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Carrying Native American Flutes on Commercial Flights

FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 - Musical Instrument Excerpt

FAA Modernization Act of 2012
Musical Instruments excerpt Larger image

If your flute(s) accompany you on your travels … and your travels take you into the air, your flutes have a reason to rejoice starting February 2014. Here's the news:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 ([Congress 2012] FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 — Conference Report to accompany H.R. 658) says:

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 …

But there are several catches:

  • It must fit in the overhead bins or under the seat.

The overhead bins will usually accommodate a flute case, unless you've opted for one of the huge, five-tube models.

  • There must be space in the overhead bins at the time that you board the aircraft.

… which puts a premium for us to be in boarding group #1 (assuming that, since we spent all our money on buying flutes, we can't afford a first-class ticket). There's a lot of info on the web on boarding strategies and regulations … you might visit SeatGuru.com for a listing of the boarding policies of all major airlines.

  • February 6, 2014 is the likely start date for these rules.

The law is written so that it goes into effect as soon as the FAA issues regulations to fill in the details. And, by when must the FAA do that? “Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of” the Act. So, the FAA has until February 6, 2014.

You can see highlighted, one-page excerpt of the law by clicking on the image at the upper right (or clicking here). You can also read the full law in PDF, as House Resolution 658. The House of Representatives Report on the Law is also available. The section pertaining to musical instruments is in section 403, on pages 74–75.

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