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DOT Makes Exception for Air Traveler’s with Musical Instruments

January 20th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

This is not a story about dangerous goods but it is a story about an unusual exception that DOT has regulated for the safe transport of small musical instruments! The U.S. Department of Transportation today issued a final rule to implement section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which requires that U.S. airlines accept musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights, provided that certain conditions are met. “At DOT, we know how important instruments are to musicians and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that they are not damaged while being transported on airlines,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This final rule implements the statute, and it will go a long way towards keeping instruments safe when they fly — from allowing them in the cabin if there’s space for safe stowage, to letting passengers buy a seat for certain large instruments.” U.S. carriers subject to this regulation allow a passenger to carry into the cabin and stow a small musical instrument, such as a violin or a guitar, in a suitable baggage compartment, such as the overhead bin or a closet, or under the seats, in accordance with FAA safety regulations and the carrier’s FAA-approved carry-on baggage program. For some musical instruments that are too large to fit in the cabin stowage areas described in the carrier’s FAA-approved carry-on baggage program (e.g., an overhead bin or under a seat), it is sometimes possible to secure them to a seat as “seat baggage” or “cargo in passenger cabin.” The final rule applies to scheduled and charter flights in domestic or international transportation operated by U.S. carriers, regardless of the size of the aircraft they operate.

In addition to issuing this rule, the Department has also created a Tips Sheet that provides useful tips and information for consumers on how to prepare for air travel with musical instruments.

Read the complete DOT announcement here.

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