The following info landed in my inbox from the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA). Though this wouldn’t help bassists especially, it would at least be a step in the right direction:
Dear ROPA Delegates,
(PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS)
I just concluded a conference call with Hal Ponder, Director of Government Relations for the AFM.
Hal has been working to introduce the most beneficial legislative language to Congress that will allow
musicians to take their instruments during air travel as carry on luggage. It is expected that this bill will be introduced
very quickly during this session and that we must be prepared for a challenge with the new House Leadership. Hal has requested AFM musicians to send stories of the issues they have encountered when they have taken their instruments on the plane as carry-on luggage.
Here is a note from Hal:
“AFM was successful in getting language in last year’s Senate FAA (Federal
Aviation Administration) reauthorization bill, S. 1451, which would have
permitted any small instrument to go on board that could fit in the overhead
bin. However, Congress did not pass the bill and it must be re-introduced
this year. In order to gain support in Congress for this legislation, we
need to show them that musicians have problems every day with the airlines.
So the more complaints you can send me, the more effective I can be. Please
forward your complaints to me (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Laura Brigandi
(email@example.com ). In order to be relevant, the complaint should be
about an occurrence within the last year.”
Please take time to contribute your stories to this cause as we believe these efforts could assure that musicians will not be faced with checking their small instruments under the plane in the future.