[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 2 (Monday, January 5, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 161-166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30836]



Office of the Secretary

14 CFR Part 251

[Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0231]
RIN 2105-AE37

Carriage of Musical Instruments

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary (OST), Department of Transportation 

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to 
implement section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 
regarding the carriage of musical instruments as carry-on baggage or 
checked baggage on commercial passenger flights operated by air 
carriers. This rule responds to difficulties musicians have encountered 
when transporting their instruments during air travel.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective March 6, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Clereece Kroha or Blane A. Workie, 
Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and 
Proceedings, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. 
SE., Washington, DC 20590, 202-366-9342 (phone), 202-366-7152 (fax), 
[email protected] or [email protected] (email).



    On February 14, 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 
(the Act) was signed into law. Section 403 of the Act requires U.S. air 
carriers to accept musical instruments on their passenger flights 
either as carry-on baggage or checked baggage, provided that certain 
conditions are met. The passage of Section 403 is Congress' response to 
difficulties musicians have encountered when transporting their 
instruments during air travel. The statute directs the Department of 
Transportation (Department or DOT) to issue a final rule to implement 
the requirements set forth in section 403.
    During the past year, the Department has been engaged in dialogue 
with musicians as well as representatives of airlines and industry 
associations to address the difficulties musicians face when traveling 
by air with musical instruments. In July 2014, DOT Secretary Anthony 
Foxx hosted a ``Flying with Musical Instruments'' meeting to provide 
airline representatives, musicians, and government officials an 
opportunity to exchange ideas on ways to prevent or resolve 
difficulties encountered by musicians when flying with their 
instruments while still ensuring the safety of passengers and crew. At 
the meeting, several members of various musician organizations 
described problems that musicians encounter when traveling by air with 
their musical instruments, particularly when bringing instruments as 
carry-on baggage. Airline representatives in attendance described their 
policies for transport of musical instruments as carry-on or checked 
baggage. Many airlines have already adopted policies concerning the air 
transportation of musical instruments that mirror the requirements in 
Section 403 of the Act. The stakeholders recognized that, while most 
airlines' current policies regarding musical instruments are consistent 
with the statute, frontline customer service agents and flight crew may 
not always be well-versed in those policies and may not communicate 
those policies accurately and effectively to musicians. By the same 
token, the meeting attendees also agreed that many musicians were not 
very well informed about airline policies regarding transporting 
musical instruments or about the measures they can take to

[[Page 162]]

better prepare themselves to ensure that the transport goes smoothly.
    Since then, the stakeholders have voluntarily taken certain steps 
to better understand the extent of the problem and prevent or minimize 
confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage. The American 
Federation of Musicians (AFM) has shared with the airline industry a 
survey it conducted among its members that identified problematic areas 
when traveling by air with instruments. Airlines for America (A4A), the 
trade organization for major U.S. airlines, established a page on its 
Web site that provides a summary of member airlines' baggage policy 
regarding musical instruments and links to each individual carrier's 
Web page for that information. The Department has created a Web page 
providing useful tips and information for consumers on how to prepare 
for air travel with musical instruments. The Department also convened a 
follow-up meeting in September 2014, and may conduct additional such 
meetings to further explore problems facing musicians when traveling by 
air that are not specifically addressed by the statute. This 
cooperation between musician organizations and airline representatives 
as a parallel approach to the Department's rulemaking may achieve the 
optimal result of ensuring the safe transport of musical instruments by 
air and increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Provisions of the Final Rule

Covered Entities and Flights

    Section 403 of the Act covers ``[a]n air carrier providing air 
transportation.'' According to the definition in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(2), 
``air carrier'' means a citizen of the United States undertaking by any 
means, directly or indirectly, to provide air transportation. 49 U.S.C. 
40102(a)(5) provides that ``air transportation'' includes foreign air 
transportation or interstate air transportation. Those terms in turn 
are defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a) to mean the transportation of 
passengers or property by aircraft as a common carrier for 
compensation. Thus, this final rule implementing Section 403 covers all 
U.S. certificated and commuter carriers, as well as air taxis operating 
under exemption authority, that provide air transportation to the 
public directly, regardless of the size of the aircraft they operate, 
and all indirect carriers such as public charter operators. It covers 
the scheduled and charter flights operated by these carriers in 
domestic or international air transportation. This final rule covers 
public charter operators only to the extent the public charter operator 
at issue handles checked and carry-on baggage acceptance for the 
flight. In this situation, if the carriage of a musical instrument is 
consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved 
carry-on baggage or checked baggage program of the direct air carrier 
operating a public charter flight and there is room for the instrument 
at the time the passenger in question attempts to board, the public 
charter operator must accept the instrument as carry-on or checked 
baggage as appropriate.

Transport of Small Instruments as Carry-On Baggage

    This rule requires that carriers must allow a passenger to carry 
into the cabin and stow a small musical instrument, such a violin or a 
guitar, in a suitable baggage compartment, such as the overhead bin or 
under the seats in accordance with FAA safety regulations. The FAA 
regulations require each carrier holding a Part 121 or Part 135 
operating certificate to ensure that carry-on baggage is carried on 
board in accordance with an FAA-approved carry-on baggage program. See 
14 CFR 121.285, 121.589, and 135.87. Further, in Advisory Circular (AC) 
121-29B, FAA provides 11 categories of information that a carrier's 
carry-on baggage program must address, including a description of 
procedures a carrier will follow for stowage of ``unusual or fragile 
items'' (See AC 121-29B Section 4(e)(3)). Although not specifically 
referring to musical instruments, we believe this section is applicable 
to the transport of musical instruments as they tend to fall into the 
category of ``unusual or fragile items'' due to their size, shape, and 
nature. Section 4(e)(3) provides that if the crew cannot check or stow 
an unusual or fragile item in a manner that ensures the safety of the 
aircraft and its occupants, the passenger will have to ship that item 
by some other means. In complying with this final rule and accepting a 
passenger's musical instrument as carry-on baggage for stowage in an 
approved compartment or other specifically approved area in the cabin 
(e.g., the overhead bin or under seats), we expect carriers to continue 
to follow their FAA-approved carry-on baggage programs to ensure the 
safety of the flight and the passengers and crew onboard. In addition, 
carriers should adequately inform passengers and the public about the 
limitations and restrictions imposed by these programs.
    Section 403 of the Act and this final rule provide that carriers 
are required to allow passengers to stow their musical instruments in 
an approved stowage area in the cabin only if at the time the passenger 
boards the aircraft such stowage space is available. With the exception 
of certain disability assistance devices, overhead bins or under seat 
stowage space is available to all passengers and crew members for their 
carry-on baggage on a ``first come, first served'' basis. Accordingly, 
carriers are not required to remove other passengers' or crew members' 
carry-on baggage that is already stowed in order to make space for a 
musical instrument. However, this also means carriers are not allowed 
to require a passenger to remove his or her musical instrument that is 
already safely stowed (e.g., in the overhead bin) to make room for 
carry-on baggage of other passengers who boarded the aircraft later 
than the passenger with the musical instrument. This is true even if 
the space taken by the musical instrument could accommodate one or more 
other carry-on items. Because the rule does not require that musical 
instruments be given priority over other carry-on baggage, we encourage 
passengers traveling with musical instruments to take steps to board 
before as many other passengers as possible to ensure that space will 
be available for them to safely stow their instruments in the cabin. 
This includes utilizing pre-boarding opportunities that some carriers 
offer (usually for a fee).
    This rule also states that carriers are prohibited from charging 
passengers with a musical instrument as carry-on baggage an additional 
fee other than any standard fee carriers impose for carry-on baggage. 
By including such a requirement in the statute, Congress clearly meant 
to require carriers to treat musical instruments in the cabin as no 
different from other carry-on baggage. For example, many carriers' FAA-
approved carry-on baggage programs permit one piece of carry-on baggage 
plus one personal item such as a purse or a briefcase. If the passenger 
with the musical instrument already has these two standard items and 
the musical instrument is the third carry-on item, that carrier may not 
permit the passenger to board the aircraft with a third carry-on item. 
As per Federal Aviation Regulations, no air carrier may allow a 
passenger to board the aircraft with more carry-on items than allowed 
in that carrier's FAA-approved carry-on baggage program. Any fees 
imposed by a carrier for any piece of carry-on baggage is also 
applicable to a musical instrument carried onboard. This would include 
a situation where a carrier's FAA-approved carry-on baggage program 
allows each passenger two

[[Page 163]]

pieces of carry-on baggage but the airline charges a fee for a second 
piece. If a passenger with a musical instrument already has one piece 
of (free) carry-on baggage, the airline is permitted to charge its 
standard fee for a second piece of carry-on baggage even if the second 
piece is a musical instrument.

Transporting Large Instruments as Carry-On Baggage

    For some musical instruments that are too large to fit in the cabin 
stowage areas described in the carrier's FAA-approved carry-on baggage 
program (e.g., an overhead bin or under a seat), it is sometimes 
possible to secure them to a seat as ``seat baggage'' or ``cargo in 
passenger cabin'' as regulated by 14 CFR 121.285. As FAA Advisory 
Circular 121-29B: Carry-On Baggage (AC121-29B) and relevant FAA safety 
regulations do not mandate that a carrier must allow in their carry-on 
baggage programs the stowage of a large carry-on item on a passenger 
seat, we do not require in this final rule that those carriers whose 
programs do not provide such stowage amend their programs to allow it.
    We do, however, encourage these carriers to consider modifying 
their programs to allow the stowage of large musical instruments at 
passenger seats, provided that all safety requirements are met. Some of 
the safety requirements have already been incorporated in Section 403 
and this final rule, such as the requirement that the instrument must 
be contained in a case or covered as to avoid injury to other 
passengers, and the requirement that the instrument including the case 
or covering cannot exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight 
restriction for the aircraft. Other safety requirements contained in 
FAA regulations that carriers must follow when transporting a musical 
instrument at a seat include that the item is restrained to the inertia 
forces in 14 CFR 25.561; it is properly secured by a safety belt or 
other tie down having enough strength to eliminate the possibility of 
shifting under all normally anticipated flight and ground conditions; 
it does not impose any load on seats or the floor structure that 
exceeds the load limitation for those components; its location does not 
restrict access to or use of any required emergency or regular exit, or 
of the aisle in the passenger compartment; and its location does not 
obscure any passenger's view of the ``seat belt'' sign, ``no smoking'' 
sign, or required exit sign, unless an auxiliary sign or other approved 
means for proper notification of the passenger is provided. See 14 CFR 
121.285(c) and 14 CFR 135.87(c). Also, when assigning a seat that will 
be used to transport a musical instrument as cargo in the passenger 
cabin, carriers must not assign a seat where the instrument may obscure 
other passengers' view of safety signs that are required to remain 
visible. In the event a passenger purchases a seat for his or her 
musical instrument and it is later discovered that the location of the 
assigned seat is such that the musical instrument may obscure other 
passengers' view of the ``seat belt'' sign, ``no smoking'' sign, or 
required exit signs, carriers should work with the passenger to 
determine if any other available seat in that class of service can 
safely accommodate the musical instrument.
    Because carriers must comply with a number of safety requirements, 
we encourage passengers purchasing a seat for a large musical 
instrument to provide advance notice to the carrier that the seat is 
being purchased to transport an instrument and to follow that carrier's 
policies regarding the transportation of the musical instrument in the 
cabin. Carriers whose carry-on baggage programs allow such stowage 
should ensure that their reservation agents and airport agents are 
trained to provide appropriate seat assignments to the passenger and 
the instrument to ensure compliance with safety requirements, and that 
their crews are trained and have the appropriate restraining device for 
securing the instrument to the seat.
    With respect to the cost to a passenger to transport a musical 
instrument on a passenger seat, assuming all of the safety requirements 
are met, carriers cannot charge the passenger more than the price of a 
ticket for the additional seat--for example, by adding on a fee 
specifically for transporting a musical instrument. However, this does 
not preclude carriers from charging standard ancillary service fees. 
For example, to the extent carriers charge a fee for an advance seat 
assignment, and the passenger requests advance seat assignments for him 
or herself and for the instrument, the carrier may charge the advance 
seat assignment fee for each seat assignment.

Transporting Large Instruments as Checked Baggage

    As mandated by the Act, this rule requires carriers to accept 
musical instruments in the cargo compartment as checked baggage if 
those instruments comply with the size and weight limitations provided 
in Section 403 and FAA's safety regulations. As Section 403 is silent 
on the charges carriers may impose on transporting musical instruments 
in the cargo compartment, and we recognize that carriers' cost in 
transporting baggage and cargo is directly related to its size and 
weight, consistent with the clear intent of the Act, we conclude that 
carriers may impose the same checked-baggage charges that apply to 
other checked baggage of that size and weight. If a musical instrument 
exceeds the size or weight limits in the carrier's free baggage 
allowance but does not exceed the size or weight limits of Section 403, 
the carrier may assess the same over-size and over-weight charges that 
are applicable to other checked baggage that is over-size or over-

Good Cause for Issuing Rule Without Prior Notice and Comment

    Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) 
provides that when an agency, for good cause, finds that notice and 
public procedure are impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the 
public interest, the agency may issue a final rule without providing 
notice and an opportunity for public comment (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). The 
Department has determined that there is good cause to issue this final 
rule without notice and an opportunity for public comment because such 
notice and comment would be unnecessary. This rule implements Section 
403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act by incorporating the 
statutory language virtually verbatim and without interpretation. Since 
the Department is exercising no discretion in issuing this rule, public 
comment is unnecessary.

Regulatory Analyses and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The Department has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866, and 
within the meaning of the Department of Transportation's regulatory 
policies and procedures. The Department is issuing a final rule to 
implement section 403 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 
(Pub. L. 112-95, 49 U.S.C. 41724) regarding the carriage of musical 
instruments as carry-on baggage or checked baggage on commercial 
passenger flights operated by air carriers. In this section, we present 
information on current carrier policies about transporting musical 
instruments, provide data on various categories of beneficiaries from 
the rule, and estimate the costs to U.S. carriers to modify or develop 
instrument policies that comply with rule requirements.

[[Page 164]]

Current Carrier Policies
    Currently, most large U.S. carriers post specific policies on 
musical instrument carriage on their Web sites. We reviewed these 
policies and found that the specific size (length plus width plus 
height) and weight limitations for instruments carried as checked 
baggage vary substantially among carriers with published policies. Some 
carriers have maximum case size limits--typically combined dimensions 
of 115'', although one carrier allows cases with maximum dimensions of 
126''. The threshold size for oversized baggage charges varies from 
62'' to 90'', depending on the carrier. Maximum weight limits for 
checked baggage also vary from 70 to 100 pounds among large U.S. 
carriers with stated weight limits. However, there are several carriers 
that post policies without specified limits on case size or weight.
    Case dimensions and instrument plus case weights were compiled from 
Amazon.com and other Web sites to assess the extent to which current 
policies would potentially bar musicians from traveling with certain 
types of instruments. Hard cases for tubas exceed the 90'' combined 
dimensions, a threshold at which some carriers charge for oversize 
baggage, but they are typically under the 115'' size that some carriers 
have established as the current maximum allowable size for checked 
baggage. Cases for (stringed) double basses are larger than the 115'' 
size limit, and these instruments may also be sufficiently large to 
preclude them from being flown as carry-on baggage in a separately 
purchased seat. It therefore appears that nearly all large U.S. 
carriers would need to modify their current instrument transport 
policies to take into account the Act's and rule's requirements.
    While individual musicians and smaller groups are likely to travel 
most frequently on scheduled flights, larger ensembles and orchestras 
may find it more efficient to travel together on chartered flights. 
None of the largest U.S. charter carriers post specific policies about 
musical instruments or, for the most part, general baggage policies, on 
their Web sites.
    Beneficiaries of the rule would include professional and amateur 
musicians who travel with instruments, particularly large instruments 
that may be subject to more restrictive transportation limits under 
current carrier policies. Increased ability of these musicians to 
travel with their instruments could also potentially benefit owners and 
employees of establishments hosting musical events and people who 
attend events at which these musicians would be more likely to be able 
to play.
    Estimates of the numbers of professional musicians employed by 
others are available from the May 2013 BLS Occupational Employment 
Survey (OES), the 2012 Economic Census, and the 2011 Statistics of U.S. 
Business (SUSB). The May 2013 OES data indicate that there were 39,260 
professional musicians and singers with mean hourly wage of $32.10. 
Wage data from the OES and payroll data from the OES Census and SUSB 
are consistent with a daily wage of between $211 and $257, assuming 
that the average musician performs approximately 180 days annually. 
Aggregate earnings for professional musicians employed by others are 
estimated at about $1.5 billion annually. It would be reasonable to 
assume that professional musicians travel by air at the same rate as 
the general flying public--an average of 1-2 round trips per year--but 
there are no data on the distribution of instruments that musicians 
currently transport or would like to be able to transport on these 

    \1\ It is likely that musicians with relatively compact 
instruments--e.g., violins, woodwinds--encounter fewer difficulties 
in transporting instruments by air than do those who play larger 
instruments, particularly acoustic guitars, cellos, string basses, 
and tubas. We have assumed for this analysis that the rule 
requirements would not be sufficient to facilitate air 
transportation of especially large or heavy instruments such as 
harps, vibraphones, and tympani.

    A broader measure of the number of professional musicians is 
available from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which includes 
self-employed and part-time workers in its estimate of ``musicians, 
singers, and related workers.'' Assuming that the share of related 
workers (music composers and directors) is the same as in the OES data, 
there were approximately 127,000 employed musicians in 2013.
    The monetary value of the benefit that a professional musician 
would receive from consistent carrier policies that comply with the 
rule could not be estimated. This value depends on at least three 
factors that could not be quantified:
    1. The distribution of instrument played by professional musicians.
    2. The extent to which musicians currently encounter difficulties 
in carrying or checking instruments on the carriers and routes he or 
she wishes to travel on.
    3. The extent to which any loss of income from not being able to 
perform at events that require air travel could be mitigated by 
additional performances at destinations or facilities for which 
instrument transportation is not a problem.
    Amateur musicians would also benefit from the proposed rule. This 
group includes a large number of school age children and their music 
teachers. School age children who play instruments could reasonably be 
expected to travel with them if possible--both to perform at out-of-
town events and on trips to visit family members. The National Center 
for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) estimates 
that there were nearly 117,000 public school teachers whose primary 
assignment was music instruction during the 2011-2012 school year. The 
number of children who play musical instruments was estimated by 
assuming that half of these teachers are instrumental music teachers 
and that each of them teaches an average of 100 students each week. 
Under these assumptions, there are approximately 5.8 million school age 
children who play musical instruments.\2\ However, it is not possible 
to monetize the value of the additional practice and performance time 
that school age musicians may be able to have if their ability to 
transport instruments by air is enhanced under the rule requirements.

    \2\ This estimate does not include private school students and 
children who receive private group or individual lessons but do not 
have instrumental music classes in public schools. It also does not 
take into account the proportion of students who play piano and 
other instruments that carriers would not be responsible for 
transporting under the rule.

    The rule would require most covered carriers with specific policies 
about transportation of musical instruments to modify these policies to 
comply with the rule requirements; update written, electronic, and 
phone guidance provided to customers; and ensure that gate agents, 
flight crews, and baggage handlers are aware of these requirements. 
Covered carriers that do not currently have policies for the 
transportation of musical instruments would have to develop policies 
that comply with the rule requirements; prepare materials on these 
policies in written and electronic form; and train employees about 
these requirements.
    Carriers routinely update their baggage fees and policies, as well 
as other aspects of their customer service plans. Costs for developing 
or revising customer service plans (CSPs) were estimated for a 2011 
rule (``Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections II''). The

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accompanying regulatory evaluation estimated that it would cost large 
carriers with existing service plans an average of $35,000 to develop 
compliant CSPs. Per-firm costs for smaller carriers--many of which did 
not have formal CSPs at the time the rule was promulgated--were 
estimated at about $4,000 per firm. Based on tabulations from the BTS 
T-100 data for 2013 and our review of carrier Web site information, 
there are 12 large carriers that currently have specific musical 
instrument carriage plans and 86 other U.S. carriers that have less 
specific or no specific policies about transporting musical 
instruments. Using the per-carrier cost estimates from the previous 
regulatory evaluation, modifying or developing musical instrument 
carriage policies is expected to cost about $732,000.
    Counter agents, gate agents, and baggage acceptance personnel will 
need to be informed of the new requirements, and periodic reminders or 
audits may need to be conducted to ensure compliance with compliant 
musical instrument transportation policies. Because only larger 
carriers are required to file employment information with the BTS on 
form P-10, data on industry employment was obtained from the 2013 BLS 
OES. Four categories of employees appear to be most likely to require 
training on compliant musical instrument transportation policies:

 Baggage and gate operations managers
 Counter and gate agents
 First-line supervisors of these agents
 Baggage acceptance clerks and handlers

However, each of these groups of employees is included within a more 
general occupational category of employees, most of whom would not 
require specific training or communication about modified or newly 
developed musical instrument policies. Based on experience from 
previous regulatory evaluations, Econometrica developed estimates of 
the share of each of the four relevant categories of employees from the 
OES data who would need training. Each of these employees was assumed 
to require an average of 1 hour of training annually to ensure that 
they understand and comply with the rule requirements. Training time 
was valued at the average annual wage rates for each of these four 
labor categories.\3\

    \3\ Flight attendants may also need to receive some 
communication and training about the modified or newly developed 
policies. However, the 2013 OES data do not report the number of 
flight attendants or their average hourly wage rates.

    Based on the calculations shown in the table below, we estimate 
that the annual cost of this training for 98 affected U.S. carriers 
would be $474,000.

                             Table--Estimated Annual Training Cost for U.S. Carriers
                                                  Percent with
                                     Total          passenger        Employees                        Annual
   BLS occupational category       employees    baggage handling     requiring      Hourly wage    training cost
                                                responsibilities    training *                          **
General and Operations                  11,110               10            1,111          $55.34         $61,483
Reservation Agents and Ticket           88,390               20           17,678           17.77         314,138
First-Line Supervisors........           9,820               10              982           26.58          26,102
Laborers and Material Movers..          22,880               20            4,576           15.80          72,301
    Total.....................         132,200  ................          24,347  ..............         474,023
* Econometrica, Inc. estimates.
** Assumes one hour of training per employee required annually.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an 
agency to review regulations to assess their impact on small entities 
unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
However, when notice and comment rulemaking is not necessary, the 
provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply. 
Nevertheless, the Department has evaluated the effects of this action 
on small entities and has determined that the action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The regulatory requirements imposed by this final rule cover some small 
entities, but the requirements will not have a significant impact on 
them because the rule does not require any carrier to modify its FAA-
approved carry-on baggage program if that program does not already 
provide for accepting musical instruments as ``cargo in passenger 
compartment'' and to be stowed in a passenger seat. Further, the 
additional requirements of the rule, such as transporting small musical 
instruments on the same terms as other carry-on bags, and transporting 
large musical instruments in seats or as checked baggage for the same 
fees that are charged to other passengers, do not impose significant 
costs on carriers. There may also be costs associated with training 
airline personnel to ensure that they understand these requirements and 
adhere to them but these costs are not significant. For these reasons, 
I hereby certify that this rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.

C. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (``Federalism''). This 
final rule does not include any provision that: (1) Has substantial 
direct effects on the States, the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government; (2) imposes 
substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments; or 
(3) preempts State law. States are already preempted from regulating in 
this area by the Airline Deregulation Act, 49 U.S.C. 41713. Therefore, 
the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do 
not apply.

D. Executive Order 13084

    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13084 (``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments''). Because this final rule 
does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of the Indian 
Tribal governments or impose substantial direct compliance costs on 
them, the

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funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13084 do not 

E. National Environmental Policy Act

    The Department has analyzed the environmental impacts of this 
action pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has determined that it is categorically 
excluded pursuant to DOT Order 5610.1C, Procedures for Considering 
Environmental Impacts (44 FR 56420, Oct. 1, 1979). Categorical 
exclusions are actions identified in an agency's NEPA implementing 
procedures that do not normally have a significant impact on the 
environment and therefore do not require either an environmental 
assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS). See 40 CFR 
1508.4. In analyzing the applicability of a categorical exclusion, the 
agency must also consider whether extraordinary circumstances are 
present that would warrant the preparation of an EA or EIS. Id. 
Paragraph 4.c.6.i of DOT Order 5610.1C covers ``actions relating to 
consumer protection, including regulations.''. The purpose of this 
rulemaking is to implement regulations regarding the carriage of 
musical instruments as carry-on baggage or checked baggage on 
commercial passenger flights operated by air carriers. The Department 
does not anticipate any environmental impacts, and there are no 
extraordinary circumstances present in connection with this rulemaking.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain any new information collection and 
therefore is not subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. 
L. 104-13, 49 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

G. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Department has determined that the requirements of Title II of 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply to this rule.

    Issued this 29th day of December 2014, in Washington, DC.
Anthony R. Foxx,
Secretary of Transportation.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 251

    Air carriers, Consumer protection.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department amends 14 
CFR Chapter II by adding a new part 251 to read as follows:


251.1 Definitions.
251.2 Applicability.
251.3 Small musical instruments as carry-on baggage.
251.4 Large musical instruments as carry-on baggage.
251.5 Large musical instruments as checked baggage.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 41724.

Sec.  251.1  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    Certificated air carrier means a U.S. carrier holding a certificate 
issued under 49 U.S.C. 41102 to conduct passenger service or holding an 
exemption to conduct passenger operations under 49 U.S.C. 40109.
    Commuter air carrier means a U.S. carrier that has been found fit 
under 49 U.S.C. 41738 and is authorized to carry passengers on at least 
five round trips per week on at least one route between two or more 
points according to a published flight schedule using small aircraft as 
defined in 14 CFR 298.2.
    Covered carrier means a certificated carrier, a commuter carrier, 
an air taxi, or a U.S. indirect carrier operating to, from, or within 
the United States, conducting scheduled passenger service or public 
charter service.
    FAA means the Federal Aviation Administration, an operating 
administration of the Department of Transportation.
    Indirect carrier means a person not directly involved in the 
operation of an aircraft who sells air transportation services to the 
general public other than as an authorized agent of a carrier.

Sec.  251.2  Applicability.

    This part applies to U.S. certificated air carriers, U.S. commuter 
air carriers, air taxis, and U.S. indirect carriers that operate 
passenger service to, from, or within the United States.

Sec.  251.3  Small musical instruments as carry-on baggage.

    Each covered carrier shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, 
guitar, or other small musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, 
without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee 
that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if:
    (a) The instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage 
compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in 
accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or 
cargo established by the FAA; and
    (b) There is space for such stowage at the time the passenger 
boards the aircraft.

Sec.  251.4  Large musical instruments as carry-on baggage.

    Each covered carrier shall permit a passenger to carry a musical 
instrument that is too large to meet the requirements of Sec.  251.3 in 
the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to 
the cost of an additional ticket described in paragraph (e) of this 
section, if:
    (a) The instrument is contained in a case or covered so as to avoid 
injury to other passengers;
    (b) The weight of the instrument, including the case or covering, 
does not exceed 165 pounds or the applicable weight restrictions for 
the aircraft;
    (c) The instrument can be stowed in accordance with the 
requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by 
the FAA;
    (d) Neither the instrument nor the case contains any object not 
otherwise permitted to be carried in an aircraft cabin because of a law 
or regulation of the United States; and
    (e) The passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft 
cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument.

Sec.  251.5  Large musical instruments as checked baggage.

    Each covered carrier shall transport as baggage a musical 
instrument that is the property of a passenger traveling in air 
transportation that may not be carried in the aircraft cabin if
    (a) The sum of the length, width, and height measured in inches of 
the outside linear dimensions of the instrument (including the case) 
does not exceed 150 inches or the applicable size restrictions for the 
    (b) The weight of the instrument does not exceed 165 pounds or the 
applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft; and
    (c) The instrument can be stowed in accordance with the 
requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by 
the FAA.

[FR Doc. 2014-30836 Filed 1-2-15; 8:45 am]