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News from the International Federation of Musicians

Fair treatment for musicians traveling on planes with their instruments

1. Without their own instruments, musicians are unable to perform and properly execute their jobs. Musicians have a very special relationship with their instrument(s). Without their own instruments – the tools of their trade on which they rehearse and perform – musicians are unable to execute their profession. Except in very rare and specific cases, substituting instruments upon arrival at a new destination is simply not an option.

2. Many instruments, even when put in appropriate travel cases (flight-cases), cannot be left in the cargo part of the plane without being subject to a high risk of unrecoverable damage. It is common knowledge that violins and similar instruments can be of immense monetary value. But this is not the sole reason for which they need special care. A musician may spend months or years before he / she finds the adequate instrument. Several hours of daily practice make the relationship between the performer and his / her instrument a symbiotic one.

3. Restrictions applying to the carrying of instruments on planes have become a serious hindrance to the mobility of artists, either because it is impossible to take the instrument on board or because the additional price to pay makes the travel too expensive to be covered by the performer's revenues or small art businesses.

4. There is no industry-wide policy. One of the main problems confronting musicians who travel with their instruments is that there is no consistent policy across the EU applicable to airlines to rely upon. When an individual airline does have a policy, it is often applied inconsistently, which results in great uncertainty as to whether instruments may be carried on board and under which conditions.

5. The update of Regulation (EC) no. 261/2004 on air passenger rights is the appropriate framework for the inclusion of provisions that take proper account of the problems encountered by musicians travelling on planes for professional purposes. The United States’ FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act - SEC. 403 § 41724, adopted by the US Congress on 6 February 2012, gives an example of what could be done at European level.

sign the petition here.

Find more information on the website: www.fim-musicians.org

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