Know The Law - For Plane Travel

Know The Law – For Plane Travel

I like to travel a lot. In fact, if you plan to take your guitar on a plane it can be a scary thought encase the airline does not accept it, or tries to trick you into purchasing another seat.

Can I take my guitar on a plane? Anyone can travel on a Plane with a guitar because it is written into law. However, there are certain conditions that must be met. For instance the instrument must weigh less than 165 pounds, have a protective case and the airplane can store it safely. 

It would be nice to be able to bring your musical instrument with you on holiday and it a good time to chill and spur some creativity. However, carrying a guitar on a plane can be a little complicated and troublesome. Here are some tips that you may find useful before considering bringing your guitar “on air”. In this article, I will show you how to be 100% prepared for air travel with your guitar! Reducing the risk so, that you no longer need to worry leading up to the departure. In simplistic terms by law, you can carry your guitar on a plane, without the airline being able to charge you if it meets the following conditions: So, by law you However, there are some exceptions for this law to apply. I will explain all this below…

1. Research the Airlines Policy before Booking:

So, by law you are able to take your guitar on an plane. However, there are certain conditions that must be met that are somewhat out of your control.

In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. Part (1a) states that: “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”

This says that if the plane does not have suitable storage for the guitar then the airline (being the ‘administrator’) can refuse it. Some airlines will be as helpful as they can whilst others will not want the hassle.

Research the airline policies and if you can contact them directly. You can check on multiple airlines’ policies on their websites in advance to make sure if they allow guitars as carry-ons. Furthermore, if the information on the website is not that clear then make sure you call them before booking.

You need to get some assurances that the airline will welcome your guitar. If it is against their policy then the above law actually protects them if they state there is no suitable storage available (even if suitable space is available).

2. Know The Airplane You Wish To Travel On

It is also important to note that if the air plane is full at the last minute and there is no space in the overheads then they airline could turn round and say that you can’t bring the guitar aboard even if they permit it. This is very unlikely however, it is a possibility.

It is important to know your specific airline’s rules, but do not forget to take notice of the size of airplane you are flying with as the bigger the airplane is, the more likely that your guitar will fit in the overhead bin.

If your guitar does not fit then the airline could be forced to remove your guitar from the aircraft at the time you board. In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. Part (1b) states that: “there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft. For instruments too large to fit in an overhead or under your seat, you can bring them aboard but you do have to buy another ticket”

So, make sure you know the type of plane you want to fly on. By choosing, the airline that often uses airplanes with spacious cabins. To be more certain, speak to an airline representative when booking to make sure the overhead bin in your aircraft has enough room for your guitar case.

3.  Pack your guitar properly for air travel:

Even when bringing your guitar as carry-on, you should pack it up with care before flying. Here are some tips for packing to ensure your guitar arrive at the destination safe and sound within the law:

In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. Part (2a) states that: – “the instrument is contained in a case or covered so as to avoid injury to other passengers”

This means that:

  • Use a sturdy case. When it comes to choosing a suitable case for flying, either a flight case or a standard hard case will do. Flight cases are strong and very hard to break, but they can be quite expensive. You can invest in a standard hard case instead – more economical, and also protects your guitar from hard impacts way better than a gig bag.
  • Add some extra padding. If your case isn’t molded, wrap your guitar in bubble wrap and fill in any extra space in the case with a few t-shirts to provide better cushioning and to ensure that your guitar stay in place during the flight.

4. Stay Within The Weight Limit

This is very unlikely for a guitar but if it weights over 165 pounds then the airline could prevent you from taking the guitar on the plane.

In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. Part (2b) states that: – “the weight of the instrument, including the case or covering, does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft”

5. The Guitar Does Not Contain Batteries

In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. Part (2d) states that: – ‘‘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”

6. Book a seat for your guitar

This is last resort and it obviously is in times of desperate measure if you have enough budget. But, you can go ahead and book an extra seat. Your guitar will have enough space it needs, and you can also keep it company during the flight. Especially when you own an incredibly valuable guitar, this is the cheapest way to keep your guitar the safest. 

In FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, SEC. 403. LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. Part (2e) states that: –  ‘the passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument.”

Conclusion

In this article, we looked into our right for taking our guitar on a plane.  We looked at why you need to Research the Airlines Policy before Booking, Know The Airplane You Wish To Travel on, Pack your guitar properly for air travelling,  Stay Within The Weight Limit,  The Guitar Does Not Contain Batteries and booking a seat for your guitar.

We also looked at why you don’t need to De-tune before flying and the best locations to sit.

Overall, I hope this gave you a good idea to prepare you next trip with your guitar.

International Airline Policy For Musical Instruments

Below is the policy for taking your guitar on a plane. In this section, I will explain it in simplistic terms.

SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
(a) IN GENERAL—Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘‘§ 41724. Musical instruments
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL—
‘‘(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.

For instruments too large to fit in an overhead or under your seat, you can bring them aboard but you do have to buy another ticket:

‘‘(2) LARGER INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE.—An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a musical instrument that is too large to meet the requirements of paragraph (1) in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to the cost of the 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 Administrator;

‘‘(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.

Leave a Reply