Wednesday 16 April 2014

Musicians win victory over right to carry instruments on aircraft

Man Playing Guitar
Library Image.

Musicians have won a major victory over airlines with the EU drawing up plans to compel carriers to allow them to bring small instruments on board.

They are contained in proposals to strengthen passenger rights due to come into force in early 2015.

Other changes will see airlines being forced to provide water and open lavatories if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for more than an hour and passengers being entitled to compensation if a flight is significantly delayed for technical reasons.

The enhanced rights for musicians comes following a stream of complaints over the stance taken by a number of carriers over bringing instruments on board.

Under the revised regulations airlines must accept smaller instruments and clearly state the terms and conditions under which they are put in the hold.

On many occasions musicians have been refused permission to bring instruments on board, even when they are of considerable value.

One passenger complained of being told to consign two violins worth nearly €202,000 into the hold, while another was forced to buy an extra seat for a rare Turkish instrument the size of a guitar and a third prevented from bringing a banjo onto an aircraft.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), welcomed the proposals for EU regulations.

Professional musicians have long been sending us horror stories of broken instruments or refused travel just for trying to do their job.

While we have had success with individual airlines such as easyJet, the proposal for regulations will come as music to the ears of many musicians travelling around the EU.

“If these regulations go ahead, this will be a huge benefit to professional musicians.”

David Millward

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