EU instrumental in changing rules for musicians on planes

Musicians will be able to take their precious instruments on board planes with them if new European rules are passed later this year.

The revised Air Passengers Rights would mean that air carriers must accept small instruments as hand baggage and must be clear about their rules for larger instruments.photo_2.JPG

SNP MEP Alyn Smith is backing the Musicians’ Union's campaign for fairer treatment of musicians travelling on planes and took time out to visit Scayles music shop in Edinburgh to discuss the issues with local musicians.

Smith said:

“Airlines can set their own rules about musical instruments just now and musicians often don't know those rules in advance.  That can cause problems and worry for the musicians because their instruments can be fragile and are often very expensive.

“Musicians should be encouraged to travel, exchange music, experiences and their talent - it helps them develop and become better artistes.  I will be doing everything I can to make sure that this change happens and benefits professional and amateur musicians alike.

“The small print has still to be cleared up but getting proper protection for instruments in the cabin or in the hold will soon be expected as standard with proposals strengthening passenger rights due to come into force in early 2015."

The change comes after a campaign by musicians and the Musician's Union to establish new rules.

John Smith, MU General Secretary and FIM President, said:

“I am delighted that the European Parliament looks set to adopt this proposal, which will make such a difference to working musicians.

“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.”