Flying with a double bass simplified? FAA Modernization & Reform act
(apologies in advance if this duplicates another thread)
Wondering if anyone has anyone experience with whether airlines have begun submitting to the requirements of this new law.
Looks like it could minimize bass-travel hassle, but costs probably won't be friendly. Language below is from the ISB site.
Key item: Airlines must accept a case if "linear dimensions of the trunk (length, width and height) do not exceed 150 inches and the weight does not exceed 165 pounds." Key snag: Only applies to US travel at the moment.
This language is from the ISB site. http://www.isbworldoffice.com/flying-with-your-bass.asp
"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."
I've talked to a couple of well-known bassists who weren't aware of this legislation.
Are most working bassists aware of it?
I think there are a lot of "working bassists" who avoid air travel with their instrument like the plague. I know I sure do. Anyone that I know who flies with a bass frequently has an instrument with a removable neck or a Chadwick. Granted most of these players are classically trained but playing in other idioms like jazz, singer songwriter, roots, etc. they are much happier having a serviceable instrument that they are familiar with on the road than their nicer carved instruments that typically stay at home.
Likewise, we have all heard and seen what can happen to instruments that were properly packed, payed for and accepted by the airlines when customs and the TSA get their hands on them. I am sure there are plenty of guys that have had uneventful experiences, and I definitely think that the legislation is a step in the right direction, but it still doesn't make me comfortable enough to fly with my bass.
For those guys that do it on a regular basis, kudos. I have the utmost respect for the cost, hassle, and anxiety that goes along with flying with a bass. I just don't plan on being one of you anytime soon.
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