Polyphonic.org has an informative new post from Eric Beers, a member of the Symphonic Services Division of the American Federation of Musicians. Flying with the bass (or any musical instrument) has grown increasingly more difficult with each year after 9/11. In 1997 and 1998 I flew about seven or eight times a year with my instrument. Sometimes I had to pay an excess baggage fee, but I never had to open it up.
The first time I ever had to open up my bass trunk was in the summer of 2000 in Japan. I remember being incredibly annoyed at airline worker poking around my expensive bass, although the workers in the Tokyo airport were very careful with it. I haven’t flown for many years (on purpose) with my bass, but I would assume that opening up the case is becoming more common.
This sort of business is starting to affect other musicians as well now:
The post 9/11 world has brought about many changes in air travel. Such changes were to be expected; however, with these modifications have come conditions that are sometimes unpredictable, inconsistent, and often quite frustrating. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has worked with the appropriate entities to improve conditions for all musicians when traveling with their instruments.
The initial problems musicians encountered were with security personnel who routinely denied passengers with instruments access through security checkpoints. Meetings between the AFM and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) produced a policy change that virtually eliminated these problems. Unfortunately, individual airlines are not subject to TSA policy, and problems continue with airline personnel.
Read the complete post here.