U.S. Department of Transportation Sets New Rules on Air Travel with Musical Instruments

Carry-on wayward sons and daughters
Associated Press

After years of complaints and one well-publicized spat with a musician whose guitar was damaged by United Airlines in 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled on the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and decided that musical instruments, such as violins and guitars, are considered carry-on items — the same as other luggage.

These instruments can be stored in overhead storage and under seats as long as they meet requirements for commercial passenger flights. When an instrument is too large to stow, musicians are encouraged to buy an extra seat.

"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 in an official statement posted on the DOT website. "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."

More information and guidelines can be found on the DOT's website.

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