Petition: Ask the U.S. Congress to support better air travel for musicians

July 8, 2010

instrument cases
Photo, nobleviola

The American Federation of Musicians, the world’s largest organization promoting the interests of professional musicians, has put its support behind the U.S. Senate’s version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (S.1451). This bill seeks to overhaul many aspects of air travel, and the official summary includes this text:

(Sec. 713)

Requires an air carrier to permit an air passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument on a passenger aircraft without charge if it can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft or under a passenger seat. Sets forth requirements for the carriage of musical instruments as checked baggage or as occupants of a purchased seat.

The AFM is calling for “all musicians” to sign a petition in support of including the relevant text from the Senate version in the final version of the bill. You can sign the petition at the AFM’s website.

The AFM famously struck an agreement with TSA several years ago, ensuring that musical instruments be allowed to pass through airport security. This was widely misinterpreted by musicians to mean that airlines would be required to allow instruments as carry-on; unfortunately this was not the case. This legislation specifically addresses musicians’ need to keep their delicate and valuable instruments in their own care on board the airplane.

Your to-do list:

  1. Sign the petition (you don’t have to be an AFM member).
  2. Read some of my previous articles for a better explanation of the problem, including the notorious AFM/TSA agreement.
  3. Get general information about the bill at OpenCongress.org, or, if you’re feeling saucy, dive right into the full text of the bill.
  4. Drum up support for this legislation by posting about it on your own blog, Facebook page, etc. If you like, you can use my handy “share” buttons (to the left) to point people right here via email, Twitter or Facebook (or other social media outlets via AddThis).

Happy flying!

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