The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R.658) was signed into law by the President on February 14, 2012. Thanks to some very hard work by the American Federation of Musicians, a national instrument policy was included in H.R.658, which goes into effect upon issuance of FAA regulations to carry out the law. This must occur no later than February, 2014. Meanwhile, you may continue to face difficulties at the airport until the new procedures are fully rolled out and adopted by the airlines. Flight attendants, gate attendants, and baggage handlers may not yet be aware of the new law and often don’t know the airline’s own policy for traveling with musical instruments. Click here to download a copy of the national instrument policy. Please print it out and put a copy in your bass trunk. H.R.658 allows for musical instruments as checked baggage if the linear dimensions of the trunk (length, width and height) do not exceed 150 inches and the weight does not exceed 165 pounds.

H.R.658 does not apply to flights outside the U.S., but there is a movement led by the International Federation of Musicians for adoption of a uniform worldwide policy for air travel with musical instruments.

To learn more about individual airlines’ policies for musical instruments as checked luggage, use your search engine and look up “[NAME OF AIRLINE] Contract of Carriage.”