The Next Time an Airline Makes You Check Your Guitar, Show Them THIS…

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The following very awesome tip comes from Ari Herstand, a performing musician, actor, and part-time blogger who also advises bands and artists (check out his services here).

The next time an airline forces you to check your $3,000 guitar, handmade violin, or priceless handcrafted instrument into cargo…

(1) Please show the counter agent, guard, or other said official the 145 page FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 section 41724.   It was signed into law by Obama last year.

Print it out.

(2) Guide the counter agent, guard, or other said official to pages 74-75, which states the following:

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 Image constructed on Zazzle.

15 Responses

  1. Jughead

    Paul, I love you.

    But, if you ever use the word “said” (“said official”) again, I am planting red fire ants in your boxers. Then, I am going to read you a chapter each night as you fall asleep of Antonin Scalia’s book “Making Your Case.”

    It’s a totally douchey fake lawyerin’ word, and I am on a mission to eradicate it.

    I have spoken.

    • Danwriter

      And while we’re at it, adverbs (ending in “ly”) are not hyphenated.

    • casey

      also, can we erradicate word with in’ like lawyerin’. It doesn’t shorten the word and is therefore irrelevant. Lawyering Lawyerin’

  2. Alisdair MacRae Birch

    As a professional musician of 40 years standing who has toured and traveled extensively, I can tell you this makes little difference. In the end it comes down to, the Captain, who has the final say for example, If there is terrorist alert virtually all baggage goes in the hold. In my experience unless your instrument is very compact and fits comfortably in the sizing rack (a standard guitar does NOT) it is best to come prepared to put it in the hold. If you don’t, I guarantee, if you travel extensively, there will come a time when you will not be allowed to take it on board. My advice is ignore this kind of advice, it will just lead you to arguments and stress and come prepared to put it in the hold.

    Here’s a REAL tip: For travel in mainland US only, For your priceless instrument:
    If you want your instrument handled with kid gloves, get a hard shell lockable large road/touring instrument case. Get a fire-arms license, buy a licensed starting pistol with it’s own hard shell case. Pack the gun case in the instrument case. When you walk up to check-in, follow the checking procedure for declaring a firearm. Your instrument with the gun case inside will be handled in the way it deserves and escorted all the way!

    • Danwriter

      “Get a fire-arms license, buy a licensed starting pistol with it’s own hard shell case.”

      In certain jurisdictions, most notably New York City, you are subject to arrest upon discovery that you have transported a firearm of any type. Firearm licenses (carry permits) are regulated by states and local authorities and many states do not provide reciprocity.

      • Alisdair MacRae Birch

        You are correct. But the important two words are Starting Pistol. The barrel is plugged and has a red dot at the end in compliance with ATF regulations. No federal license required and in most states no state or city license or permit is required. The fire-arms license is recommended as backup to show that you are licensed to own and operate a handgun ( but you do not need this to carry the Starting Pistol ). However, in terms of airline travel, the TSA treat starting pistols in the same way as they would treat fully operational handguns. I was alerted to this tip many years back by a photographer/film maker who had his equipment stolen and came across this solution when working on a film set which required a starting pistol.It has worked successfully many times.

  3. AFM

    Just a little additional information. This legislation is largely a result of the work of the American Federation of Musicians. While the law has been passed, airlines still have up to two years to implement their procedures, so still check ahead of time with the specific airline to see if they have implemented. The basic guideline is, if it fits, it rides in the cabin. What that means is that if your last on the plane and there’s no overhead space, it will be checked (Southwest early check in is a good option). Cellos need to have a seat bought for them, but can be in the cabin. However, airlines like Frontier and maybe Spirit are apparently charging for any carry on, and not just instruments, depending on how you book your travel. Also, this is US only, so if you’re going to or from Canada or other international locations, rules may vary.

    • TK

      I recently traveled with a ukulele on multiple flights. No hassle. 🙂 🙂

  4. Resonator Guitar Guide

    Great resource, thank you for posting. Hopefully musicians hold airlines accountable.


  5. Gabe Hizer

    Above statute indicates it does not become effective until the final regulations have been written and adopted, which it states may be up to 2 years from now. So this is NOT yet in effect!!

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  7. Cashmere

    Book your flight early as possible or see if you can pay a little extra to board with first class, that way you will always have a place to store your instrument. If not, you will be fighting a losing battle with the airline, they don’t give a damn….