Air Canada Decides to Give Musicians a Break

When you’re a musician, you’re wary of entrusting your precious instrument to baggage handlers.  You might remember the guy who had his guitar destroyed by United.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has taken heat, too.

It’s this second video on which I want to focus. After months of negotiations, the Canadian Federation of Musicians has hammered out a policy whereby musicians will now be able to buy a second seat for their instrument in the cabin rather than stick it in the hold or in the overhead compartment.  Furthermore, that second seat will be available at just half price.  Musicians will also get to board before other passengers so they can get settled and not inconvenience other travelers in the aisles.

A press release came out today from the CFM.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians is applauding enhancements to Air Canada’s policy regarding the transportation of musical instruments on commercial airlines. After extensive meetings over the last year with the airline industry and Transport Canada CFM has lobbied on behalf of musicians for a policy that now allows musicians not only extra time but also more options for storage when traveling with their instruments. The enhancements were made in consultation with the Canadian Federation of Musicians.

“Musicians have long had difficulty transporting the tools of their trade, which are often very expensive and irreplaceable,” says Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. “Over the years, we’ve seen far too many news reports of numerous instruments being broken or destroyed due to air travel. This acknowledgement by Air Canada is welcomed as a first step in ensuring those instruments arrive safely. We hope other airlines will follow suit.”

Under the new policy, musicians traveling with their instruments can now receive a 50% discount on fares when purchases a seat to accommodate their musical instrument and will be invited to pre-board the plane in advance of general boarding to have more time to store their instruments in overhead bins. The full policy can be found at Air Canada’s web site

CFM congratulates Air Canada on this move, and looks to other airlines to follow their lead. CFM remains committed to continued work on behalf of musicians travelling with instruments with the Government of Canada and all Canadian air carriers.

Good. Was that so hard?

Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM))


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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