Senator Jack Reed: We Need Carry-On Rules for Instruments

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Last month, John McCauley of the band Deer Tick was preparing to fly to the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island when he was told by the airline, US Airways, that he'd have to check his guitar. Knowing what can happen to instruments that get checked on planes, he wound up taking a train to Rhode Island instead. U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) heard about the incident and decided to get involved.

Reed wrote to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, calling on his department to finalize and enact a 2012 law that stated that passengers can take instruments on planes as long as they can be safely stowed.

In this exclusive interview with WQXR, Reed says that without clear regulations, airlines will operate in a gray area and musicians will face more troubles. "We want the rules spelled out so a musician or anyone bringing an instrument will know exactly what his or her rights are when they board the aircraft," he said. Reed also says:

  • Why he believes the law hasn't been finalized yet.
  • What musicians flying with carry-on instruments can do in the meantime.
  • What kinds of practical measures he hopes will be covered by the legislation.
Jack Reed (D), Senator from Rhode Island
Jack Reed (D), Senator from Rhode Island