23 August 2006

Airline Restrictions Terrible For Musicians

This article from the BBC details difficulties faced by musicians travelling with instruments because of the new safety restrictions.

I feel their pain. In the past I've travelled with my Celtic harp, and it's too big even to buy a seat on the plane for, let alone stow under the seat, so I had to check it. No one will insure an instrument in the baggage compartment of an airplane, even if any high-quality instrument were really replaceable. My harp was damaged on two occasions, thankfully only cosmetic and not too hard to repair, but the airlines would not accept responsibility for the cost of repairs--and yes, my instrument was in a $2,000 rigid travelling case. Incidentally, I left one harp at our vacation home in NY and brought the case back empty. The case arrived in California with the top completely smashed in, which would have amounted to a $10,000 loss if my harp had been inside. I'm glad I don't make my livelihood as a performer, because there's no way I'd take my harp on a plane again, and I'm wary of normal shipping companies after having a horrible experience four years ago (which I won't go into now).

If anyone wants to start a courier service for musical instruments, let me know, and I might consider travelling with my instruments again.

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