PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The government should clarify federal rules about bringing musical instruments on to commercial flights as carry-on luggage, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said, after a report of problems encountered by a band flying to Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival.
In a letter sent Friday, the Rhode Island Democrat urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to speed implementation of a 2012 law that requires commercial air carriers to allow musical instruments as carry-on items as long as they can be safely stowed in the aircraft cabin. But Reed said the law has not taken effect because the Department of Transportation has yet to adopt the specific rules needed for the provision.
Reed cited a report in the Providence Journal that members of the band Deer Tick were delayed while traveling from Nashville. The newspaper reported that U.S. Airways refused to allow the band's guitarist, John McCauley, board a connecting flight in Philadelphia with his guitar. The airline later apologized, according to the report, and paid for a train ticket to get McCauley to Rhode Island.
"We have a lot of great musicians come to Rhode Island for our world renowned music festivals, and they shouldn't have to deal with arbitrary and conflicting storage policies from one airline to the next. There should be clear rules of the road," Reed said in a statement.
In his letter to Foxx, Reed cited reports from other musicians that their instruments had been lost or damaged after being placed in baggage holds.