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Musical Instruments

Traveling with Special Items

You may bring musical instruments as carry-on or as checked baggage.  To help passengers who are traveling with instruments, we partnered with musical organizations around the country to understand the challenges of transporting musical instruments, and we recommend the following.

Check with your airline prior to your flight to ensure your instrument meets the size requirements for their aircraft.

Pack brass instruments in your checked baggage.

Bring your stringed instruments, within carrier size limitations, as carry-on items.

If you have an instrument in your checked baggage, include short written instructions, where a security officer will notice them, for handling and repacking your instrument. Make sure these instructions are very clear and understandable to someone with no musical background.

Carrying Instruments Through Screening Checkpoints

You may carry one (1) musical instrument in addition to 1 carry-on and 1 personal item through the screening checkpoint.  This is a TSA Screening Policy.  Airlines may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their aircraft. Please check with your airline before you arrive at the airport.

Security officers must x-ray or physically screen your instrument before it can be transported on an aircraft.

Security officers will handle musical instruments very carefully and will allow you to be as involved as possible in any physical screening.

If security officers cannot clear the instrument through the security checkpoint as a carry-on item, you should transport the instrument and checked baggage instead.

Instruments As Checked Baggage

You may bring musical instruments as checked baggage as long as they fit within the size and weight limitations of the airline you are taking.

We encourage you to stay with your instrument while security officers screen it to make sure it is repacked properly.  

Owners should be present when an instrument is removed from its case for screening. For this reason, musicians are advised to add at least 30 minutes to the airline's recommended arrival window when checking their instrument.

Latest revision: 24 January 2013