The petition is supported by the Musicians’ Union (MU) and has asked EU commissioner Siim Kallas to consider the concerns of professional musicians when updating regulation on air passenger rights – a law currently under going review in Brussels.
FIM are seeking the signatures of professional musicians across Europe who often have to face unpredictable and sometimes unfair treatment by airlines when traveling on planes with their instruments.
The MU suggests that not being allowed to go on board with an instrument often means not traveling at all and can therefore result in lost job opportunities.
“It is only by working at a European and international level that we can successfully tackle this issue, and that is why today’s petition from FIM is so important,” said MU general secretary and president of FIM John Smith.
He highlighted the progress being made in the US after Congress agreed to a uniform national policy about taking musical instruments on planes.
“We need to see similar action in Europe,” Mr Smith stressed.
“The problem is that existing law allows each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instruments – which we have seen recently with BA. We need uniformity and fairness across the whole sector.”
Last month, British Airways was criticised by musicians groups for reducing its hand baggage allowance.
It has lowered its limit from 126 centimetres (50 inches) to six centimetres (22 inches), meaning many small instruments cannot be placed in the cabin but must go in the hold where they could be damaged or warped by extreme atmospheric and temperature changes.
BA’s decision was to change their rules on hand luggage without public announcement, surprising many musicians seeking to travel, a move that was drawn particular criticism for the apparent lack of consideration.
Groups like FIM are fighting for a uniform rule throughout the EU to stop individual airlines from setting their own hand luggage limit. They argue that this will allow musicians to travel with confidence knowing that their instrument will fit in an overhead compartment or under their seat wherever to and with in Europe.
Have you ever experienced problems taking instruments or gear abroad?
Is it only airlines that cause problems or have you had any issues with other forms of transport in the past?
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