for their instrument. The problem in the past has been that even then, some crews on board have still insisted on having the cello stowed below, regardless of the fact that it had it's own paid seat.

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My professional life requires a lot of travel, If out for more than two days my violin comes with me. Typically I fly Delta and United domestically. The only time there were any issues with the violin and a gate agent was flying out of Regan National shortely after 911. Recently I've extended the music pouch on the side of my case an additional 4 inches to act as a garmet bag. Delta has been very accepting of my oversized violin case.

My violin has also accompained me to Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Again no issues.

On occasions when the bins are full I've asked the flight attendants to stow the violin in the 1st class coat closet, or behind the last row in first class; they have always been accomadating.

I hope everyone else has as easy a time as I have.

Will

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The trick is to tell them how much it's worth, that it's insured and that unless the flight crew wants to be responsible for any mishandling or destruction caused by improper treatment of the violin they should allow it to board with me as all other airlines do . Never in my life have european airlines caused any issues. LOL

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http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/us-department-transportation-finalises-law-carrying-instruments-board-airlines/

 

"Airlines are now required to train air crews, gate agents, counter agents, and baggage personnel in the appropriate procedures necessary to comply with all FAA musical instrument transportation policies."

 

Our prayers have been answered!  However, space is on a first-come-first-served basis.  So, get to the front of the boarding line by whatever means necessary.

 

For the full text of the rule: http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/final-rule-musical-instruments

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There is at least one caveat to observe, here, with this new rule, which states, basically, that some musical instruments, including violins and guitars, should be regarded as acceptable carry-ons:  The rule for many airlines is to permit one carry-on and a "personal item."  The violin will be regarded as the carry-on, not the personal item.  So, you can't take your usual carry-on bag plus the violin.  That would be two carry-ons. You will have to be careful about what you believe is your "personal item" if you are carrying on a violin.

 

Steven Csik

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Everyone just needs to get a nice big purse...that, plus the violin...problem solved!

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Everyone just needs to get a nice big purse...that, plus the violin...problem solved!

I've seen those big purses that some people carry on to airplanes.  If the gate attendants are doing their job, they'll recognize those purses (and shopping bags, etc) for what they are, full size (sometimes oversized) carry-ons, which don't qualify as a "personal item" by any sensible definition given by airlines.

 

I think resorting to a big purse in addition to trying to carry on the instrument creates its own risk for getting the instrument rejected as a second carry-on.  It depends on how big the purse is.

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I suppose we need to define the transition size that takes it from being a purse to becoming a shopping bag! :D

I am a minimalist traveler. One smallish backback suffices.

I have also developed a hate - on for those who take more with them than necessary. ..in part because I have been whacked in the head once too often by people ramming themselves and their oversized baggage through the aisles on an airplane...

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http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/us-department-transportation-finalises-law-carrying-instruments-board-airlines/

 

"Airlines are now required to train air crews, gate agents, counter agents, and baggage personnel in the appropriate procedures necessary to comply with all FAA musical instrument transportation policies."

 

Our prayers have been answered!  However, space is on a first-come-first-served basis.  So, get to the front of the boarding line by whatever means necessary.

 

For the full text of the rule: http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/final-rule-musical-instruments

Definitely get priority boarding, which will cost you money.  There is at least one possible problem.  Certain routes use smaller planes which do not accomodate any carry-ons except for (small) purses or the equivalents; no roll-ons at all and so, probably no violins or other such sized instruments.  So we also have to be sure what type of plane we are taking.

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Definitely get priority boarding, which will cost you money.  There is at least one possible problem.  Certain routes use smaller planes which do not accomodate any carry-ons except for (small) purses or the equivalents; no roll-ons at all and so, probably no violins or other such sized instruments.  So we also have to be sure what type of plane we are taking.

 

Yes.  This is a bigger problem than trying to board early.

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According to an article in The Strad, British Airways staff are cracking down harder on violins in practice whilst keeping the fomal rules and official statements pro-violin.

I tried switching from Easyjet to BA recently and will be switching back to Easyjet where possible, for several reasons unrelated to violins. The BA customer care department had no power do anything, other than making friendly noises, to retain my business (around 25 flights every year).

Yesterday I found online at a carbon fibre violin case designed to fit diagonally inside a regulation size cabin bag. The bow case is the detachable handle for the cabin bag. (Often airlines will allow you to carry an item like an umbrella or walking stick, so it should go through.)  I will probably buy one : http://trinitycase.com/

I also found a youtube review giving it a thumbs up

 

BAM also have a flight friendly case adopting the same idea. The Trinity case looks more practical if you want to carry on a few other items as well as the violin.

Edited by John_London

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On 3/9/2012 at 2:31 PM, Addie said:

Update: I was traveling last week. I asked everyone I could about my case at the airport. They all said it would be no problem.

The trick is to board as early as possible, to get overhead space. Most people are carrying on "rollers" of a standard size. Once they put one in there is no room for violins or violas.

I boarded as soon as I could and had no problems. A violist from the Minneapolis symphony boarded late and they had to scramble to accommodate his case, but they did find overhead space for him as well.

I've flown with Southwest twice in the past six months (after not flying anywhere in seven years, partly due to  Frontier almost refusing to let me carry on) and have purchased the Early Bird option both times. This ensures you're one of the first sixty people on board; there is no assigned seating so you just grab an open overhead and put your case up there. On my trip last week, I flew with a full size guitar and did the same. No questions asked.

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I worked for a ground handling company for 4 years and I know how greedy airlines can be firsthand.

But as someone said above, if you tell them how valuable your instrument is, you can find some leniency most of the time.

Just out of fear of damaging an expensive equipment or being liable has an effect on airline employees. 

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Thank you all for posting this topic, y'all really saved me as I'm about to fly British Airways. FWIW, I looked into it after reading this thread and they do allow violins on as long as you call them more than 24 hrs in advance of your flight departure and get it added to your booking. They will ask the dimensions and weight and have it added so you can be guaranteed to take it on with you. I just got off the phone with British Airways and had this done. I will update only if I run into an issue with actually being able to take it on with me for my flights. Cheers!

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