Carrying musical instruments on planes FIM recommendations about the EU Commission's proposal for a revision of Regulation 2027/97/EC I. Background On March 14th, 2013, the European Commission published a proposal to revise regulations 261/2004/EC1 and 2027/97/EC2 dealing with airline passengers' rights. The proposal addresses, for the first time, the specific issue of artists travelling on planes with musical instruments, which represents a huge step forward for professional musicians. In a nutshell, it “compels air carriers to accept small instruments inside the passenger cabin, subject to certain conditions, and to clarify their rules with regard to the carriage of larger instruments in the cargo compartment3”. The insertion of a new article 6e in regulation 2027/97/EC (article 2, par. 4 of the EC proposal) is the result of FIM’s proactive lobbying towards the European Commission, with the support of Georges Bach MEP. FIM’s campaign has also benefitted from the support of famous artists Katie Melua (UK) and Janne Shaffer (Sweden). A petition addressed to the DG MOVE has gathered more than 43,000 signatures. Article 6e aims to provide musicians with minimum predictability as regards the conditions under which musical instruments may be carried in the cabin as hand luggage. According to this article, airlines may only oppose the carrying of musical instruments in the cabin on safety grounds (Art.6e, par. 1), subject to the technical specifications of the aircraft. The EC proposal is now being examined by the European Parliament and the European Council. During this phase, it is very important that you contact your government as well as your representatives at the EU Parliament in order to make sure that the final version of the text reaches our objectives. II. Suggested amendments to the EC proposal Although this proposal represents a first, important success, we believe that some limited amendments are necessary. We will focus on the most important issues, so as to maximise our chances to be heard. In particular, we do not think that a detailed definition of a “small instrument” is necessary. Our understanding is that any instrument that can be safely stowed under a seat or in a baggage compartment shall be allowed in the cabin. That includes instruments of all kinds and shapes. 1. Transparency (Art.6e, para. 1, last sentence) The main shortcoming of the text comes from the right of the airline to limit the hand luggage allowance. "An air carrier may determine that a musical instrument shall form part of a passenger's hand luggage allowance and not be carried in addition to that allowance." Some airlines may be extremely strict about the number of pieces of hand luggage allowed on board. If one single piece is allowed, even a small handbag may count as luggage. In such a case, the airline may decide that a violin may not be carried on board in addition to this handbag – which generally won't fit in the violin case. We propose to amend the text as follows: "When the passengers' hand luggage allowance includes more than one piece, the air carrier may determine that a musical instrument shall form part of such allowance and not be carried in addition to it."
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91
Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 of the Council of 9 October 1997 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 May 2002
Explanatory memorandum, 3.3.3, para.4
2. Purchase of an additional seat (Art.6e, para. 2) In case an additional seat must be purchased (for a cell, for instance), the ticket should be exempted from the payment of taxes (at least airport taxes), provided it is compatible with the subsidiarity principle (amendment in bold). “Where a musical instrument is too large to be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment within the cabin or under an appropriate passenger seat, an air carrier may request the payment of a second fare where such musical instruments are carried as hand luggage on a second seat. Such additional fare shall not be subject to the payment of (airport) taxes. Where a second seat is purchased an air carrier should make reasonable efforts to seat the passenger and the musical instrument concerned together.” 3. Instruments travelling in the cargo hold (Art.6e, para. 2) The proposal provides that large instruments shall be carried (where available) “in a heated part of an aircraft cargo hold”. We believe that instrument cases should also be tagged in a visible manner, in order to clearly inform the ground staff that they should be handled with appropriate care (amendment in bold). "[…] Where available and if requested, musical instruments shall be carried in a heated part of an aircraft cargo hold subject to applicable safety rules, space constraints and the technical specifications of the aircraft concerned. The air carrier shall mark such instruments with specific tags in order to ensure that they will be handled with adequate care. An air carrier shall clearly indicate in its terms and conditions the basis on upon which musical instruments will be transported and the applicable charges." 4. Musical instruments as professional tools (whereas (29)) Whereas (29) p. 14 could be complemented with a reference to musical instruments as professional tools, without which professional musicians – whose career depends on mobility to a large extent – are not able to work (amendment in bold). “(29) Professional musicians can't work without their own, personal musical instrument, which can be of a high monetary and artistic value. They are also subject to a constant obligation of mobility. Musical instruments should therefore, as far as possible, be accepted as baggage within the passenger cabin and, where this is not possible, should where possible be carried under the appropriate conditions in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 should be amended accordingly.”