Hats off to the Incorporated Society of Musicians for getting an Early Day Motion going in parliament (15 signatures in the first few days) encouraging the UK Government to follow the lead of US legislators and bring consistency to airlines’ conditions for transporting musical instruments. And also for keeping the issue on the boil with pieces like THIS, alleging British Airways are marching in the wrong direction, from the Telegraph
The full text of the EDM is as follows.
That this House celebrates the cultural and economic contributions of musicians to society; is concerned that airlines’ regulations regarding the carriage of musical instruments remain inconsistent and can even vary within airlines; recognises the intrinsic and crucial value of musical instruments for musicians; notes that damage to these instruments may be sustained if musicians are required to place them in the hold rather than carry them in the cabin; supports the Incorporated Society of Musicians in its campaign for all airlines to adopt a minimum standard agreement to allow musicians to carry a musical instrument as an additional item of hand baggage on flights, if the item is guitar-sized or smaller; welcomes the success of the Instruments on Planes campaign in negotiating with one airline, which announced on 12 January 2011 a new musician-friendly baggage policy; further notes that the US, which is the UK’s closest competitor for music exports, has already legislated on the issue under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act 2012; and calls on the Government to publish non-binding guidance for airlines on the carriage of music instruments in the cabin of aircraft.
It is very unlikely that even with a lot of signatures a debate can be forced (see background to EDMs), but action like this certainly keeps the issue in the public eye, and makes it harder airlines to justify the kind of tightening up which British Airways are reported to be doing. And harder for ministers to ignore. The ISM has a considerably smaller membership and scale of operation than the Musicians Union, but would appear to have more appetite and more tenacity when it comes to lobbying.
The problem now with Ryanair and Easyjet is that they now charge for hold baggage. The result is that most passengers only take hand baggage so all the overhead lockers are always full. When hold baggage was included in the basic ticket price there was always room in the overhead lockers for a guitar in a hard case.