Federal law backs musicians with instruments on planes

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Posted at 9:51 PM, Oct 14, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Most of us have an airline checked bag horror story from one time or another, but maybe not one involving a guitar that belonged to a Grammy-winning country legend.

The son of the singer John Prine posted to Twitter, saying American Airlines broke a guitar his late father left for him in Ireland after the airline forced him to check the guitar at the gate.

Believe it or not, there's actually a federal law concerning this kind of thing. It's on the books — in part — due to the efforts of the Nashville Musician Association's Dave Pomeroy.

"We had to push and push for that and we had to have a sit down with the FAA and the heads of the airlines until we came to an agreement," Pomeroy said.

The federal law and FAA rule says airlines must allow people to carry on instruments and put them in overhead bins if there's enough bin space for them when they board the plane.

For Nashville musicians, Pomeroy says because of that, he suggests getting on the plane as soon as you can.

But if that doesn't work, Pomeroy says a little kindness may be the best policy, to see what the crew can do.

Because Prine's son was flying from Ireland, there's a question of whether that federal law would be in effect.

American Airlines says they've reached out to Prine to understand what occurred with the instrument, they say they're working with him directly.

Here is more information from Nashville Musicians Association about traveling with instruments.