I’ve Got Good News And Bad News About Flying With Instruments

First, the good news: Air Canada recently announced a new program that provides musicians with discounted fares for purchasing an extra seat for an instrument along with advance boarding in order to facilitate finding room in the overhead for carry-on size instrument cases.

AirlinesThe details are available at the AirCanda.com website but here are the highlights:

  • Advance Boarding: At the airport, you will be invited to board the plane in advance of general boarding, between zones 2 and 3, so that you may have a little more time to store your musical instrument in an overhead bin close to your seat. Or you may board with zones 1 or 2 if you qualify for Priority Boarding.
  • Purchasing a Seat: If you wish to purchase a seat for your musical instrument, you will receive a 50% discount on any published fare (including the lowest available fare) to accommodate the instrument in the same cabin you are travelling in.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are plenty of provisos and guidelines plus AirCanada is not guaranteeing musical instruments can be accommodated on every flight but it’s a good start.

Now the bad news: according to a report in the 9/28/2015 edition of Violinist.com, USAirways insisted that violinist Rachel Barton Pine gate check her 1742 Guarneri del Gesú violin.

That didn’t happen.

Pine spent the evening, along with her husband and four-year-old daughter concourse camping until the next available flight the following morning.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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