Two airlines welcome large instruments on board

Two airlines welcome large instruments on board


norman lebrecht

August 01, 2016

The Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair have relaxed their rules on musical instruments in response to complaints from the local Sinfonietta.

The changes were announced with some fanfare in an article in the South China Morning Post. Text follows.

hong kong strings

Change in tune: Cathay Pacific and Dragonair relax carry-on baggage policy for musical instruments

New maximum size dimensions 93 by 39 by 24cm meant to address criticism from Hong Kong Sinfonietta and others

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 12:09pm

UPDATED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 10:49pm


18 Jul 2016

Passengers are now able to carry larger musical instruments such as clarinets, erhus and violins on board as Cathay Pacific Airways and its subsidiary airline Dragonair relaxed their baggage policy.

The move came amid criticism from musicians that the airlines’ policy on musical instruments had been too rigid and deterred many high-profile musicians from flying with the carriers.

Under the new policy now in effect, the maximum dimensions for musical instruments considered as carry-on baggage is 93 by 39 by 24cm – almost three times larger than the previous dimension limit, according to a press release released by Cathay Pacific on Sunday.

Passengers may bring musical instruments such as clarinets, erhus, flutes, violas, trombones and violins into the cabin if the items are stored in a hard-bound case.

Previously, passengers were only allowed to bring “small musical instruments such as flutes or violins” measuring no greater than 78 by 25 by 15cm.

Many violinists were often forced to check in their instruments by the airline’s ground crew, who determined the instruments failed to meet the size requirements.

Hong Kong Sinfonietta had decided not to fly with the two airlines for its overseas performances after a dispute over a trombone in April in which ground crew insisted the instrument be checked in rather than carried as hand luggage.

Orchestra spokeswoman Amanda Mok said some instruments were extremely precious and could be irreparably damaged if they were kept with other luggage in the hold.

The Post earlier reported that Cathay Pacific was considering revising its baggage policy on musical instruments following a lunch in May between Hong Kong Bar Association chairwoman Winnie Tam Wan-chi and the airline’s senior management. During the lunch, Tam complained that her daughter could not bring her violin aboard on a trip to Beijing and urged the airline to relax its policy.

hong kong strings