Delta Boycott Lifted

Membership Alert

Volume CVII, No. 6June, 2007


Last winter, Allegro asked members about their experiences carrying on instruments. Responses were published in December as part of the “Beat on the Street” question of the month. Click here to read what members had to say.

Will musicians be able to carry their instruments on Delta flights now? The AFM and Local 802 hope so, based on the airline’s promise that things will be better. As a result, the union ended the Delta boycott at the end of April.

Delta decided to allow “smaller musical instruments” such as violins and guitars on board all flights.

The AFM immediately urged all other airlines to implement formal policies that allow musical instruments to be carried on board.

Restrictions on carry-on items were tightened following 9/11. In response, the AFM lobbied Congress and the administration, seeking support for carry-on rules that reflected the value of musical instruments and the importance of allowing them on board.

The AFM’s efforts were successful in winning a formal statement from the Transportation Security Administration allowing passengers to carry one musical instrument through security screening checkpoints in addition to the standard allotment of one carry-on and one personal item.

However, many musicians found that the letter from the TSA was not enough to convince gate agents to let them carry on their instruments. Each airline may set its own carry-on policies, and Delta had been the most restrictive.

But now, Delta’s new policy reads: “Guitars and other smaller musical instruments, such as violins, will be accepted as your free carry-on baggage on Delta operated flights. These items must easily fit in the overhead compartment or approved stowage location in the cabin, on a space available basis at the time of boarding. If adequate space is not available, the item must be checked.”

A footnote specifies that “Delta Connection carriers and codeshare partner baggage policies may differ. Not valid for travel to and from the United Kingdom.”

Delta’s policy can be read on their web site here.


Musicians who still encounter problems on Delta or any other airlines should contact Local 802’s political director at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176. Members can also write a letter to Allegro to get your story out. Letters must be 300 words or less. Send them to Allegro, c/o Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at