Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Traveling Musician » Travel Advice From the AFM for Musicians Flying with Instruments

Travel Advice From the AFM for Musicians Flying with Instruments


Making your Reservation

Ask for priority boarding. Request (or purchase) “zone 1” boarding, which will allow you early access to overhead stowage.

Inform carrier representative(s) that you are transporting a musical instrument. Carriers are required to inform passengers about any plane limitations and restrictions.

Rules relating to on-board stowage will apply to any instrument that meets FAA carry-on size requirements.

Packing & Carrying Your Instrument

Remove any sharp tools, like reed knives and end pins, and liquids that do not comply with TSA’s three-ounce regulation.

In case your instrument is not allowed in the cabin with you, be sure to have a proper travel case to avoid damage.

Board early: Overhead and under seat stowage is on a first come, first serve basis. Once an instrument is stowed in-cabin, it cannot be removed or be replaced by other bags.

Deal Calmly with Problems

If you are stopped by a flight attendant, calmly and quickly explain the precautions you have taken to prepare your instrument to safely travel in-cabin.

  • Be accommodating. Suggest placing the instrument in the storage area designated by gate and flight attendants.
  • If necessary, immediately ask to de-plane so that you can resolve this matter with airline supervisors.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to travel with your instrument in the cabin.

Study and follow guidance outlined in federal and air carrier online policy statements.

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