Musicians Flying in Canada with their Instruments – Major Canadian Airlines Regulations

Information from Major Canadian Airlines

Air Canada

Musical Instruments

Travelling with a musical instrument? You’ll want to find out how to best package and transport your precious cargo.

Packing Instructions

  • When a stringed instrument is transported by air, it may be exposed to dramatic changes in temperature and pressure, which can cause its headstocks to crack or snap off. To prevent possible damage, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the strings are loosened so that the tension is reduced.
  • Musical instruments should always be properly packed in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.

Musical instruments as carry-on baggage

You may bring your musical instrument on board as part of your carry-on baggage provided it meets the current Air Canada carry-on size requirements and:

  • the instrument fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, or
  • you purchase a seat to accommodate it.

Purchasing a Seat for your Musical Instrument

If you wish to purchase a seat for your musical instrument, you will receive a 50% discount on any published fare (including the lowest available fare) to accommodate the instrument in the same cabin you are travelling in.

Exception: If you are seated in Air Canada Signature Class offering Executive or Classic pods, your musical instrument will, for safety reasons, be placed in Premium Economy or Economy Class.
Also a few reminders:

  • For safety reasons, extra seats may be purchased for musical instruments not exceeding 162.5 cm (64 in.) in height/length or 36 kg (80 lb.) in weight.
  • The number of musical instruments that can be accommodated on each flight is limited.

To purchase a seat, or for more information, contact Air Canada Reservations as soon as you’ve booked your flight, or at least 48 hours prior to departure.

Baggage Allowance

A musical instrument you take on board will count as part of your carry-on baggage allowance, as either a personal or standard article (depending on the size and dimensions of the instrument).

Advance Boarding

At the airport, customers travelling with a musical instrument are invited to board the plane in advance of general boarding, between zones 2 and 3 (if you qualify for priority boarding, you may board with zones 1 or 2).

Please identify yourself to the gate agents immediately when pre-boarding is called after zone 2; this will help in:

  • Finding space on board the aircraft to store your musical instrument
  • Securing your musical instrument into its seat if you purchased one for it.

If you arrive after pre-boarding, we will do our best to find space in the cabin for your instrument, but unfortunately cannot always guarantee it.

Accommodating your Musical Instrument On Board

Because of passenger loads, aircraft limitations and/or storage space available, we cannot guarantee that a musical instrument can be accommodated on board.

It may need to be checked at the gate and transported as checked baggage if the airport agent or cabin crew determines that it cannot be safely stowed in the cabin. For this reason, musical instruments should always be properly packaged in a rigid and/or hard-shell container specifically designed for shipping such items. Musical instruments checked at the gate must also be retrieved at the gate upon arrival at your destination.

Exception: String instruments (e.g. guitars, violins and violas) can be carried on board – even if their dimensions slightly exceed Air Canada’s carry-on size requirements – as long as they fit in the overhead bin and there is space available in the cabin at time of boarding, or you have purchased a seat to accommodate them.

Musical instruments as checked baggage

  • If checked in separately, a musical instrument counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type.
  • If your baggage count (musical instrument + number of other bags to be checked) exceeds the maximum number of items allowed by your fare type, additional checked baggage charges will apply.
  • Musical instruments should always be properly packed in a rigid and/or hard-shell container specifically designed for shipping such items.

Air Canada Cargo:

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