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Security Officials Take Musicians Into Consideration

In the post-Sept. 11 world, any bulky carry-on luggage inspires understandable suspicion. But musicians need to keep their instruments close to guard against damage and to ensure instruments arrive at gigs at the same time they do. For a while, it seemed like Senate Bill S 1447, the Aviation Security Act, would require you to either ship that Selmer or simply leave it at home. But thanks to the last-minute intervention of the American Federation of Musicians (affiliated with the AFL-CIO) and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), musicians will be able to carry their instruments with them. Aviation security, thanks to other precautions, will not suffer for it.

AFM president Tom Lee put the dilemma thusly: “Certainly these horrific crimes underscore our nation’s need for the most stringent airline security possible – we absolutely support our government’s efforts to keep our airlines safe. However, many artists who rely on expensive [or] irreplaceable musical instruments fear that new changes in carry-on regulations could put these tools, as well as their careers, at risk.” After a consultation with AFM Local 677 and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Inoue was persuaded to enter a statement in the Congressional Record acknowledging the special needs of musicians.

The bill was eventually changed to drop the provision in question. Musicians’ carried-on instruments will still, of course, be subject to X-raying, searching and other such precautions, which it is hoped will effectively separate those attempting to make music from those attempting to break the law.

Originally Published