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MU welcomes European proposals on musical instrument policy standards for airlines

By | Published on Thursday 14 March 2013

Musicians' Union

The Musicians’ Union has welcomed a new proposal being considered by the European Parliament to force certain standards on the airline sector regards the transport of musical instruments.

As previously reported, this is an area the MU has been lobbying on for sometime, with many musicians finding rules regarding taking instruments on flights – which currently vary from airline to airline – confusing and frustrating, and sometimes prohibitively expensive, with additional fees, where they are charged, sometimes only apparent when the musician arrives at the airport.

The confusion often covers both putting instruments in the hold and taking them on board as hand luggage (and for some musicians with instruments of high financial or emotional value, the prospect of having them stored in the hold is not especially attractive).

The MU agreed standards on the issue with the Department Of Transport in 2006 that would apply to flights under the UK jurisdiction, but those guidelines still arguably allow for too more variation between airlines, plus are not so useful when rules vary all over Europe. Since then the US has forced standards onto airlines based there.

The proposals currently being considered by the European Parliament would revise so called Air Passenger Rights so that “the air carriers must accept smaller instruments into the passenger cabin and must clearly indicate the terms and conditions for the transport of larger instruments in the cargo hold”.

Welcoming the latest developments in this domain, MU General Secretary John Smith told CMU: “I am delighted that the European Parliament looks set to adopt this proposal, which will make such a difference to working musicians.

He added: “The MU has been lobbying on this issue for years and actually reached an agreement with the Department for Transport in 2006, but we have long been saying that it is only by working at a European and international level that we can successfully tackle this issue, as the problem is much broader than just UK airlines. The problem has always been that existing law allows each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instrument, and this proposal would bring much needed uniformity and fairness to the whole sector”.



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