CARRYING of MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS on AIRPLANES

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CARRYING of MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS on AIRPLANES
CARRYING of MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS on AIRPLANES
in the context of the Proposal for Revision of
AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS
ANALYSIS OF EUROPEAN AIRLINES POLICIES
and
COMPARISON with US FAA FINAL RULE
Ref AD_GM/P6727
20 February 2015
in-house research carried out
by Pearle*-Live Performance Europe
1
Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) aisbl
Square Sainctelette 19/6 – B-1000 Brussels
Phone +32-2-203.62.96 / e-mail [email protected] / www.pearle.ws
2
Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) aisbl
Square Sainctelette 19/6 – B-1000 Brussels
Phone +32-2-203.62.96 / e-mail [email protected] / www.pearle.ws
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) INTRODUCTION......................................................................................page 4
2) TRAVELLING WITH MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS in the AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS
PROPOSAL FOR REGULATION– ANALYSIS.............................................page 5
3) AIRLINES POLICIES SURVEY (2012-2014 COMPARISON).......................page 7
4) US FAA FINAL RULE and EC PROPOSAL - COMPARISON.....................page 19
5) GENERAL CONCLUSIONS......................................................................page 27
6) ANNEXES:
I. examples of cases
II. text article 6e proposal of the EC, including amendments EP
III. text FAA implementing FINAL RULE
3
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Phone +32-2-203.62.96 / e-mail [email protected] / www.pearle.ws
1)
INTRODUCTION
Touring orchestras, music ensembles, music groups and individual musicians report regular
difficulties when travelling with music instruments on airplanes.
An internal survey amongst members of Pearle* representing orchestras, music ensembles
and groups allowed to identify particular issues arising when travelling by airplane with a
musical instrument. Simultaneously also the International Federations of Musicians (FIM)
queried its affiliates (see annex I).
Outcomes revealed problems and complaints arising from non harmonised airline policies
from companies operating in Europe, resulting in differences between the conditions of
carrying musical instruments on board or as luggage.
The experienced hindrances and obstacles relate to two main categories of complaints:
handling the instrument at the airport and in the aircraft and procedures related to the
booking of a ticket.
A general concern about the lack of sufficient and clear information was also raised.
Meanwhile, in the United States, specific provisions were adopted by the Congress on 6
February 2012 on travelling with music instruments on airplanes in the United States’ FAA
Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act - SEC. 403 § 41724.
On the other side of globe, the live performance sector in Australia first came to an
agreement with Virgin Airlines in 2011, which was then also picked up by Qantas in February
2012, on travelling with music instruments by airplane in Australia, creating thus a similar
airline policy on the carrying of musical instruments, accommodating the needs of the
sector. In particular, the agreements make domestic air travel for musicians in Australia
much more affordable. The luggage pooling arrangements under both plans are particularly
useful for touring bands, who can split their excess luggage arrangements amongst band
members, to accommodate excess weight.
With these two large countries as an example, and due to the stream of difficulties and
problems experienced by travelling musicians, the revision of the two passengers rights
regulations allowed to address the particular concerns for musicians when they travel by
airplane in order to execute their profession.
This paper gives an insight in the differences between European airline policies on musical
instruments and compares the EC proposal on “air passenger rights” to the relevant US
regulation.
4
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2)
TRAVELLING WITH MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
in the AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS PROPOSAL FOR REGULATION - ANALYSIS
The European Commission published in March 2013 a Proposal for a Regulation of the
European Parliament and of the Council 2013/0072(COD), amending two Regulations as
follows::
-
-
common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied
boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights (Regulation (EC) N° 261/2004),
and
air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air
when their travel plans are disrupted by denied boarding, long delays, cancellations
or mishandled baggage (Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97).
A specific provision concerning the carrying of musical instrument on planes has been
included in the proposal for revision of Council Regulation No 2027/97, notably Article 6e.
Article 6e provides that:
Hand Baggage
Extra Seat
Hold Baggage
Booking
Procedure
And
INFORMATION
CONDITIONS
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
SUBJECT to:
IF it can be stowed
safely:
in a suitable bagagge
compartment
OR
under the passenger
seat
IF does not fulfill
hand baggage
conditions
IF requested,
IF space is available
ALLOWED
MAY FORM PART OF THE
PASSENGER HANDBAGGAGE ALLOWANCE.
(POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL
CHARGES)
SECOND SEAT
purchasable
Applicable
Safety Rules
AND
technical
specifications
and constraints
of the aircraft
Payment of
SECOND FARE
To be carried in a
HEATED PART OF THE
HOLD.
Applicable
safety rules AND
technical
specifications of
the aircraft
An Air Carrier shall clearly indicate in its terms and conditions the basis
on which musical instruments will be transported, including the
applicable charges.
5
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The 5th of February 2014 the European Parliament adopted its position (see annex II b) on
the Proposal and amended article 6e by introducing some changes mainly concerning:
-
the obligation for carriers (“SHALL”) to accept the Musical Instrument as part of the
passenger’s Hand Luggage Allowance (FREE of CHARGE);
the Airport Departure Tax repeal for the Extra Seat;
the duties of properly packaging the instruments (for musicians) and the labeling of
their cases (for air carriers), when to be carried in the cargo hold compartment.
At the Transport Council of 5-6 June 2014, a progress report was presented by the Hellenic
presidency on the state of play reached by the Aviation Working Group as on 26 May 2014.
According to the text negotiated, Art.6e has been deleted. A reference on the transport of
musical instruments has been included just in a recital (n°29), which is aimed at
“encourag(ing) the transportation of musical instruments under appropriate conditions”.
By putting the reference to the musical instruments in a recital, the conditions to carry
musical instrument on airplanes in the EU would remain subject to the discretion of airlines
companies, without any kind of legal certainty protection for this group of passenger.
However, we are nowadays awaiting Council first reading position, which is expected by the
first half of 2015.
Meanwhile in the US, a Final Rule amending section 403 of the FAA Modernization and
Reform Act of 2012 has been adopted. The purpose of this rulemaking is to implement
regulations regarding the carriage of musical instruments as carry-on baggage or checked
baggage on commercial passenger flights operated by air carriers.
Further in this paper a comparative analysis is made between the US Final Rule and the
proposal of the European Commission.
6
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3)
AIRLINES POLICIES SURVEY (2012-2014 COMPARISON)
In 2012, in absence of a European framework on airline policies for the travelling with
musical instruments, Pearle* developed an in-house publication “Guidance for Musician and
Touring Music Groups”. The paper includes an overview of fourteen European airline
company policies concerning the transport of Musical Instruments:
-
Airfrance
Alitalia
British Airways
Brussels Airlines
Easyjet
Iberia
KLM
-
LOT
Lufthansa
Ryanair
SAS
Swiss Airlines
TAP
Wizzair
The following pages present an updated analysis of each of these airline company policies. It
compares their terms and conditions to those dated at 2012.
The criteria which were used for the policy analysis differ from the ones considered in 2012,
which explains in some cases a lack of available information. The main criteria used in 2012
were based upon a survey amongst orchestras, music ensembles and individual musicians.
They were: hand luggage, hold luggage and extra seat. For the current analysis, the
proposed provision from the Commission and the US FAA regulation were taken as a lead,
looking for the following criteria in airline policies: hand luggage, hold luggage, extra seat,
overweight, additional luggage, airport taxes (for extra seat for instruments), booking
procedure, instrument case requirement.
The objective of comparing the airline policies of 2012 and 2014, covering the period before
the EC proposal on art 6e and after the proposal, is to verify the state of art situation and to
check whether there is a tendency with airline companies to improve the travelling for
musicians taking their musical instruments on airplanes. The figures and data, as well as the
comparison between them, also show whether revisions and changes operated by the
private companies are going into the direction of the European legislative proposal.
LEGEND
IMPROVED CHANGE
DETRIMENTAL CHANGE
NOT CLEAR / LACK OF INFORMATION
INFO not available in 2012
NO CHANGES HAPPENED
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AIRLINES COMPANY
AIRFRANCE
Terms & Conditions
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
2014
Only some instruments (i.e. Violin, Mandolins, Banjo)
Weight: Up to 12 kg ; Size: 55x35x25
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
32 kg
Up to 75 kg allowed
///
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING
PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
23 kg
Form 23 kg to 32 kg: extra fee
Over 32 kg: Heavy Instruments allowed (exception)
Purchasable
Extra Fare
Not specified = YES
Prior Approval from the company
Hard cases with round edges
ALITALIA
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT and/or
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
2012
2014
///
Size: 55x35x25 ; Weight: 8 kg
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
All Musical Instruments
Size: no longer than 100 cm
Weight: up to 23 kg
If the luggage is over the limits,
an excess baggage charge applies
Cello
Max dimensions (including the base): 52x40x135cm
Adult ticket in Economy Class
All Musical Instruments
Size: 115 cm ; Weight: 8 kg
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
All musical instruments
Size: from 115 up to 158 cm
Weight: up to 23 kg
From 23 up to 32 kg: extra fee
Extra luggage purchasable
Cello and similar instruments
Max dimensions (including the base): 52x40x135cm
Extra fare
8
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AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING
PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
YES
Not specified
Check-in: 30 minutes in advance of the set time limits
Special hard case
Not specified = almost yes
Notification to the Customer Service: 48 hrs before
Check-in: 60 minutes in advance of the set time limit
Special hard case
BRITISH AIRWAYS
HAND LUGGAGE
2012
2014
Small Musical Instruments
Size: 55x40x20 ; Weight: up to 23 kg
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
Small Musical Instruments
Size: 56x45x25 ; Weight: up to 23 kg
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
HOLD LUGGAGE
Musical Instruments
Size: 90x75x43 ; Weight: 23 kg
Part of passengers’ free checked baggage allowance
Double bass accepted even if it exceeds max dimension
(Excess baggage charge applies)
Larger Instruments
(If the company is notified 24 before the departure)
Size: 190x75x65 cm ; Weight: from 23 up to 45 kg
Excess baggage charge applies
Purchasable
Purchasable, depending on availability
Not specified
NO online procedure ; YES by phone or through agent
YES at the airport (no prior notification)
Not specified
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
BRUSSELS AIRLINES
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
2014
Small Musical Instruments
provided they fit in the overhead compartment
or under the seat in front of the owner
9
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HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
NO INFO – Contact Service center
Big Instruments (i.e. Contrabass)
NO INFO – Contact Service center
/
Up to 32 kg
Excess baggage charge applies
/
Purchasable
/
Musical Instruments not fitting in the cabin
require to purchase an extra seat
/
NO TAXES
/
NO INFO – Contact Service center
/
Not specified
EASYJET
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
(not included)
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
2014
Musical Instruments
Subject to: Space availability in the overlocks
and captain’s discretion.
Size: 30x120x38
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
Larger instruments
Larger instruments
Weight: up to 20 kg
Weight: up to 32 kg
/
From 20 to 32 kg
Excess baggage charge applies
Purchasable
Cellos require to purchase an extra seat
Bigger instruments (i.e. double bass, harps)
YES
Online or calling Customer Service Team
Not specified
10
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IBERIA
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
2014
Musical Instruments
Size: 30x120x38 cm
Free of Charge (part of the hand baggage)
Size: 190x75x65cm
Weight: 23 kg
Free of charge (part of personal baggage allowance)
From 23 to 32 kg
Excess baggage charge applies
From 32 to 45 kg
Considered as additional baggage - Charged
Purchasable
Contact Iberia Bookings Centre
to check availability and dimensions
Not specified
Contact Iberia Bookings Centre
Not specified
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
KLM
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
2012
2014
Musical Instrument (i.e. Guitar or Smaller)
Size: up to 115 cm ; Weight: 12
Free of charge (part of personal hand baggage
allowance)
Lenght: up to 100 cm ; Weight: 23 kg
Part of standard baggage allowance (Purchasable)
Larger than 203 cm or Heavier than 32 kg
Permission to be requested
Musical Instrument (i.e. Violin or Smaller)
If it fits in the overlocked
Free of charge (part of personal hand baggage allowance)
Size: 158 cm ; Weight: 23 kg
Part of personal baggage allowance (Purchasable)
W: from 23 to 32 kg
Excess baggage charge applies
More than 32 kg or more than 200 cm:
Prior approval and reservation via KLM Telephone
11
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Reservations
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
Purchasable
Larger instruments
not fitting on the overhead compartment,
nor under the seat
if no longer than 140 cm
no heavier than 46 kg
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
Larger Instruments
not fitting on the overhead compartment,
nor under the seat
Not Specified
contact KLM Telephone Reservations,
48 hours in advance
Hard Case (If not, company iis not reliable for damages)
INSTRUMENT CASE
LOT
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
2012
2014
Musical Instruments
not suitable for transport in the hold compartment will
be accepted in the cabin compartment
(not specified if as Hand luggage or with an extra seat)
Not specified
Not specified
Not specified
Musical Instruments are part of My Leisure Equipment
Weight: 45 kg
Musical Instruments not suitable for transport in the hold
compartment will be accepted in the cabin compartment
Only if due notice in advance and
permission granted by carrier.
Additional charge may have to be paid
Only if
due notice in advance and
permission granted by carrier.
Additional charge may have to be paid
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
Not specified
My Leisure Equipment service on-line or
LOT Call Centre not later than 24 hours before the
departure
/
LUFTHANSA
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2012
HAND LUGGAGE
Size: 55x40x23 cm ; Weight: 8 kg
(Items in general)
Size: 158 cm ; Weight: 23 kg
(Items in general)
Items of baggage that are larger or heavier
or additional to the free baggage allowance
Excess baggage charges apply
Special tariffs and conditions
apply to the transportation of musical instruments.
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
2014
Further information about these can be obtained from the Lufthansa Service Team.
RYANAIR
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
Size: 55x40x20 ; Weight: 10 kg
(Items in general)
Musical Instruments
within the personal checked baggage allowance
(up to 20 kg – Purchasable online and at airport)
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
2014
Checked baggage allowance
of 15 or 20 kg
Purchasable
(Items in general)
Over 20 kg
Excess baggage rate per kilo
Large Musical Instruments
UNSUITABLE for carriage
Large Musical Instruments
(i.e. harps, drums, double bass)
in addition to personal checked baggage allowance
(up to 20 kg – Purchasable online and at airport)
Smaller Musical Instruments (i.e. guitar, violin, viola) (exceeding cabin baggage dimensions)
require reservation in advance
Extra fare
13
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AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
Yes
Online
Surname: “ITEM SEAT” ; First: “EXTRA”
Not specified
INSTRUMENT CASE
SAS
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
2014
Musical Instrument
Size: 55x40x23 ; Weight: 8 kg
Free of charge (part of personal baggage allowance)
1 Musical Instruments
Free of Charge (part of checked baggage allowance)
Musical Instruments
Double Bass
Up to 45 kg
If registered in booking, prior to departure
///
Purchasable
Cello (ONLY)
Extra seat Fare
Not specified
SAS Customer Contact Center
Hard case
SWISS AIRLINES
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
2014
Musical Instruments
Size: 55x40x23 ; Weight: 8 kg
Free of charge (part of personal baggage allowance)
Musical Instruments
Musical Instruments
exceeding hand baggage size and weight
exceeding hand baggage size and weight
(if space not available in cabin)
(if space not available in cabin)
Free of Charge (part of checked baggage allowance)
Registered at booking time –
Free of Charge (part of checked baggage allowance)
///
Weight: up to 32 kg
14
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ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
Excess baggage rates
Purchasable
///
Musical Instruments
exceeding hand baggage size and weight
(if available space in cabin)
Extra fare
Yes
Travel Agent ; SWISS point of sale / NOT Online
Not specified
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
TAP
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
2014
Size: 115 cm ; Weight: 8 kg
(Items in general)
Flexibility may apply depending on aircraft equipment
and/or restrictive governments regulations
Size: 158 cm ; Weight: 23 kg
Musical Instruments
(Items in general)
Size: 158 cm ; Weight: 23 kg
Free of Charge (part of checked baggage allowance)
///
Musical Instruments
Size: 190x75x65 cm ; Weight: 32 kg
require notification at booking time
(or 24hrs before departure)
///
Not specified
Musical Instruments in cabin
Weight: up to 84 kg
Extra fare
If heavier: More than 1 extra seat/fare
Not specified
///
Prior to departure (not specified)
///
Rigid and/or Hard shell container,
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specifically designed for shipping.
Passanger is responsible
for properly prepare a musical a musical instrument
WIZZAIR
2012
HAND LUGGAGE
HOLD LUGGAGE
OVERWEIGHT
ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE
EXTRA SEAT
AIRPORT TAXES
BOOKING PROCEDURE
INSTRUMENT CASE
2014
Size: 50x40x20 cm ; Weight: 10 kg
(Items in general)
Musical Instrument
Size: 56x45x25 (80 cm of lenght); Weight: 10 kg
Free of Charge (part of checked baggage allowance)
Size: 150x120x170 cm ; Weight: 32
Musical Instrument
(Items in general)
larger than a cello (e.g. double bass, harp, etc.)
First piece: Free of Charge
must be checked in with a limited release tag
Purchasable
///
Maximum weight 32 kg (included)
Purchasable
Musical Instrument
not fitting in the overhead compartment
or under the seat
(Prior approval to be obtained via WizzAir Call Center)
Extra Adult Fare
Yes
Online First name: “EXST” ; Passenger’s Surname
Not specified
16
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FINDINGS
The analysis of the different airlines companies policies demonstrates that there is NO
GENERAL AND COMMON APPROACH in ruling the transport of musical instruments for the
listed criteria. Such situation creates legal uncertainty for the passenger travelling with a
musical instrument and hinders musicians to undertake their profession of which touring is
an fundamental part.
Compared to 2012, a few changes to different airline policies happened in 2014 :
 Carrying of Musical Instruments as Hand Baggage
10 companies (out of 14) permit the transportation of one musical instrument in the
cabin, as part of the passenger’s allowance and costs-free. The 4 remaining companies
do not give specific information, they just provide conditions for transport items in
general. This is a fairly good outcome and preferably would be extended to all companies
as a general practice.
Example of good practice, British Airways provides that: “Musical instruments shall be
taken on board as part of your free hand baggage allowance providing they fit within
the maximum bag dimensions”.
To be able to keep the musical instrument (often highly valuable) is the most desired
option, as it allows the musician to keep a direct and safe contact with his own
instrument. (It is also preferable as it avoids additional costs.)
 Carrying of Musical Instruments in the Hold compartment
8 companies allow one instrument as part of the personal hold baggage allowance.
4 of them provide that service only if a baggage allowance is purchased (normally the
case for Low-Cost companies).
The 2 remaining companies do not give any information in this regard.
This requires specific hard cases (of which some companies have prescriptive demands)
which are uncomfortable to travel further once at destination. Even with hard cases, the
protection of the precious instrument is not always guaranteed as it depends on the
handling by the ground personnel.
 Booking an extra seat to travel with a musical instrument
This possibility is provided by most of the airlines companies concerned by the survey.
6 of them allow it indiscriminately. A further 6 require a prior approval from the carrier,
in order to check availability and M.I. dimensions. SAS accepts just Violoncello to be
carried in the cabin by purchasing an extra seat. For Lufthansa, passengers have to call to
its Customer Service Call Center in order to have information on the policy concerned.
17
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 Airport departure taxes to be paid when purchasing an extra seat for a musical
instrument.
Indeed 6 companies do that. Although, 7 of them do not provide any information on it,
but it is presumable that without a specific provision avoiding this cost, passenger would
have to pay the full fare.
Good practice example, Brussels Airlines specifies that: “for the extra seat you will be
charged the fare excluding taxes”.
 It has been underlined at several stages that there is a need to be able to book online
the extra seat for the musical instrument.
It allows to speed up the booking procedure and more in particular to ensure (and thus
create a higher degree of certainty) that the musician concerned will have the capacity to
travel with the instrument.
4 airlines companies provide indeed this possibility (sometimes as the only way of
booking). Instead, the majority of the Airlines companies in the survey, notably 10 of
them, do not provide this service. Some of them even require for a prior approval from
the airline company services, others link the acceptance to the space availability on the
aircraft.
 A specific instrument case is sometimes required in order to allow the carrying of
Musical Instruments.
9 of the companies concerned, do not mention any provision regarding the point. On the
other hand, 5 companies do ask a specific hard case (some require it to have round
edges, i.e British Airlines) to contain the instrument during its transport.
TO CONCLUDE:
Whereas a majority of airline companies allow to take (small) instruments as part of
handluggage, it is noted that only 6 airlines companies improved their policy in 2014
(compared to 2012) and somehow made it easier to travel with musical instruments.
Although ANY AIRLINE POLICY HAS IMPROVED ALL CRITERIA CONCERNED the survey, nor
with those contained in the regulatory acts proposed as a reference, notably the European
Commission Proposal for Regulation 2013/0072(COD) and the US FAA Modernisation and
Reform Act and its implementing Final Rule.
The latter will be analysed and compared in the following chapter.
18
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4)
US FAA FINAL RULE and EC PROPOSAL – COMPARISON
On December 29th 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued final
regulations to improve air travel with musical instruments. The rules require US certified
airlines companies 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 travelling with their instruments.
This policy development is the result of intense and prolonged advocacy efforts by the music
community, including exchanges between musician organisations and airline
representatives, as a parallel approach to the US Department’s rulemaking.
The partnership resulted in important actions aimed at informing musicians about their
duties and rights and at raising awareness on airlines policies terms and conditions.
As an example, Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization for major U.S. airlines,
established a page on its website that provides a summary of member airlines’ baggage
policy regarding musical instruments and links to each individual carrier’s webpage for that
information1. The US Department has created a webpage providing useful tips and
information for consumers on how to prepare for air travel with musical instruments2. The
League of American Orchestras did the same.
Stakeholders from both parts as well as the US Government demonstrated the will to ensure
the safe transport of musical instruments by air and increasing efficiency and customer
satisfaction.
In concrete, 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 following pages describe in detail the US Final Rule and compare it to the above
mentioned EC Proposal. The relevant and full text of the US Final Rule can be consulted in
the annex to this paper.
1
Information on musical instruments from Airlines for America (A4A):
http://airlines.org/blog/instrument-rated-air-travel-for-musicians/
2
Department of Transportation, Tips for traveling with musical instrument:
http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments
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The policy items are divided in three parts:
- Transport of Small Instruments as Carry-On Baggage (which corresponds to the Hand
baggage carrying),
- Transporting Large Instruments as Carry-On Baggage (referring to the carrying of the
instrument on an extra seat)
- Transporting Large Instruments as Checked Baggage (which corresponds to the carriage as
Hold baggage).
The second column describes the provisions as in the Proposal of Regulation launched in
2013 by the European Commission. The third and most right column gives an analysis and
comparison of the two texts.
This comparative exercise is possible because of the high degree of similarities contained in
both legal acts.
LEGEND
POLICY ITEM
US FINAL RULE
EC PROPOSAL art.6e
COMPARISON
SIMILAR PROVISION
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POLICY ITEM
(1)
Transport of Small
Instruments as
Carry-On Baggage
(HAND BAGGAGE)
US FAA Modernization
and Reform Act of 2012 +
Final Rule on Part 251 –
Carriage of Musical
Instruments
EC Proposal
2013/0072 (COD)
amending Regulations (EC)
No 261/2004 and No 2027/97
COMPARISON
Carrier shall permit a passenger to
carry a violin, guitar, or other small
musical instrument in the aircraft
cabin,
if
(a) the instrument can be stowed
safely in a suitable baggage
compartment in the aircraft
cabin or under a passenger seat, in
accordance with the requirements
for carriage of carry-on baggage or
cargo established by the FAA; and
(b) there is space for such stowage
at the time the passenger boards
the aircraft.
(on a “first come, first served”
basis)
Carrier shall permit a passenger to
carry a musical instrument in
the passenger cabin of an aircraft,
OBLIGATION for CARRIER
Air Carrier SHALL permit the carriage
subject to
(a) applicable safety rules:
instruments can be stowed safely in a
suitable baggage compartment within
the cabin or under an appropriate
passenger seat.
CONDITIONS:
without charging the passenger a
fee in addition to any standard
fee that carrier may require for
comparable carry-on baggage,
(same treatment as normal
checked luggage)
An air carrier may determine that a
musical instrument shall form part of a
passenger's hand luggage allowance
and not be carried in addition to that
allowance.
MANDATORY
(a) Stowed safely
(a) Stowed safely
(b) Space availability
(b) Technical
specifications and
constraints
(b) technical specifications and
constraints of the aircraft concerned.
COSTS:
SHALL
PART of the ALLOWANCE
(No additional charges)
MAY
PART of the ALLOWANCE
(No additional charges)
Standard fee for
additional luggage
(same treatment as
normal checked luggage)
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(2)
Transporting Large
Instruments as
Carry-On Baggage
(EXTRA SEAT)
Carrier shall permit a passenger to
carry a musical instrument that is
too large to meet the requirements
of section 251.3 in the aircraft
cabin
(as hand luggage)
without charging the passenger a
fee in addition to the cost of an
additional ticket
if
(a) the instrument is contained in
a case or covered so as to avoid
injury to other
passengers;
(b) the weight of the instrument,
including the case or covering,
does not exceed 165
pounds or the applicable weight
restrictions for the aircraft;
(c) the instrument can be stowed in
accordance with the requirements
for carriage of
carry-on baggage or cargo
established by the FAA (safety belt
or other tie down having enough
strength to eliminate the possibility
of shifting, train of agents, location
does not obscure any passenger's
view of auxiliary/security signs) ;
(d) neither the instrument nor the
case contains any object not
otherwise permitted to be
carried in an aircraft cabin .
Where a musical instrument is too
large to be stowed safely in a suitable
baggage compartment within the
cabin or under an appropriate
passenger seat,
(as hand luggage)
Carrier may request the payment of a
second fare where such musical
instruments are carried as hand
luggage on a second seat.
Where a second seat is purchased an
air (*) carrier should make reasonable
efforts to seat the passenger and the
musical instrument concerned
together.
MAIN CONDITION:
If the M.I. is too large to be a hand luggage
>> EXTRA SEAT
COSTS:
ADDITIONAL SEAT –
ADDITIONAL FARE
(SHALL)
ADDITIONAL SEAT –
ADDITIONAL FARE
(MAY)
CONDITIONS:
(a) Case or cover
requirement
(*) Seat next to the
passenger
(b) weight restriction
(c) same requirements as
for normal large carry-on
luggages (belt, cabin
location, trained agents)
(d) security rules
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(3)
Transporting Large
Instruments as
Checked Baggage
(HOLD BAGGAGE)
(4)
INFORMATION DUTY
Carrier shall transport as baggage a
musical instrument that is the
property of a passenger traveling in
air transportation that may not be
carried in the aircraft cabin
If:
(a) the sum of the length, width,
and height measured in inches of
the outside linear
dimensions of the instrument
(including the case) does not
exceed 150 inches or the
applicable size restrictions for the
aircraft;
(b) the weight of the instrument
does not exceed 165 pounds or
the applicable weight
restrictions for the aircraft; and
(c) the instrument can be stowed in
accordance with the requirements
for carriage of
carry-on baggage or cargo
established by the FAA. (same
treatment as normal checked
luggage)
Musical instruments shall be carried in
a (*)heated part of an aircraft cargo
hold
(**) if requested (by the passenger)
In addition, carriers should
adequately inform passengers
and the public about the
limitations and restrictions
imposed by these programs.
An air carrier shall clearly indicate in
its terms and conditions the basis on
upon which musical instruments will
be transported and the applicable
charges.
being subject to:
(a) applicable safety rules
(b) space constraints and availability
(c) technical specifications of the
aircraft concerned.
OBLIGATION for CARRIER
Air Carrier SHALL provide the service of carrying large
M.I. in the cargo hold compartment
MANDATORY
CONDITIONS:
(a) dimensions
(a) safety rules
(b) weight
(b) aircraft cargo space
(c) carry-on baggage
constraints and
requirements
availability
(same treatment as
(dimensions)
normal checked luggage)
(c) aircraft cargo
technical specifications
(*) heated part
(**) to be requested
by the passenger
OBLIGATION for CARRIER
(SHALL)
TO GIVE CLEAR AND ADEQUATE INFORMATION
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FINDINGS
The comparison between the US FAA Modernisation and Reform Act of 2012 and its
implementing Final Rule, adopted last December 2014, and the EC Proposal (2013/0072),
underlines some differences and several points in common.
1) SMALL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Both provisions OBLIGE air carriers to allow passenger to transport AS HAND LUGGAGE
a small musical instrument whose dimensions allow them to be stowed safely in a suitable
baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat.
However, both of them require one further condition:
EC Proposal makes it depend on the technical specifications and constraints of the aircraft
concerned. On the other side, US Final Rule condition this carriage to the aircraft space
availability.
By “space constraints” is meant the maximum capacity of the aircraft hold, where “space
availability” intends the space left in the hold, thus depending on the number of baggages
already stored
The latter option therefore encourages passengers travelling with musical instruments to
board as much as possible before the other passengers , as their instruments will be
accepted on the cabin on a “first come, first served” basis.
This include fostering the utilisation of pre-boarding opportunities, that some carriers offer
(usually for a fee).
COSTS: In both cases it is suggested to consider small musical instrument as part of the
passenger allowance, without charging any additional cost for his transport.
But in the US rule this provision is mandatory (“SHALL”).
In the EC proposal it is only a possibility left to airlines discretion (“MAY”).
The US final rule specifies also that in the case in which this allowance is exceeded (i.e. 2
hand luggage), the musical instrument shall be charged of a standard additional fee.
(2) LARGE(R) MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
According to both regulations, those instruments which are TOO LARGE to be considered
and transported as (small) hand luggage can still be carried in the cabin by purchasing an
EXTRA SEAT.
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US Final Rule oblige (“SHALL”) air carriers to allow passengers’ reservation of the additional
seat through the payment of a second fare.
It also specifies that no futher additional fee can be charged as supplement of the extra fare.
Futhermore, the US decision-maker conditions this carrying possibility to specific dimension
and weight limitations, as well as to safety and security requirements.
On the other hand, EC Proposal’s article 6e leave the discretion (”MAY”) to air carriers
whether to provide this carrying possibility. If so, air carriers can request the payment of a
second fare and should make reasonable efforts to seat the passenger and the musical
instrument concerned together.
(3) LARGE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
According to both EC proposal and US rules, a musical instrument, which is not to be carried
within the cabin, shall be transported as a CHECKED BAGGAGE in the AIRCRAFT CARGO
HOLD.
However, this carrying option is contingent on some CONDITIONS, which formally (but not
substantially) diverge between the two regulations.
The US Final Rule permit it if those instruments comply with size and weight limitation
provided or with applicable size and weight restrictions for the aircraft.
It also applies the same requirements established by the FAA for carriage of “normal” carryon baggages.
The EC Proposal for Regulation limits this transport to the space constraints, safety rules and
technical specification of the aircraft, and makes it subject to the space availability and the
request of the passenger travelling with a musical instruments.
The airline company is also asked to carry the musical instrument in a heated part of the
cargo hold.
COSTS related to this carrying option are not mentioned in both regulations. For this reason,
it can be concluded that carriers may impose the same conditions apply as to other checked
baggage of that size and weight. If this would be the case, the carrier may assess the same
over-size and over-weight charges that are applicable to other “normal” checked baggage
that is over-size or over-weight.
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(4)
INFORMATION DUTY
Last but not the least, both the EC art.6e and the US FAA and Final rule foresee an obligation
for any air carrier concerned to clearly and adequately inform passengers and the public
about terms and conditions on the basis upon which musical instrument will be transported.
The common approach of the legislator is to guarantee more legal certainty and to provide a
level playing field through easier travelling conditions and transparency for passengers
carrying musical instruments.
TO CONCLUDE:
Based upon this analysis, we notice that both legal texts share the same principles but still
apply them at barely different conditions.
The US FAA and its implementating Final rule confirm the main principles stated by the EC
Proposal. We can therefore resume them as follow:
1) Musical Instruments SHALL be carried as HAND LUGGAGE and possibly FREE of
CHARGE (where possible –> FIRST OPTION);
2) Larger Musical Instruments can be carried in the cabin by PURCHASING an EXTRA
SEAT;
3) Large Musical instrument can be transported as a CHECKED BAGGAGE, with the
same cost as a common luggage;
4) Air carrier are obliged to CLEARLY and ADEQUATELY INFORM about their terms and
conditions for the transport of this special luggage.
These four policy milestones of air travelling with a musical instrument appear to correspond
with the needs and demands raised by the music sector, as revealed Pearle* and FIM survey
of 2012. (see annex 1)
Furthermore, the music sector in the United States has raised the same concerns before the
US legislator, who consequently ruled in a similar way as the European Commission
proposed to do.
The result to be retrieved is that not only the issues and needs of musicians travelling with
their musical instrument are shared world-wide. But also that the regulatory approach to
solve those problems undertaken by both legislators are evidence-based and in way of
principles correct.
Common rules at European level on the carrying of musical instruments would follow the
international developments.
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5)
GENERAL CONCLUSION
Why is a EU-wide policy needed?
The comparison between the policies of European airline companies looked at in 2012 and
2014 as well as the objective analysis of their capacity to fulfill the needs of travellers with
musical instruments, demonstrate a lack of harmonised rules, leaving the traveller to legal
uncertainty.
Nevertheless, a tendency of improving travelling conditions can be ascertained. In particular
regarding the transport of small instrument in the cabin, which in most of the cases are put
at the same level as the others hand luggage.
Through a legislative initiative a harmonised approach across Europe can be endorsed and
result in a win-win situation for all, by creating a level playing field for all airline companies
and by providing transparent and clear rules for the passengers.
Laying down EU-wide common rules would be the best way to solve the acknowledged
problems which have been raised and will continue to be raised by orchestras, music
ensembles and musicians.
By taking a basis of good elements and good practices already existing with some of the
airline companies on the criteria described above, it would not be too much demanding for
airlines companies to comply with general rules to accommodate passengers travelling with
musical instruments.
As the US - EU comparison demonstrates, needs and concerns raised by the music sector are
the same world-wide. Therefore the approach to solve the latter should also be similar.
Indeed, the two legal texts analysed in chapter 4 tackle the same issues. Despite regulating
the conditions of acceptance in a slightly different way, the principles stated by the two
pieces of legislation are consistent.
Economic impact: “Small effort for a big gain”
Every day, musicians are confronted with inconsistent, often discretionary airline policies,
which render their travelling unpredictable and sometimes even resulted in last-minute
cancelations of concerts, which consequently caused huge economic losses.
Hindering their ability to travel means a direct loss of jobs and income for musicians, music
groups, bands and orchestras, with an additional impact on the local economy generated by
concerts and festivals, often attended by thousands of people, who bought themselves
sometimes airline tickets to see their favorite musicians playing.
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Furthermore, improved predictability can only lead to an increase of air travel by
professional musicians, without any loss of income for the air carriers.
Musicians would also feel more at ease to choose air transport to travel with their
instruments, promoting this mode of transport to fellow musicians and their audiences.
In addition, looking at the air transport market in and out the United States, the
competitiveness of European Airlines would be also hindered by the lack of consistency of
their policies regarding the transport of musical instruments.
After the adoption of the US Final Rule, many european orchestras, music group and
ensemble or just amateur musicians would logically choose american airlines companies to
travel to or from the US with their instruments.
For these reasons, an EU-wide regulation harmonising the transport of musical instruments
would create a level playing field for all airline companies and musicians.
As far as the common rules to be adopted do not impose an excessive burden on
stakeholders, a small effort for harmonised rules encouraging airline companies to operate
under comparable conditions for passengers travelling with musical instruments would be in
line with Europe's intention to draft smart regulation, providing both a support to sustain
jobs whilst generating economic growth for the airline companies concerned and the music
sector.
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Annex I
CARRYING OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS ON PLANES
Identification of problems in relation to air travel based on feedback from members of
Pearle* and FIM collected in 2012
The issues identified below illustrate the hindrances and obstacles experienced by musicians
(individually or in groups) travelling in the European Union.
Problems and complaints originate from the fact that policies of airlines operating in Europe are not
harmonised, resulting in differences among conditions of carrying musical instruments on board or as
luggage.
The hindrances and obstacles experienced relate to two main categories of complaints, pricing and
handling, which are described and illustrated below.
1. Pricing
1.1. the charges for instruments, such as:
 weight of the instrument case: some airline companies charge high costs for overweight and
refuse to spread the extra weight over the members of the group which would allow to remain
under the maximum weight allowed per person
Example: a music ensemble travelling with 15 musicians was not allowed for the cello overweight
to be spread over the musicians travelling with light hand luggage
 material of the instrument case: some airlines charge extra for an instrument case which is in
aluminum material, instead of cases covered with fabric
Example: Easyjet personnel at the check-in requested the musician to buy an extra seat because
the instrument case was in aluminum , whereas there was no problem for the colleague travelling
with the instrument case covered with fabric
 extra seat:
- some airlines charge double the price of the passenger ticket for the instrument on the seat
Example: Alitalia charges double or even more or sometimes the price of a business class ticket
- some airlines refuse to sell two extra seats per passenger, when the musician is travelling with
two instruments
Example: Vueiling, Iberia refused a musician to have two extra seats for his two instruments (a
lute and a guitar)
- some airlines practice prohibitive prices when selling a ticket to the musician for extra seats
Example: Lufthansa recently modified its tariffs raising prices regarding extra seats booking.
-
Some musicians experience inconsistency in airlines’ policies
Example: a musician, who bought an extra seat for a cello, was told that the cello could only be
strapped into a bulkhead seat. Since none of the passengers sitting in bulkhead seats were willing
to switch, the cello had to be gate checked.
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 taxes : since instruments are baggage, when an extra seat is to be bought directly with an airline
company, taxes are charged on the purchase of the ticket, whereas when passing through an
agent it is reported that no taxes are charged on the extra seat
1.2. the booking mode
 online : some airlines have no solution to the booking of an extra seat for instruments
Example: an airline company did not know what to do with “Mr Cello”
 agent: some airlines (KLM / AirFrance) request a specific demand for an extra seat when buying
the ticket
Example: one has to go twice to an agency of AirFrance to obtain the ticket for the extra seat, one
time to make the request and the second time to get the ticket for the extra seat
 overbooking: musicians having bought an extra seat for an instrument, were confronted with the
fact that airlines sold the seat to other passengers
Example: it happened to musicians travelling with AirFrance and Scandinavian Airlines that the
seat for their instrument was taken by a passenger, leaving no space to take the instrument in
cabin
2. Handling
2.1. the available space in the aircraft
 type of the aircraft: sometimes instruments with which it was possible to take the instrument in
cabin for departure, were refused for the flight back.
Example: a cello could be taken on an extra seat in cabin, but was refused for the flight back. As
the cello was transported in the ‘normal’ instrument case and not in a flight case, which did not
make it possible to leave the instrument in the hold, it was necessary to take another flight.
 in the overhead locker: some airlines will require for some instruments which fit into the
overhead lockers to book an extra seat
Example 1: this has happened to musicians travelling with viola or bass clarinet
Example 2 : this is the case when travelling with Ryanair. This has also happened when travelling
with Lufthansa on smaller aircrafts
 extra seats : some airlines request to book three seats for a cello
Example: Alitalia requested a musician to buy three seats to put down the cello, saying that the
cello was too high to put straight
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2.2. the handling of instruments as baggage (cargo)
 refused instruments: double bass or timpani in flight cases are sometimes refused when
travelling with small aircrafts such as on domestic flights
Example: this is sometimes an unpleasant surprise when travelling with Lufthansa
 large instruments : musicians need to be guaranteed that the instruments will be transported
under the best conditions, this means for instance that it should be avoided to leave the
instruments in the cold area of the hold, as this causes damages of the wood
 time-consuming check-in : when travelling with large instruments (and heavier than 30kg) that
need to be transported in flight cases, depending on the airport of departure, often one needs to
deliver the instruments a day before departure. The same problems occur upon the arrival – as
cargo is delivered at different times than the passengers’ luggage, which requires the person
concerned to pick up the instrument hours later.
 long procedures: for travelling with large instruments musicians experience slow administrative
handling, resulting in time-consuming exchanges with airline personnel, to ensure a safe and
quality-controlled transport of the music instruments concerned
2.3. the check-in
 as “extra” hand luggage: a recurrent complaint is that instruments are accepted as only one
piece of hand luggage. The instrument cases do not allow for the storage of other items,
compared to the type of trolleys which allow other passengers to carry personal belongings. In
particular low-cost airlines are very difficult on this matter.
Example: Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet refuse even to accept a small ladies handbag, requiring them
to check it in as other luggage.
 misinformation of airline personnel on their own airline procedures: it regularly happens that
musicians can check in without significant problems from one airport, but upon their return
experience difficulties.
Example: departure from Brussels airport with IBERIA to Spain – no problem to take the
instrument as carry-on luggage, but difficulties are experienced with the airline personnel upon
return with IBERIA from Spain.
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Annex II
a) EC PROPOSAL for REGULATION on AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS
TRAVELLING with MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
LEGAL ELEMENTS
Ensure better enforcement of passenger rights with regard to mishandled baggage
RECITAL (29)
LEGAL TEXT
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b) EP position and amendments
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Annex III
US FINAL RULE on CARRIAGE OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
implementing section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
29 December 2014
PART 251—CARRIAGE OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Sections:
251.1 Definitions
251.2 Applicability
251.3 Small Musical Instruments as Carry-on Baggage
251.4 Large Musical Instruments as Carry-on Baggage
251.5 Large Musical Instruments as Checked Baggage
Authority: 49 U.S.C. §41724.
§ 251.1 Definitions
Certificated air carrier means a U.S. carrier holding a certificate issued under 49 U.S.C. 41102
to conduct passenger service or holding an exemption to conduct passenger operations
under 49 U.S.C. 40109.
Commuter air carrier means a U.S. carrier that has been found fit under 49 U.S.C. 41738 and
is authorized to carry passengers on at least five round trips per week on at least one route
between two or more points according to a published flight schedule using small aircraft as
defined in 14 CFR 298.2.
FAA means the Federal Aviation Administration, an operating administration of the
Department of Transportation.
Covered carrier means a certificated carrier, a commuter carrier, an air taxi, or a U.S. indirect
carrier operating to, from, or within the United States, conducting scheduled passenger
service or public charter service.
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Indirect Carrier means a person not directly involved in the operation of an aircraft who sells
air transportation services to the general public other than as an authorized agent of a
carrier.
§ 251.2 Applicability
This part applies to U.S. certificated air carriers, U.S. commuter air carriers, an air taxi, and
U.S. indirect carriers that operate passenger service to, from, or within the United States.
§ 251.3 Small Musical Instruments as Carry-on Baggage
Each covered carrier shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other small musical
instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any
standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if
(a) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft
cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carryon baggage or cargo established by the FAA; and
(b) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.
§ 251.4 Large Musical Instruments as Carry-on Baggage
Each covered carrier shall permit a passenger to carry a musical instrument that is too large
to meet the requirements of section 251.3 in the aircraft cabin, without charging the
passenger a fee in addition to the cost of an additional ticket described in subparagraph (e),
if
(a) the instrument is contained in a case or covered so as to avoid injury to other
passengers;
(b) the weight of the instrument, including the case or covering, does not exceed 165
pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft;
(c) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with the requirements for carriage of
carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA;
(d) neither the instrument nor the case contains any object not otherwise permitted to be
carried in an aircraft cabin because of a law or regulation of the United States; and
(e) the passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an
additional seat to accommodate the instrument.
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§ 251.5 Large Musical Instruments as Checked Baggage
Each covered carrier shall transport as baggage a musical instrument that is the property of a
passenger traveling in air transportation that may not be carried in the aircraft cabin if
(a) the sum of the length, width, and height measured in inches of the outside linear
dimensions of the instrument (including the case) does not exceed 150 inches or the
applicable size restrictions for the aircraft;
(b) the weight of the instrument does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight
restrictions for the aircraft; and
(c) the instrument can be stowed in accordance with the requirements for carriage of
carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA.
36
Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) aisbl
Square Sainctelette 19/6 – B-1000 Brussels
Phone +32-2-203.62.96 / e-mail [email protected] / www.pearle.ws