New TSA rules: Play your instrument before boarding

Report from a Facebook friend:

If you happened to be in Terminal 1 at LAX just now and heard Sorcerer’s Apprentice wafting through the air, it was me serenading the TSA agents in hopes that my bassoon wouldn’t be confiscated. They insisted I prove it was a musical instrument. People were videotaping the whole kerfuffle.

Further comment:

This happened to me in Iowa at the aptly-abbreviated SUX airport, only I just had a mouthpiece.


music airport 2

photo: Reuters

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  • There are plenty of reports of this happening in the flute world, too. Security agents at Madrid’s airport have also been known to ask travelers to play their instruments.

    One case in recent memory was someone traveling with an alto flute, which fascinated the agents to no end. Musician in question had to give quite a thorough demonstration. But we suspect it was more for enertainment than security reasons!

  • Before 9/11, I used to travel regularly with my musical saw. I would invariably have to play it at the security check point. Always to very bemused but happy security staff!
    Sadly, I wouldn’t dream of taking it through security these days….

  • I had a similar incident at Berlin Schoenefeld recently, only it was just a conducting baton. Had to conduct an invisible orchestra to prove that I wasn’t carrying a lethal weapon…

  • More evidence to convince people that we need more education in music! TSA people apparently don’t know what a bassoon is…

  • Oh dear lord! I can’ only imagine having to soak the reads to perform for the TSA. And what happens in the event that they require some level of proficiency?

  • Some years back I was travelling with a famous soprano; the immigration officials insisted she prove she was indeed a professional singer – they couldn’t fathom that someone could actually earn a living singing. Eventually, rather than show them yet more paperwork (which didn’t seem much to impress them), and getting more testy by the moment, she let rip with a long top C that could have shattered windows at 50 metres. An entire customs hall fell to a stunned silence. She was swiftly admitted to the country.

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