Flying With Musical Instruments is Now Less Scary

Any traveling musicians out there? If you are like me, you have at one point you have taken off your strings, packed the case with spare clothes, and crossed your fingers that you got a nice flight crew that would look the other way as you refused to let the baggage crew jump up and down on your favorite possession. Well hopefully we will never have to do that again.

Here is the applicable part of the law FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.

1. SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE — An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other 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 carry-on baggage or cargo established by the administrator; and
(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.

Part B stands out for me. I had always relied on a nice airline employee allowing me to do this. I have (luckily) never had to check my banjo, there has always been space in a large overhead compartment (good), or an open seat that I could literally strap it into (better). Now FAA policy requires this treatment if it is a possibility.
I promise that I will still be taking off strings, padding the case with clothes, and praying to whichever god deals with banjo safe travel prayers whenever I’m flying with my instrument. The difference now is with this knowledge in hand I’ll have one extra card to play as I’m trying to keep my precious instrument from the death grip of checked baggage. If you have time to read a 300 page law, check it out. FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. I’ll give 200 dig points to anyone that sends me the spark notes.