The ultimate airlines list for musicians: good, bad and dreadful

The International Federation of Musicians has published a new ranking of airlines according to how they treat musicians and their instruments.

Of the dozens of airlines surveyed, only eight are classed green for ‘good’. They include Air Canada and El Al. The green mark signifies that they comply with the current US FAA regulation, accepting musical instruments in the cabin, provided they fit in the overhead compartments or under a seat.

Check before you book, and again before you fly.

Click here for the full list.

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  • Should be mentiond, however, that this list should not be taken as gospel for cellists (when booking an extra seat). Scandinavian Airlines has a red light – it is one of the easiest and cheapest airlines to fly with a cello (very simple to book over the phone, low tax charges and never a problem at the airport). American is awarded a green light – a nightmare to book, expensive and very limited seats (cello has to go in bulkhead seat and if not available you then have to book in a premium cabin for both cello and passenger).

  • American Airlines should not be green but deep red. I was recently bullied to the back of plane with my cello. Before that I was told that eliminating a short leg of my trip by driving would cost $1000 for the change. Change? I wasn’t changing anything. I was eliminating the chance that a delay on the short leg would prevent me from getting my connection and thus missing my critical destination.

  • I can only agree with Messrs. Myerscough and Honigberg. If seeing certain airlines classified as ‘green’ doesn’t cause raised eyebrows, the site’s face value acceptance of airlines’ instrument policies should (because we all know that airlines are always as good as their word when it comes to instruments

  • I booked a flight to JFK last year on Turkish Airlines from Budapest for a cellist. Granted, the cellist and his colleague who accompanied him had to fly east to Istanbul then the long-haul flight to New York, but the amazing thing was that Turkish Airlines charged only 20,0000 Hungarian Forints (about USD$72 !!) for the extra seat adjacent to the cellist for his cello! Despite first flying to Istanbul and the long flight to the U.S., both musicians arrived at JFK happy and with smiles on their faces. They said the trip on Turkish Airlines was very pleasant. (Disclaimer–I have nothing to do with Turkish Airlines, but I’ll always look into that airline when I need to fly a cellist on one of their routes.)

  • Without regard to how reliable the classification is, there are actually 11 airlines on the “green” list, not 8.

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