June 28, 2022
Attention Musicians: American Airlines Eliminates Oversized Baggage Fees For Musical Instruments

Sadly, touring is becoming the breadwinning revenue source in the streaming era, meaning that musicians are forced to weather the unfriendly skies — often with disastrous results.  In that context, this is one positive development if you’re willing to check in your instrument.

American has an updated policy on oversized baggage.  Effective immediately, American is waiving all oversized baggage fees for music and sports equipment.  “Based on feedback from our customers and American team members, American is eliminating the charge for common oversize sports and music equipment — up to the maximum size we accept for these items,” American stated.

Passengers will still be charged for oversized bags, though only at the standard baggage rate.  American said its other oversized baggage rules still apply, including limitations on the absolute size of the luggage.  That probably excludes the largest instruments, including timpani, large tubas, and drum kits.

American said a typical scenario might look like this: a previous $150 oversized baggage charge would be automatically knocked down to the airline’s $30 standard baggage fee.

But expect lots of special exceptions and haggling for the oddly-shaped instrument.  American didn’t address mega-instruments like sousaphones, for example, though they did address some bizarrely-odd items that wouldn’t qualify.  That includes items like antlers and hang gliders, which apparently get transported on occasion.  “Due to special handling requirements, oversize items such as antlers, hang gliders, scuba tanks and kite/windsurfing items will continue to incur a flat $150 fee,” the airline warned.

Here’s the full announcement if you’d like to read in full.

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