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 www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Articles » Traveling by Air? Know the Rules and Your Rights
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Traveling by Air? Know the Rules and Your Rights

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After years of negotiating and lobbying, the AFM saw the implementation of standard rules regarding musical instruments as carry-on and checked baggage. As of March 2015, musicians are allowed to bring certain musical instruments in-cabin on US carriers. Here are some airline travel tips for musicians.

Your Reservation

Tell the airline that you will be transporting a musical instrument. Air carriers are required to adequately inform passengers about limitations and restrictions to travel with instruments.

Book priority seating, requesting or purchasing early boarding.

On-board stowage rules  apply to any instruments that meet FAA carry-on size requirements.

Packing Your Gear

Remove any sharp tools and all liquids that do not comply with TSA’s three-ounce regulation.

Have a proper travel case, in the event that your instrument is not allowed in the cabin.

Board early. Overhead stowage is on a first come, first served basis.

Once an instrument is stowed in-cabin it cannot be removed or 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.

Do not block the way of other boarding passengers.

If necessary, ask to deplane so that you can resolve the matter with airline supervisors. Remember, you have approximately 15 minutes before the plane backs away from the gate.

Be prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to travel with your instrument in the cabin. It is important to have a backup plan.

Bring Along Links to Helpful Resources

Keep a link to the Department of Transportation Traveling with a Musical Instrument web link (www.dot.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-musical-instruments).

The AFM has developed comprehensive manuals: A Guide to Traveling with Musical Instruments (34-page guidebook) and A Guide to Flying with Musical Instruments (eight-page pocket guide). To find these resources, log into afm.org and go to “Document Library” and open the “Legislative Office” folder.

For a more in-depth story on the AFM’s efforts to ease air travel for musicians please visit: internationalmusician.org/musical-instrument-airline-carriage-rule/







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