Over two years ago I wrote a post about flying with your musical instrument. At that time a new law had been passed detailing what US airlines were required to do when a musician wanted to board with their instrument, but it was not actually going into effect for two years!
I’m happy to announce this rule has been finalized. This has not immediately stopped musicians from being hassled from what I’ve seen on Twitter, but I suggest that in addition to the tips about which I wrote previously you also print out and carry with you the finalized rule and a TL:DR summary:
The actual ruling
A summary of it in plain English
If you have a problem with the gate attendant show them the printouts and request to speak with a supervisor (who will hopefully set them straight). Also, if you are allowed to pre-choose seating request the rear of the cabin so that you will be boarded first before all the overhead compartments fill up! [EDIT: a violinist friend who flies fairly often notes that not all airlines board rear first, so ask whether you can be part of the “early boarding” group – some carriers will let you do so for an additional fee, or if a member of their frequent flyer club.]
You are probably shopped out, or else trying not to go near any more stores before the 25th – so just a few items this week. Go home, hug your significant others, let people know that you love and appreciate them.
If you are a violinist or violist, and especially if you have a long neck or other issues with standard chinrests, check out this new adjustable chinrest:
Project Night Night
For $20 you can give a Project Night Night Package to a homeless child. Frequently these children have nothing of their own due to the circumstances that led to their families becoming homeless, so Project Night Night gives them a security blanket, a stuffed toy, and an age-appropriate book, all in a tote bag they can also use to carry other possessions:
While cooking last week I realized yet again that I don’t have a decent food thermometer. This one won’t deliver until next May, but yet another thing you can do with your iOS or Android device:
Unless your band is performing at a very high-level venue, you are usually lucky to get a brief line check – you jump on stage, plug into the sound system for the first time at the start of your set, and the sound person give you a thumbs-up that he has a signal from you – before you start to play, let alone a full sound check.
So if you don’t get that thumbs-up, your band starts losing time from your set while you and the engineer try to figure out the problem in your signal chain! While you can’t always prevent an issue caused by sudden gear failure, you can avoid issues caused by misconnections…
Musicians travelling by air have long struggled with figuring out how/if/when they will be allowed to bring their instrument in the cabin, rather than expose it to the not-so-tender mercies of baggage compartments and handlers. The US government recently passed this law creating uniform rules for allowing instruments into the passenger cabin:
BUT… as of this date it is not actually in effect, because it set a deadline
Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue final regulations to carry out subsection (a).
In the meantime, here are some ideas to help make your instrument-toting travel smoother: