The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) has ranked 114 international airlines according to their accessibility for musicians. Airlines were ranked as either green, amber or red.
Green airlines comply with the US FAA regulation on instruments, and allow instruments in the cabin – provided they fit in a locker or under a seat (there are no specific size limitations). Only nine airlines were ranked as green, with Delta and Southwest – the world’s two largest airlines – among them.
However, FIM points out that ‘irrespective of the airline’s applicable policy, an instrument may only be accepted in the cabin if there is enough space available at the time of boarding.’ It advises musicians to ‘be first in line if you want to maximise your chances to keep your instrument with you’.
Amber airlines do not comply fully with the US FAA regulation, but do offer some consideration for musical instruments. There were 33 amber airlines in total, including British Airways, Iberia and US Airways.
That leaves 72 Red airlines, which apply the same standards to musical instruments as they do to regular cabin luggage. China Airlines, the world’s third largest airline, was ranked as red, as were low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Air Asia.