skip to main content

MU Update on British Airways Instrument Policy (January 2018)

The Musicians’ Union (MU) has been having fruitful discussions with British Airways, who are actively seeking workable solutions for guitars and larger instruments.

Published: 26 January 2018 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:29 PM

Our previous update stated: “For some members, recent developments will be welcome news as British Airways have actively stated that musicians can ‘take small instruments in the cabin as part of (but not in addition to) your free hand baggage’  

“British Airways specifically mentions violas and violins, and state that they recognise the damage that can be done by temperature and pressure when carrying items in the hold. They also ask that passengers with instruments board early in order to accommodate their instruments in the lockers.”

The current British Airways policy on guitars is that they go into the hold unless you have bought an extra seat for it 24 hours in advance, if available. An exception may be made at airport check-in on direct long-haul flights that are not full and in cabins where space is more available, but this can never be guaranteed and unlikely to be available at Heathrow or Gatwick, so be prepared to put your guitar in the hold or buy an extra seat for it in advance. 

The even more acute stowage problem comes with short haul flights on smaller aircraft, however British Airways continue to actively seek solutions.

The MU has been invited to meet with BA. We will be meeting with the airline to discuss the problem and options that will improve the experience for musicians travelling with BA. 

In the meantime, access the BA policy

If you anticipate flying with a larger instrument that exceed the 80cm in length criteria, do contact the airline in advance to discuss the options that are open to you at this current time.

Find out more  via British Airways

Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

Explore our member services

  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
  • Access expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Connect, network, and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

Get MU membership today

Continue reading

Exterior of Caird Hall in the city centre of Dundee, Scotland.

Representing Our Scottish Members at STUC Congress 2024

This week we attended the annual Scottish Trades Union Congress with MU Delegates Christine Cooper and Ben Lunn, who discussed the importance of music education, community arts in Scotland and establishing a Music Expo Office for the country. All three of our motions were passed unanimously.

Published: 18 April 2024

Read more about Representing Our Scottish Members at STUC Congress 2024
Two young female street musicians, one playing acoustic guitar and the other an accordian.

Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust 

The Alan Surtees Trust makes up to four awards of £2,000 annually to support performers aged 16 to 30 with projects rooted in, or influenced by, folk or traditional music of all cultures. The deadline for applications is April 30.

Published: 15 April 2024

Read more about Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust