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Government say no new rules regarding instruments on planes

By | Published on Thursday 13 January 2011

Houses Of Parliament

Airlines will not be forced to allow musicians to carry large instruments onto planes with them, a government minister confirmed yesterday.

John Attlee, one of the government’s whips in the House Of Lords, was responding to an Early Day Motion signed by 28 MPs urging the government to introduce new rules to make it easier for musicians wishing to take their instruments onto a plane, rather than having them placed in the hold, where it’s not uncommon for priceless instruments to be damaged.

Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones, supporting the motion, said: “There are terrible cases where valuable and cherished instruments are smashed in the holds of aircraft as result of musicians not being able to take them on board with them”.

But Attlee said that while he sympathised with musicians needing to transport valuable instruments with them when they travel by air, that he didn’t believe legislation was the solution. He reckoned that there was a commercial incentive to airlines to treat musicians well, and that those with a reputation for not doing so would lose custom as a result.

But not everyone in parliament supports the ‘leave it to the market’ approach, partly because some musicians can only afford budget airline travel, and said airlines probably don’t care if they lose a few customers because of a bad rep in the music community. According to the BBC, Labour Lord Bryan Davies remarked: “Leaving it to the industry seems a somewhat forlorn hope… If the government at least indicated that it was prepared to take some action in this area, it would be at least a stimulus to the industry.”