Don't Understand Air Canada's Puzzling Musical Instrument Regulations? Watch This Video

BY Alex HudsonPublished Oct 7, 2014

This summer, Stephen Fearing of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings temporarily lost his beloved guitar after crews neglected to load it onto his Air Canada flight from England. Many other musicians have had similarly dicey experiences when flying with instruments, and now Air Canada's slightly bizarre policy on musical instruments has been parodied with a new video.

This clip is based on the guidelines from Air Canada's website, which details which instruments can be brought aboard as carry-on and which much be checked. There are some strange and seemingly arbitrary distinctions. For example, violas must be checked, while violins are okay as carry-ons. Meanwhile, a trombone must be checked, while other horns — including the very large bass clarinet — can be carried on.

Other guidelines seemingly defy the laws of physics: a bassoon can only be accepted as carry-on if it can be folded in half. Meanwhile, guitars or other "irregular sized musical instruments" must be able to "fit easily in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you," which probably isn't realistic unless your guitar looks like this. And somewhat bizarrely, Air Canada's website makes a distinction between a violin and a fiddle (although the guidelines are the same, thankfully).

We'd also like to point out that Air Canada advises flyers that they can purchase a seat for their cello. Does the cello need to wear a seatbelt during takeoff and landing?

It seems that Air Canada is aware these policies are a little strange. Slipped Disc complained about the viola policy, and here is the airline's response:

Thanks for the feedback. We are aware of inconsistencies with the current viola baggage policy which has not changed in some time. We are making changes and in the coming days it will be aligned with the policies for violins and guitars; our website will be updated when this is completed.

Watch the video about Air Canada's policies below, and read the full guidelines here.

Latest Coverage