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Ertro
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 11:53 am

A violin can be worth 10 million dollars. If this rule would not be in place there would be absolutely no possibility for orchestras to travel in any way because putting 10 million dollar item into cargo hold is clearly out of the question as is sending it with UPS or FEDEX. It will get stolen. These violins are owned by billionaires who have enough sway to write laws that suit them and then write a contract with violinists that they are allowed to play the violin with the condition that it never ever leaves their sight.

What I don't understand is the silliness with emotional support giraffes. Also big percentage of overhead bins are taken be duty-free booze which to my belief is less important item that should be cut first.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:14 pm

Ertro wrote:
It does NOT say that it must fit under the seat. Some other paper might say that but this one policy page is what is written for customers and this is what customers are supposed to understand about the issue. Who customer is supposed to know where exactly the violin will be placed on a half empty flight and whether the violin suddenly changes designation after boarding from personal item into carry-on based on where the flight attendant chooses to lay it down it is out from customers hands. Even if it not personal item I believe the FAR still applies and it should be allowed even as designated as carry-on. There certainly is enough material for customer to make reasonable interpretation that violin is allowed and the only way for customer to come to opposite conclusion is to turn yourself into pretzel trying to find the most bad interpretation of material that 99% seems for every reasonable person to tell that violins are okay.

And the policy page clearly gives the possibility that guitars can be personal items. If your interpretation is right that it only is true if it fits under the seat that policy page is clearly written with a huge error in it. If your interpretation is right guitars can never be personal items contradicting the clear unambiguous word of the policy page.


This construction doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, then plainly it cannot be placed under the seat and therefore it cannot qualify as a personal item.

Otherwise we could try to force a tuba under the seat and count it as a personal item.
 
Ertro
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:25 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
This construction doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, then plainly it cannot be placed under the seat and therefore it cannot qualify as a personal item.
Otherwise we could try to force a tuba under the seat and count it as a personal item.


"under the seat" is in no way relevant concept in this issue as united policy regards to musical instruments. There might be other kinds of personal items that do fit under the seat but this is not such. A Guitar can be a personal item per united policy and there are no guitars that fit under the seat. Forget fitting under the seat as criteria.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:35 pm

planecane wrote:
I don't really understand why a law (technically a regulation) would allow for somebody to take up a large amount of overhead bin space with a guitar at the expense of other passengers having room for their properly sized carry on bags. I was almost forced by two different AA gate agents to check a delicate and expensive camera drone on a recent flight because the case was 1/2" too long to fit within the metal rails on the sizer even though it took up less space in the bin than other carry on bags because the other two dimensions were smaller and the length still fit easily front to back.

Why does a guitar get legal priority? It it somehow impossible to design a guitar case that can protect it as checked baggage?

Well, contacting your lawmaker, demanding to scrap the law allowing onboard carriage of musical instruments, and write a law allowing onboard carriage of camera drones, would be a good place to start.

Secondly, the law apparently does not discriminate against other passengers -- after-all, it's the airlines that choose to squeeze too many seats and too little hand luggage stowage space, onboard aircraft. So now passengers have to fight for elbow space and overhead bins space. Choosing to ignore the reality that pax are larger and carry on plenty of stuff, and are inconvenienced by lack of space, is on the airlines.

In ex-USSR, for example, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (a.k.a Aeroflot at the time) was painfully aware of the realities that they operated from spaces where -30oC was a usual day weather in winter. As a result, provisions were made for generous space to hang outer clothes (seat pitch was horrible, btw, but that's a discussion for another day).

So yeah, if the law is written that certain items fly with pax no matter what (think essential medication or baby food, for example, that can be brought in excess of whatever rules TSA has in place), the airlines will have to get around to arrange that. If airlines choose to do so by inconveniencing other passengers -- that's on the airlines, not pax exercising their right, no?
 
Virtual737
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:54 pm

The thing I find most interesting is that an airline that is VERY versed in writing contracts and conditions has a carry-on policy that is being interpreted totally differently from one person to the next, including by people directly involved at many levels within the industry.

Me thinks they do this on purpose...
 
Cubsrule
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 12:58 pm

Ertro wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
This construction doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, then plainly it cannot be placed under the seat and therefore it cannot qualify as a personal item.
Otherwise we could try to force a tuba under the seat and count it as a personal item.


"under the seat" is in no way relevant concept in this issue as united policy regards to musical instruments. There might be other kinds of personal items that do fit under the seat but this is not such. A Guitar can be a personal item per united policy and there are no guitars that fit under the seat. Forget fitting under the seat as criteria.


But the policy you quoted says it's a criterion: "If placed in (I think this should read "under") the seat in front of you, they'll count as a personal item."
 
airbazar
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:30 pm

planecane wrote:
Why does a guitar get legal priority? It it somehow impossible to design a guitar case that can protect it as checked baggage?

The regulation strictly states that musical instruments can only be accommodated if there's available space so technically it's not taking storage space away from anyone. But at the end of the day we know these decisions are based on money. People carrying an expensive instrument are likely to also be high value customers that the airline wants to please. An expensive instrument also carries a huge liability for the airline compared with a bag full of dirty socks. So yeah, if I'm running an airline I too would want to be nice to someone flying with a violin. It's just good business.

As for the no-carry-on airline thing. Do people really think that a German violinist who bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, was ever informed at any point in the transaction that one of her legs would be flown on a "no-carry-on" airline? I would think that she might have chosen a different route or travel option if that was the case.
 
planecane
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:02 pm

airbazar wrote:
planecane wrote:
Why does a guitar get legal priority? It it somehow impossible to design a guitar case that can protect it as checked baggage?

The regulation strictly states that musical instruments can only be accommodated if there's available space so technically it's not taking storage space away from anyone. But at the end of the day we know these decisions are based on money. People carrying an expensive instrument are likely to also be high value customers that the airline wants to please. An expensive instrument also carries a huge liability for the airline compared with a bag full of dirty socks. So yeah, if I'm running an airline I too would want to be nice to someone flying with a violin. It's just good business.

As for the no-carry-on airline thing. Do people really think that a German violinist who bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, was ever informed at any point in the transaction that one of her legs would be flown on a "no-carry-on" airline? I would think that she might have chosen a different route or travel option if that was the case.


They can ship the instrument via an overnight air freight service and insure it themselves. Is an airline going to let me carry on a Ming Vase in an oversized carrier that still can fit in the bin because it's expensive and a huge liability as checked luggage? I highly doubt it.

They are taking storage space from others because it says the space must be available when they board. If they board 100 people ahead of me, there could be space at that time but there wouldn't have been if we swapped boarding spots.

I just don't understand why musical instruments get special treatment over any other expensive items that somebody may bring with them on a trip. I can guarantee you that a hard shell guitar case with a foam interior and a cut out custom sized and shaped for the guitar would allow it to survive just about any trip as a checked luggage.
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:20 pm

Airline employees know their rules about as well as IRS employees know the tax laws. Lots of different interpretations at both for the very same reason, to many laws/rules to convoluted impossible to learn all.
 
11C
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:38 pm

planecane wrote:
I don't really understand why a law (technically a regulation) would allow for somebody to take up a large amount of overhead bin space with a guitar at the expense of other passengers having room for their properly sized carry on bags. I was almost forced by two different AA gate agents to check a delicate and expensive camera drone on a recent flight because the case was 1/2" too long to fit within the metal rails on the sizer even though it took up less space in the bin than other carry on bags because the other two dimensions were smaller and the length still fit easily front to back.

Why does a guitar get legal priority? It it somehow impossible to design a guitar case that can protect it as checked baggage?


It’s a lot like a helmet. It may be able to prevent skull fractures in some cases, but it doesn’t do much to protect your brain. The same for an instrument made out of tone wood. You may be able to prevent outright breakage, but the throwing, rough handling, possibility of being crushed, and possible exposure to extremes of heat, and cold are all very bad for the longevity of the instrument.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:57 pm

planecane wrote:
airbazar wrote:
planecane wrote:
Why does a guitar get legal priority? It it somehow impossible to design a guitar case that can protect it as checked baggage?

The regulation strictly states that musical instruments can only be accommodated if there's available space so technically it's not taking storage space away from anyone. But at the end of the day we know these decisions are based on money. People carrying an expensive instrument are likely to also be high value customers that the airline wants to please. An expensive instrument also carries a huge liability for the airline compared with a bag full of dirty socks. So yeah, if I'm running an airline I too would want to be nice to someone flying with a violin. It's just good business.

As for the no-carry-on airline thing. Do people really think that a German violinist who bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, was ever informed at any point in the transaction that one of her legs would be flown on a "no-carry-on" airline? I would think that she might have chosen a different route or travel option if that was the case.


They can ship the instrument via an overnight air freight service and insure it themselves. Is an airline going to let me carry on a Ming Vase in an oversized carrier that still can fit in the bin because it's expensive and a huge liability as checked luggage? I highly doubt it.

They are taking storage space from others because it says the space must be available when they board. If they board 100 people ahead of me, there could be space at that time but there wouldn't have been if we swapped boarding spots.

I just don't understand why musical instruments get special treatment over any other expensive items that somebody may bring with them on a trip. I can guarantee you that a hard shell guitar case with a foam interior and a cut out custom sized and shaped for the guitar would allow it to survive just about any trip as a checked luggage.


I live in Nashville, so I see quite a few guitars - about the largest instrument that will fit in a mainline overhead - on flights. I can't think of any occasion where guitars caused the aircraft to run out of overhead space. Because they are shaped differently than normal carryons, there's a fair amount of flexibility about where they go. Anything smaller (flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, viola) isn't really big enough to make a difference.
 
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ua900
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:38 pm

Kudos to the captain for defusing the situation, that was the right thing to do. But as others have said, a couple factors here.

1. UA's policy for regionals whereas Commutair is listed as a no carry-on carrier: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/tr ... ry-on.html
2. Pax in question is a self-described FF as a "Star Alliance Gold Member with priority boarding... exactly to avoid these problems."

One can reasonably infer from her statement that she's an experienced traveller and from the immediate citing of the FAR that she did *partially* research the subject before boarding her return flight to FRA via IAD. As such, it's somewhat interesting that Commutair being a no carry-on carrier escaped her. I wonder how she got from FRA to TYS on the outbound without noticing, assuming she flew into TYS on UAX as well given her *A Gold Membership and given that the IAD-TYS leg on UAX is exclusively E135/145. Not saying it's her fault, but as someone who has travelled extensively throughout the U.S. (including other parts of the Appalachians), Latin America and Europe, it probably wasn't her first time on a E135/145.

silentbob wrote:
Most regionals with smaller overheads (CRJ, ERJ145) that I am aware of officially have policies that require carry on items to be checked and only allow personal items on board. The musical instrument law would mean that the violin would have to be gate checked to be in compliance, as the violin replaces the allowed carry on in permitted 1+1 hand luggage. It has been a few years since I've gone over it, and the interpretations may have changed, but that is how it was described to me by an FAA inspector.


alasizon wrote:
Every carrier's carry-on baggage policy is approved and audited by the FAA. Most Regional carriers have submitted one that they won't allow anything bigger than a personal item on board due to overhead bin dimensions unless you buy a seat for it on the CRJ/145 (strictly enforced for most 145s, CRJs are less enforced but still technically not allowed at most carriers).

Someone traveling with this expensive of a violin likely knows that particularly given they had the FAR ready. To be fair to the FA, and they may not even know it, by enforcing their carry-on baggage program they are indeed actually following federal regulations. The carry-on baggage program, much like each carrier's exit seat program, is considered a safety policy and therefore userps most FARs pertaining to passenger accommodations.


Exactly right silentbob and alaizon. FAA rules regarding safe storage of personal items or carry on in the cabin still apply.

txjim wrote:
Do musicians with expensive instruments not purchase a seat for expensive items?


Seems reasonable given the potential issues with safe storage and compliance with FAA rules given Commutair's FAA approved carry-on baggage program per which carry on baggage isn't allowed and this item exceeded the permissable dimensions of a personal item that could safely be stored underneath the seat in front of the passenger.

airbazar wrote:
As for the no-carry-on airline thing. Do people really think that a German violinist who bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, was ever informed at any point in the transaction that one of her legs would be flown on a "no-carry-on" airline? I would think that she might have chosen a different route or travel option if that was the case.


Minor nit, she's American. She graduated from Rice and happens to work abroad. She's performed extensively throughout the Appalachian region, throughout the US, and in Latin America, plus Europe. As you say correctly, she bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, which means she must have already been acommodated on the outbound, i.e. aware of the potential conflict. It's not surprising then that she might have googled the FAR before her return trip, but it's interesting that she chose to interpret that in isolation and without the context of FAA safe storage rules that would still need to apply. As a UA 1K I avoid the E135/145 whenever I can precisely because I'm also not comfortable with carry on baggage checked at the gate. Both the airline and the passenger should do everything to deescalate, it seems to me that neither the pax nor the FA did that, and I'm glad the PIC was able to sort it out.

Given her experience level (FF plus outbound on the same equipment type), I too would think that might have chosen a different route or travel option for her inbound, e.g. simply buying an extra one way ticket for the TYS-IAD portion of her inbound or perhaps considering the nearest mainline station.
 
airbazar
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:42 pm

planecane wrote:
I just don't understand why musical instruments get special treatment over any other expensive items that somebody may bring with them on a trip. I can guarantee you that a hard shell guitar case with a foam interior and a cut out custom sized and shaped for the guitar would allow it to survive just about any trip as a checked luggage.

I'm not sure that it's only musical instruments. I've seen some pretty odd shaped stuff inside carry-on bins. But it's the same reason why I carry my ski boots instead of putting them in the cargo hold with the rest of the equipment. I can't afford to have my ski trip ruined if my luggage is delayed. I can always rent a decent pair of skis but renting boots is all kinds of wrong. I need MY boots. If someone is flying with a musical instrument chances are they need their instrument with them on arrival, to say nothing about the value.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:52 pm

Ertro wrote:
A violin can be worth 10 million dollars. If this rule would not be in place there would be absolutely no possibility for orchestras to travel in any way because putting 10 million dollar item into cargo hold is clearly out of the question as is sending it with UPS or FEDEX. It will get stolen. These violins are owned by billionaires who have enough sway to write laws that suit them and then write a contract with violinists that they are allowed to play the violin with the condition that it never ever leaves their sight.

What I don't understand is the silliness with emotional support giraffes. Also big percentage of overhead bins are taken be duty-free booze which to my belief is less important item that should be cut first.


If you're trucking around with a 10 million dollar anything, you should be on a charter jet, and not a 25 year old ERJ.
 
silentbob
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:05 pm

Ertro wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
This construction doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, then plainly it cannot be placed under the seat and therefore it cannot qualify as a personal item.
Otherwise we could try to force a tuba under the seat and count it as a personal item.


"under the seat" is in no way relevant concept in this issue as united policy regards to musical instruments. There might be other kinds of personal items that do fit under the seat but this is not such. A Guitar can be a personal item per united policy and there are no guitars that fit under the seat. Forget fitting under the seat as criteria.


Actually, almost everything you said is incorrect.

Personal items have specific dimensional size limitation for an air carrier, generally matching the amount of space under the seat. Neither a tuba, nor guitar, meet the size limitations to be a personal item and would be required to be gate checked for the flight on the carrier in question. Certain words and phrases have very specific meanings and the vast majority of people that do not deal with it on a daily basis are not aware of those meanings. That lack of awareness however, does not change the reality.

A small midi controller keyboard, vocal processor, guitar pedalboard, piccolo, trumpet or other small instrument that fits under the seat would qualify as a personal item. Anything larger than items of that size could not be considered a personal item. The flight attendant did not choose the best phrasing to correct the passenger. That said, dealing with someone who believes they know more than the crew and is unwilling to accept that their understanding of the regulation is incorrect, often leads to frustration and that leads to less than ideal language.

I have no doubt that some regional FAs aren't aware or don't care about the regulation, or simply give in because it's easier than arguing with a passenger. However, as soon as they, or someone they know, gets a notice of violation about the issue, they start being a lot more careful. I've seen it first hand more than once.
 
ozark1
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:12 pm

We need to have universal outlines that apply to all us carriers. At the airline I worked for we would not have turned this gentleman away. If we had room, we probably would have tried to put it in a closet. He was fine with just putting it in the OHB. I don’t see why she took the no violin stance. I wonder if she had a part of her manual that specifically said that, then she could have just shown it to him.
The gentleman could have purchased a seat ( as Cello owners are required to do) and strapped the violin in. He could have put it in an overhead bin, but must accept responsibility if it accidentally is damaged. I would never ship it in cargo. So I think I would drive! I could be wrong, maybe times and policies have changed since I left. I have had excellent flight attendants on commuter airlines but laws of nature will require this kind of run-in at some point in years of travel
 
stlAV8R
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:14 pm

When I worked as an FA for Trans States years ago, we had the ERJ-145 and although we didn't allow carry-on bags persey, we had caveats for things like musical instruments, live organs, media equipment (cameras, etc). If it wasn't already cabin baggage, we were instructed to make room for it in the closet even at the expense of our crew bags. Reason being is that the closet is for items like wheelchairs and musical instruments. Storing crew bags was a bonus but technically our stuff would be gate checked just like everyone else's bag if the closet had priority items. Basically it was part of our cabin baggage program. I can't say if CommutAir has the same policy or not but it would be clearly detailed in the flight attendant manual. If I recall correctly, it went something like if it doesn't fit in the other approved places, then it needs to be cabin baggage and that was the responsibility of the agent. Usually these details aren't posted publicly so citing united.com is useless even though it shouldn't be.

What's bad about this situation in particular is the FAs comments. It's always better to say less and partner up with someone for assistance. Especially when there's a passenger armed with FARs. And it's not about the passenger having a printout, it's about "hey, the passenger has a unique item, is adamant and, oddly has FARs printed to backup her assertion. Maybe I should review what she is asking and figure it out" instead of saying dumb things like we don't go with federal law.
 
silentbob
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:23 pm

stlAV8R wrote:
When I worked as an FA for Trans States years ago, we had the ERJ-145 and although we didn't allow carry-on bags persey, we had caveats for things like musical instruments, live organs, media equipment (cameras, etc). If it wasn't already cabin baggage, we were instructed to make room for it in the closet even at the expense of our crew bags. Reason being is that the closet is for items like wheelchairs and musical instruments. Storing crew bags was a bonus but technically our stuff would be gate checked just like everyone else's bag if the closet had priority items. Basically it was part of our cabin baggage program. I can't say if CommutAir has the same policy or not but it would be clearly detailed in the flight attendant manual. If I recall correctly, it went something like if it doesn't fit in the other approved places, then it needs to be cabin baggage and that was the responsibility of the agent. Usually these details aren't posted publicly so citing united.com is useless even though it shouldn't be.

What's bad about this situation in particular is the FAs comments. It's always better to say less and partner up with someone for assistance. Especially when there's a passenger armed with FARs. And it's not about the passenger having a printout, it's about "hey, the passenger has a unique item, is adamant and, oddly has FARs printed to backup her assertion. Maybe I should review what she is asking and figure it out" instead of saying dumb things like we don't go with federal law.

That's the first regional I've heard about with that policy regarding musical instruments in the closet, very interesting. Organ shipments or company materials were the only ones I've ever seen in manuals for regionals. Obviously, I haven't seen them all and I'm sure there are plenty of other differences. As for wheelchairs in the closet, I've never seen an airplane where they weren't gate checked.

However, the printed FAR is still incomplete information without understanding what a carry on and personal item are legally for the airline. I've witnessed interactions like the one in the report several times and never seen a passenger willing to accept that they did not understand what the words mean to the company and the FAA.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:30 pm

This is turning out to be a great thread. There are excellent arguments on both sides. United appears to be more generous than the FAR, even allowing a musical instrument to be considered a “personal item.” Does the FAR require such? I think this is above & beyond by United.

On balance, it seems maybe the FA could have gone to an extraordinary length and put the violin in a seat, just to be nice, if the seat was available. But as it does not fit under a seat, it is not a personal item by the normal definition AFAIK. But what musical instrument is? A flute or piccolo? What about a tuba? United created this problem by volunteering a very odd policy.
 
stlAV8R
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:06 pm

silentbob wrote:
stlAV8R wrote:
When I worked as an FA for Trans States years ago, we had the ERJ-145 and although we didn't allow carry-on bags persey, we had caveats for things like musical instruments, live organs, media equipment (cameras, etc). If it wasn't already cabin baggage, we were instructed to make room for it in the closet even at the expense of our crew bags. Reason being is that the closet is for items like wheelchairs and musical instruments. Storing crew bags was a bonus but technically our stuff would be gate checked just like everyone else's bag if the closet had priority items. Basically it was part of our cabin baggage program. I can't say if CommutAir has the same policy or not but it would be clearly detailed in the flight attendant manual. If I recall correctly, it went something like if it doesn't fit in the other approved places, then it needs to be cabin baggage and that was the responsibility of the agent. Usually these details aren't posted publicly so citing united.com is useless even though it shouldn't be.

What's bad about this situation in particular is the FAs comments. It's always better to say less and partner up with someone for assistance. Especially when there's a passenger armed with FARs. And it's not about the passenger having a printout, it's about "hey, the passenger has a unique item, is adamant and, oddly has FARs printed to backup her assertion. Maybe I should review what she is asking and figure it out" instead of saying dumb things like we don't go with federal law.

That's the first regional I've heard about with that policy regarding musical instruments in the closet, very interesting. Organ shipments or company materials were the only ones I've ever seen in manuals for regionals. Obviously, I haven't seen them all and I'm sure there are plenty of other differences. As for wheelchairs in the closet, I've never seen an airplane where they weren't gate checked.

However, the printed FAR is still incomplete information without understanding what a carry on and personal item are legally for the airline. I've witnessed interactions like the one in the report several times and never seen a passenger willing to accept that they did not understand what the words mean to the company and the FAA.

Yeah that's the tough part. There are so many variations because of the various airlines involved and even then, it can come down to airplane configuration of the same type. Example, we had different rules for the ex-American Eagle planes that flew AmericanConnection because the galley/closet configuration was different than the regular ones we flew for AmericanConnection, Delta Connection, United Express, and US Airways Express. IIRC, the closet was bigger but then had emergency equipment in it so that changed how we could use it or something like that.
 
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zeke
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:07 pm

Ertro wrote:
On the same united policy page it states that musical instruments can be personal items:

You can carry a violin, guitar or other small musical instrument on board if it's in a hard case. These instruments will count as a carry-on bag if placed in the overhead bin. If placed in the seat in front of you, they'll count as a personal item.


https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/tr ... ry-on.html


You are picking and choosing what you want to read and ignore in that link. The overriding caveat in all of this it must be safe, and it must not impede an evacuation, or become a projectile in an emergency.

From that link

"Personal item Your personal item should fit underneath the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for your personal item are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 centimeters x 25 centimeters x 43 centimeters)."

Some musical instruments can fit these dimensions.

"United Express flights
Our regional partner airlines use smaller aircraft. That means our United Express flights generally have less room in the overhead bins for carry-on bags. In some cases, roller bags and other larger carry-on items won't fit. In the chart below, you can check for the specific policies based on the operator of your next United Express flight.

Carrier - CommutAir
Carry-on bag policy = No carry-on carrier
What that means for you - Passengers are allowed to bring only (1) one personal item into the cabin. Any carry-on bag in addition to the (1) one personal item will be collected by the gate ramp agent planeside, green-tagged and placed in the cargo compartment.

Fragile items
If an item is too fragile or bulky to travel as a checked bag, you can buy a ticket for it. You can then carry the item on board and place it in a seat. See our cabin-seat baggage page for more information.

Ertro wrote:
A violin can be worth 10 million dollars. If this rule would not be in place there would be absolutely no possibility for orchestras to travel in any way because putting 10 million dollar item into cargo hold is clearly out of the question as is sending it with UPS or FEDEX.


They simply buy a ticket for the instrument and it is secured into the seat next to them.

airbazar wrote:
An expensive instrument also carries a huge liability for the airline compared with a bag full of dirty socks. So yeah, if I'm running an airline I too would want to be nice to someone flying with a violin. It's just good business.


There is no liability at all, from the "Contract of Carriage"

3. EXCLUSIONS: UA shall not be liable for the loss of, damage to or delay in delivery of any of the following:
u. Musical instruments-Guitars, violins, violas, cellos, organs, harps, drums;

airbazar wrote:
As for the no-carry-on airline thing. Do people really think that a German violinist who bought a ticket on UA to fly FRA-IAD-TYS and back, was ever informed at any point in the transaction that one of her legs would be flown on a "no-carry-on" airline? I would think that she might have chosen a different route or travel option if that was the case.


Yes the operator and flight number is given the passenger. This passenger was a frequent flyer, they had the FAR on hand. This tells me it was not their first encounter with this. They are trying to avoid paying for the additional seat they would have been told about numerous times before.

Again from the "Contract of Carriage"

"Carry-on Free Baggage Allowance - UA will accept one piece of Carry-on Baggage free of charge, which, for purposes of this Rule, is referred to as the “Carry-on Free Baggage Allowance”, and one personal item such as a shoulder bag, backpack, briefcase, laptop bag or similar item, except, however, UA will not accept any Carry-on Baggage for passengers traveling on a Basic Economy fare and Basic Economy passengers whose baggage is checked at the gate will be charged the applicable checked bag service charge, plus a 25 USD/25 CAD gate handling service charge. Carry-on Baggage must not exceed the Maximum Outside Linear Dimensions of 9 inches (22 cm) x 14 inches (35 cm) x 22 inches (56 cm), which includes its wheels and handles. Personal items must not exceed 9 inches (22 cm) x 10 inches (25 cm) x 17 inches (43 cm), which includes any wheels and handles. A personal item that exceeds these maximum linear dimensions but is not greater than 9 inches (22 cm) x 14 inches (35 cm) x 22 inches (56 cm) will be considered as Carry-on Baggage. Carry-on Baggage or personal items suspected of being oversized may require being placed into a sizing unit to determine acceptability. Carry-on Baggage that exceeds the Maximum Linear Dimensions allowed or that exceeds the Carry-on Free Baggage Allowance will be considered as Checked Baggage and is subject to Checked Baggage service charges. For flights departing Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (YAP), the maximum weight of carry-on baggage is 25 lbs/11.3 kg; any bag heavier than this amount will be considered as Checked Baggage and is subject to Checked Baggage service charges, such as Excess and Oversize/Overweight Baggage charges. Carry-on Baggage may be stored in carry-on compartments of the aircraft if so equipped, or it must be retained in the Passenger’s custody and stored under a seat or in an overhead compartment approved for the carriage of such Baggage. See Rule 23 F) 5) below for UA’s Carry-on policy regarding musical instruments. Carry-on Baggage is subject to the following additional conditions:
Operations, space constraints, security directives and/or other safety considerations may require limitations to the allowable Carry-on Baggage on a specific flight.
UA reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to determine the suitability and place of storage of any items to be carried in the cabin of the aircraft.
UA reserves the right to check a Passenger’s Carry-on Baggage for any reason, including if the Carry-on Baggage cannot be safely stowed, or the Carry-on Baggage is not compliant with the Maximum Outside Linear Dimensions specified in section 2) above."


"Musical Instruments - Musical instruments may be carried as Checked Baggage or as Cabin Baggage subject to the provisions in D) above. As part of a Passenger’s one carry-on plus one personal item allowance and subject to UA’s Carry-on Baggage conditions specified in Section B 2) a) and b) above, a small musical instrument such as a violin or a guitar can be carried in lieu of a carry-on bag if the instrument can be stowed safely in an overhead bin or under the Passenger’s seat and there is space for its stowage at the time the Passenger boards. If the musical instrument appears too large or irregularly shaped to fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment, or, if at the time the customer boards the aircraft, there is no space to stow it, it will not be accepted for in cabin stowage and will be checked to the Passenger’s final destination and subject to the applicable checked-baggage and gate-checked handling charges. In the case of Basic Economy passengers, a small musical instrument may be carried on in addition to a personal item if it can be stowed safely in an overhead bin or under the Passenger’s seat and there is space for its stowage at the time the Passenger boards. A larger musical instrument brought to the gate as a carry-on by a Basic Economy passenger and any instrument that cannot fit under the Passenger’s seat or in open overhead bin space available at the time the Basic Economy passenger boards will be checked to the Passenger’s final destination and subject to the applicable checked-baggage and gate-checked handling charges. All musical instruments, whether carry-on or checked, should be in a hard sided case, and stringed instruments should have the strings loosened to protect the neck from damage due to expansion and contraction which result from temperature variations. Checked instruments cannot exceed 165 pounds and 150 linear inches (or the applicable weight/size restriction for the aircraft) and will be included in determining the Baggage Allowance, and when in excess (over 2 checked items), overweight or oversize (115 linear inches is considered oversized, and over 51 pounds (23.1 kg) is considered overweight), will be subject to the Excess, Oversize, and Overweight Baggage Charge. Except for certain International Carriage subject to the terms of the Montreal Convention, UA is not liable for damage to musical instruments or musical instrument cases."

from https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/contra ... ml#rule-23
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 4729
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:09 pm

Many years ago, United got all of the regionals together to combine the ground handling procedures. This is called RGOM,
Regional ground operations manual. Before every airline has their own rules for ground handling it often resulted in procedural violations because agents weren’t sure which airline was operating the flight or were confused etc. this streamlined many procedures to all be the same. Perhaps it is is time to have a similar program for customer service related issues such as this. There are too many carriers with their own policies that are contradictory to the ticketing carrier.
 
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zeke
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:11 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
On balance, it seems maybe the FA could have gone to an extraordinary length and put the violin in a seat, just to be nice, if the seat was available. But as it does not fit under a seat, it is not a personal item by the normal definition AFAIK. But what musical instrument is? A flute or piccolo? What about a tuba? United created this problem by volunteering a very odd policy.


Keep in mind that when placed on a seat, it must be on a seat next to them and not impeded emergency evacuation, that means over 2/3 of the seats on that aircraft are not suitable (the aircraft is 3 across). It can only be placed on a window seat where the is no emergency exit and the passenger must seat in the isle seat so the instrument does not block their emergency access.
 
Ertro
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:15 pm

silentbob wrote:
Ertro wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
This construction doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, then plainly it cannot be placed under the seat and therefore it cannot qualify as a personal item.
Otherwise we could try to force a tuba under the seat and count it as a personal item.


"under the seat" is in no way relevant concept in this issue as united policy regards to musical instruments. There might be other kinds of personal items that do fit under the seat but this is not such. A Guitar can be a personal item per united policy and there are no guitars that fit under the seat. Forget fitting under the seat as criteria.


Actually, almost everything you said is incorrect.

Personal items have specific dimensional size limitation for an air carrier, generally matching the amount of space under the seat. Neither a tuba, nor guitar, meet the size limitations to be a personal item and would be required to be gate checked for the flight on the carrier in question. Certain words and phrases have very specific meanings and the vast majority of people that do not deal with it on a daily basis are not aware of those meanings. That lack of awareness however, does not change the reality.

A small midi controller keyboard, vocal processor, guitar pedalboard, piccolo, trumpet or other small instrument that fits under the seat would qualify as a personal item. Anything larger than items of that size could not be considered a personal item. The flight attendant did not choose the best phrasing to correct the passenger. That said, dealing with someone who believes they know more than the crew and is unwilling to accept that their understanding of the regulation is incorrect, often leads to frustration and that leads to less than ideal language.

I have no doubt that some regional FAs aren't aware or don't care about the regulation, or simply give in because it's easier than arguing with a passenger. However, as soon as they, or someone they know, gets a notice of violation about the issue, they start being a lot more careful. I've seen it first hand more than once.


Where exactly does it actually say in writing that the passengers understading of regulation is incorrect for even this discussion to be something else than less than ideal?

Is it not a federal law? Is company policy just enough authority to override federal law? Does FAA have some authority to override federal law? If there is not some specific authority to override federal law then does the regulation stand or does it not?

Neither "personal item" nor "under the seat" is relevant to the actual issue. The only thing that is relevant is the text of the FAR paragraph and words used in there and neither "personal item" not "under the seat" appear there. The only other relevant issue is where the legal authority to override this FAR regulation comes from and we still have not heard it.
 
stlAV8R
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:28 pm

zeke wrote:
LCDFlight wrote:
On balance, it seems maybe the FA could have gone to an extraordinary length and put the violin in a seat, just to be nice, if the seat was available. But as it does not fit under a seat, it is not a personal item by the normal definition AFAIK. But what musical instrument is? A flute or piccolo? What about a tuba? United created this problem by volunteering a very odd policy.


Keep in mind that when placed on a seat, it must be on a seat next to them and not impeded emergency evacuation, that means over 2/3 of the seats on that aircraft are not suitable (the aircraft is 3 across). It can only be placed on a window seat where the is no emergency exit and the passenger must seat in the isle seat so the instrument does not block their emergency access.

This is incorrect (at least it's not universal). Cabin baggage:
    a) preferably should be placed next to the passenger but isn't required. Usually just required to be in the same cabin. This is especially true for the 145 where it can be placed in an aisle seat on the 1-seat side. A restriction like that would be harmful to the cabin baggage program because of its lack of understanding and flexibility in a 1 seat side situation.
    b) can't obstruct exit, no smoking, and seatbelt signs.
    c) can't block access to the aisle. It can sit in the aisle seat but can't keep someone from getting to the aisle (can't be on the floor and in the aisle).
The list goes on but you get the idea. This is from the FAA. Now, you may find carriers be more restrictive but they cannot change the spirit of the law so they have to comply with at least these and the rest of the rules set forth.
 
stlAV8R
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:32 pm

Ertro wrote:
silentbob wrote:
Ertro wrote:

"under the seat" is in no way relevant concept in this issue as united policy regards to musical instruments. There might be other kinds of personal items that do fit under the seat but this is not such. A Guitar can be a personal item per united policy and there are no guitars that fit under the seat. Forget fitting under the seat as criteria.


Actually, almost everything you said is incorrect.

Personal items have specific dimensional size limitation for an air carrier, generally matching the amount of space under the seat. Neither a tuba, nor guitar, meet the size limitations to be a personal item and would be required to be gate checked for the flight on the carrier in question. Certain words and phrases have very specific meanings and the vast majority of people that do not deal with it on a daily basis are not aware of those meanings. That lack of awareness however, does not change the reality.

A small midi controller keyboard, vocal processor, guitar pedalboard, piccolo, trumpet or other small instrument that fits under the seat would qualify as a personal item. Anything larger than items of that size could not be considered a personal item. The flight attendant did not choose the best phrasing to correct the passenger. That said, dealing with someone who believes they know more than the crew and is unwilling to accept that their understanding of the regulation is incorrect, often leads to frustration and that leads to less than ideal language.

I have no doubt that some regional FAs aren't aware or don't care about the regulation, or simply give in because it's easier than arguing with a passenger. However, as soon as they, or someone they know, gets a notice of violation about the issue, they start being a lot more careful. I've seen it first hand more than once.


Where exactly does it actually say in writing that the passengers understading of regulation is incorrect for even this discussion to be something else than less than ideal?

Is it not a federal law? Is company policy just enough authority to override federal law? Does FAA have some authority to override federal law? If there is not some specific authority to override federal law then does the regulation stand or does it not?

Neither "personal item" nor "under the seat" is relevant to the actual issue. The only thing that is relevant is the text of the FAR paragraph and words used in there and neither "personal item" not "under the seat" appear there. The only other relevant issue is where the legal authority to override this FAR regulation comes from and we still have not heard it.

What's really of importance here is that the law says "approved stowage locations" meaning not just under the seat and not just an OHB. Closets are approved too and just because crew bags might be placed there, doesn't mean it overrides. I've had plenty of convos with FAs as a flight attendant manager about why they need to remove their bag and accept whatever is being put in there. They hate it and I get it but it's life.
 
bigb
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:32 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
Many years ago, United got all of the regionals together to combine the ground handling procedures. This is called RGOM,
Regional ground operations manual. Before every airline has their own rules for ground handling it often resulted in procedural violations because agents weren’t sure which airline was operating the flight or were confused etc. this streamlined many procedures to all be the same. Perhaps it is is time to have a similar program for customer service related issues such as this. There are too many carriers with their own policies that are contradictory to the ticketing carrier.


This isn’t a customer service related issue, this is issue of policy being enforced due to a no-carry baggage program due to the limitations of a 50 seat aircraft. You want this problem to go-away, tell United to get rid of their 50 seat aircraft or find a way to configure them in a way that allows carry-ons. This goes into opspecs and flight operation manual of the operator which you can’t have a single opspec or flight ops manual for multiple operating certificates.
 
Ertro
Posts: 192
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:36 pm

bigb wrote:
This isn’t a customer service related issue, this is issue of policy being enforced due to a no-carry baggage program due to the limitations of a 50 seat aircraft. You want this problem to go-away, tell United to get rid of their 50 seat aircraft or find a way to configure them in a way that allows carry-ons. This goes into opspecs and flight operation manual of the operator which you can’t have a single opspec or flight ops manual for multiple operating certificates.


You are making this sound like something dramatic is needed to be done when there is no need to do anything drastic. Just allow violins on half-empty flights when there is dozens of places where they could be stored. If the plane is full and there is no space then then the regulation allows not to have violins on board. Simple and not a problem in any kind of way. Just allow violins on half-empty flights. If the plane is almost full and there might or might not be space then the crew can state that "Sorry, the plane is full. No violins" Problem solved.
Last edited by Ertro on Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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zeke
Posts: 16357
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:37 pm

Ertro wrote:
Neither "personal item" nor "under the seat" is relevant to the actual issue. The only thing that is relevant is the text of the FAR paragraph and words used in there and neither "personal item" not "under the seat" appear there. The only other relevant issue is where the legal authority to override this FAR regulation comes from and we still have not heard it.


Actually ""under the seat" is very much the issue, as well as overhead compartment "suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat", and the carriers OpsSpec "requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA".

"251.3 (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"

Where this is not possible we go to the next regulation,

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 § 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."

So the FAA regulations state the passenger should have purchased an additional seat "The passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument. "

Note these regulations depending on what each aircarft is capable of, and what the carrier is approved to do. What determines if an instrument is small or large is if it "can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat"/

On a baby ejet that room for storage is not the same as a 777.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:37 pm

bigb wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Many years ago, United got all of the regionals together to combine the ground handling procedures. This is called RGOM,
Regional ground operations manual. Before every airline has their own rules for ground handling it often resulted in procedural violations because agents weren’t sure which airline was operating the flight or were confused etc. this streamlined many procedures to all be the same. Perhaps it is is time to have a similar program for customer service related issues such as this. There are too many carriers with their own policies that are contradictory to the ticketing carrier.


This isn’t a customer service related issue, this is issue of policy being enforced due to a no-carry baggage program due to the limitations of a 50 seat aircraft. You want this problem to go-away, tell United to get rid of their 50 seat aircraft or find a way to configure them in a way that allows carry-ons. This goes into opspecs and flight operation manual of the operator which you can’t have a single opspec or flight ops manual for multiple operating certificates.

This is very much a customer service issue and it has nothing to do with the plane only holding 50 seats. This is just a classic case (IMO) of not knowing the rules or refusing to be flexible as required. I see it all the time. Once people stop trying to always be right and stubborn (crew and passengers) and actually try to figure stuff out, these won't be headlines. Takes 2 seconds. The real problem lies in the pressure that is placed on crews and agents to get flights out so they default to "NO" instead of "I don't know, and let's figure it out". Fix that problem and then you'll see some progress.
 
Ertro
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:43 pm

zeke wrote:
...


Lets boil this down. Is there or is there not any suitable place to carry one violin on this aircraft type when it is being flown half-empty.
 
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zeke
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:44 pm

stlAV8R wrote:
This is incorrect (at least it's not universal). Cabin baggage:
    a) preferably should be placed next to the passenger but isn't required. Usually just required to be in the same cabin. This is especially true for the 145 where it can be placed in an aisle seat on the 1-seat side. A restriction like that would be harmful to the cabin baggage program because of its lack of understanding and flexibility in a 1 seat side situation.
    b) can't obstruct exit, no smoking, and seatbelt signs.
    c) can't block access to the aisle. It can sit in the aisle seat but can't keep someone from getting to the aisle (can't be on the floor and in the aisle).
The list goes on but you get the idea. This is from the FAA. Now, you may find carriers be more restrictive but they cannot change the spirit of the law so they have to comply with at least these and the rest of the rules set forth.


What I posted is straight from the UA "Contract of Carriage"

" Cabin Baggage Requiring a Seat:
Ticketed items are subject to thorough inspection.
Such items must be able to withstand the rigors of flight and should be packaged or covered, as necessary, to prevent contents from escaping and to avoid possible injury to other passengers. It is prohibited for either the instrument or the case to contain any object not otherwise permitted to be carried in an aircraft cabin because of the rules contained in this Contract, or any applicable law, regulation, rule, and/or security directive.
Ticketed items must be carried aboard the aircraft and strapped in a seat adjacent to the owner using the seatbelt securely (eliminating the possibility of shifting).
The weight of the item (including any case or covering) is not to impose any load on these seats or floor structure that exceeds the load limitations for these components, and cannot exceed 165 pounds, or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft.
No article secured to a seat may obstruct access to, or use of, any emergency or regular exit; block or protrude into any aisle or exit path; or obstruct any passenger’s view of the overhead fasten seatbelt and no smoking signs or any required exit sign or video monitor/screens.
NOTE: Due to the cabin configuration and FAA regulations, Cabin Baggage locations may vary.
[u]No article may be secured in an emergency exit seat.
A seat for ticketed Cabin Baggage must be reserved in advance and the applicable charges must be paid.
UA will charge 100 percent of the applicable Adult fare for the portion of the trip on which the extra seat is used. The Cabin Baggage will not be included in determining Baggage Allowance or Excess Baggage Charges."
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Topic Author
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:44 pm

Thank you all for the responses! This is truly proving to be an interesting debate - and most importantly, very respectful.

Question: If a person is allowed only one personal item that must fit under the seat, then what are the overhead bins for? I know that some very small aircraft have no overhead bins at all, but even the smallest Embraers have some sort of bin - so if the violin can't go in there, what is it for?

I'm not following the part about "one item only under the seat" in regards to jets that HAVE overhead bins.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:44 pm

zeke wrote:
Ertro wrote:
Neither "personal item" nor "under the seat" is relevant to the actual issue. The only thing that is relevant is the text of the FAR paragraph and words used in there and neither "personal item" not "under the seat" appear there. The only other relevant issue is where the legal authority to override this FAR regulation comes from and we still have not heard it.


Actually ""under the seat" is very much the issue, as well as overhead compartment "suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat", and the carriers OpsSpec "requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA".

"251.3 (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"

Where this is not possible we go to the next regulation,

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 § 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."

So the FAA regulations state the passenger should have purchased an additional seat "The passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument. "

Note these regulations depending on what each aircarft is capable of, and what the carrier is approved to do. What determines if an instrument is small or large is if it "can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat"/

On a baby ejet that room for storage is not the same as a 777.

Still wrong. I'll help you (and full disclosure I haven't seen the actual instrument). Go watch the video again. Behind the flight attendant and the flight deck door, you can see the only closet on the 145. It's pretty big. and as you've quoted it says a "suitable baggage compartment" which is what that is. I'm 100% sure if you open that door, you'll find 3 roller bags, 1-2 smaller bags, and probably a lunchbox. All things that should have been removed to accommodate her instrument assuming it fits in there. And if it was small enough for the gate agent to let her on, it's small enough to fit in that closet. The gate agent isn't just passing on a problem here, because, if it's way too big, the agent knows that problem will boomerang.
 
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zeke
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Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:46 pm

Ertro wrote:
Lets boil this down. Is there or is there not any suitable place to carry one violin on this aircraft type when it is being flown half-empty.


No, the instrument cannot be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat in accordance with 14 CFR § 251.3. Therefore in accordance with 14 CFR § 251.4 the passenger must purchase a ticket for an additional seat and strap the instrument to the seat,
 
bigb
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:50 pm

stlAV8R wrote:
bigb wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Many years ago, United got all of the regionals together to combine the ground handling procedures. This is called RGOM,
Regional ground operations manual. Before every airline has their own rules for ground handling it often resulted in procedural violations because agents weren’t sure which airline was operating the flight or were confused etc. this streamlined many procedures to all be the same. Perhaps it is is time to have a similar program for customer service related issues such as this. There are too many carriers with their own policies that are contradictory to the ticketing carrier.


This isn’t a customer service related issue, this is issue of policy being enforced due to a no-carry baggage program due to the limitations of a 50 seat aircraft. You want this problem to go-away, tell United to get rid of their 50 seat aircraft or find a way to configure them in a way that allows carry-ons. This goes into opspecs and flight operation manual of the operator which you can’t have a single opspec or flight ops manual for multiple operating certificates.

This is very much a customer service issue and it has nothing to do with the plane only holding 50 seats. This is just a classic case (IMO) of not knowing the rules or refusing to be flexible as required. I see it all the time. Once people stop trying to always be right and stubborn (crew and passengers) and actually try to figure stuff out, these won't be headlines. Takes 2 seconds. The real problem lies in the pressure that is placed on crews and agents to get flights out so they default to "NO" instead of "I don't know, and let's figure it out". Fix that problem and then you'll see some progress.


Of course it is, you as a TSA FA and me as a former pilot of a different 50 seat operator from TSA. How many frustrating interactions that we’ve had with customers because them be surprised about a no-carry on policy due to the aircraft inability to accommodate carry-ons. Of course there are ways to handle the matter in a more civilized way, as a Captain, I’ve stepped in to diffuse the situation hundreds of times.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:50 pm

zeke wrote:
stlAV8R wrote:
This is incorrect (at least it's not universal). Cabin baggage:
    a) preferably should be placed next to the passenger but isn't required. Usually just required to be in the same cabin. This is especially true for the 145 where it can be placed in an aisle seat on the 1-seat side. A restriction like that would be harmful to the cabin baggage program because of its lack of understanding and flexibility in a 1 seat side situation.
    b) can't obstruct exit, no smoking, and seatbelt signs.
    c) can't block access to the aisle. It can sit in the aisle seat but can't keep someone from getting to the aisle (can't be on the floor and in the aisle).
The list goes on but you get the idea. This is from the FAA. Now, you may find carriers be more restrictive but they cannot change the spirit of the law so they have to comply with at least these and the rest of the rules set forth.


What I posted is straight from the UA "Contract of Carriage"

" Cabin Baggage Requiring a Seat:
Ticketed items are subject to thorough inspection.
Such items must be able to withstand the rigors of flight and should be packaged or covered, as necessary, to prevent contents from escaping and to avoid possible injury to other passengers. It is prohibited for either the instrument or the case to contain any object not otherwise permitted to be carried in an aircraft cabin because of the rules contained in this Contract, or any applicable law, regulation, rule, and/or security directive.
Ticketed items must be carried aboard the aircraft and strapped in a seat adjacent to the owner using the seatbelt securely (eliminating the possibility of shifting).
The weight of the item (including any case or covering) is not to impose any load on these seats or floor structure that exceeds the load limitations for these components, and cannot exceed 165 pounds, or the applicable weight restrictions for the aircraft.
No article secured to a seat may obstruct access to, or use of, any emergency or regular exit; block or protrude into any aisle or exit path; or obstruct any passenger’s view of the overhead fasten seatbelt and no smoking signs or any required exit sign or video monitor/screens.
NOTE: Due to the cabin configuration and FAA regulations, Cabin Baggage locations may vary.
[u]No article may be secured in an emergency exit seat.
A seat for ticketed Cabin Baggage must be reserved in advance and the applicable charges must be paid.
UA will charge 100 percent of the applicable Adult fare for the portion of the trip on which the extra seat is used. The Cabin Baggage will not be included in determining Baggage Allowance or Excess Baggage Charges."

But what you quoted here in your reply and what you declared before aren't the same. While underlining above, you forgot the "NOTE" that says locations may vary. They wrote that specifically to address that it MIGHT not be next to you like they want as well as you may not be able to sit in the cabin you want. Also, nothing in here says it must be in a window seat. So it's not relegated to just 1/3 of the plane. The part about blocking signs and exits are mainly because large instruments (think cello) can be too tall and therefore can't block what people need to see in an emergency. It basically is saying they can't sit on the floor either.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:52 pm

bigb wrote:
stlAV8R wrote:
bigb wrote:

This isn’t a customer service related issue, this is issue of policy being enforced due to a no-carry baggage program due to the limitations of a 50 seat aircraft. You want this problem to go-away, tell United to get rid of their 50 seat aircraft or find a way to configure them in a way that allows carry-ons. This goes into opspecs and flight operation manual of the operator which you can’t have a single opspec or flight ops manual for multiple operating certificates.

This is very much a customer service issue and it has nothing to do with the plane only holding 50 seats. This is just a classic case (IMO) of not knowing the rules or refusing to be flexible as required. I see it all the time. Once people stop trying to always be right and stubborn (crew and passengers) and actually try to figure stuff out, these won't be headlines. Takes 2 seconds. The real problem lies in the pressure that is placed on crews and agents to get flights out so they default to "NO" instead of "I don't know, and let's figure it out". Fix that problem and then you'll see some progress.


Of course it is, you as a TSA FA and me as a former pilot of a different 50 seat operator from TSA. How many frustrating interactions that we’ve had with customers because them be surprised about a no-carry on policy due to the aircraft inability to accommodate carry-ons. Of course there are ways to handle the matter in a more civilized way, as a Captain, I’ve stepped in to diffuse the situation hundreds of times.

You're exactly right. The flying public at-large doesn't know nor care about no-carry-on policies and whatnot. They can barely tell the difference between any two plane types except when they're really large or small.
 
bigb
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:53 pm

stlAV8R wrote:
zeke wrote:
Ertro wrote:
Neither "personal item" nor "under the seat" is relevant to the actual issue. The only thing that is relevant is the text of the FAR paragraph and words used in there and neither "personal item" not "under the seat" appear there. The only other relevant issue is where the legal authority to override this FAR regulation comes from and we still have not heard it.


Actually ""under the seat" is very much the issue, as well as overhead compartment "suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat", and the carriers OpsSpec "requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA".

"251.3 (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"

Where this is not possible we go to the next regulation,

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 § 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."

So the FAA regulations state the passenger should have purchased an additional seat "The passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument. "

Note these regulations depending on what each aircarft is capable of, and what the carrier is approved to do. What determines if an instrument is small or large is if it "can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat"/

On a baby ejet that room for storage is not the same as a 777.

Still wrong. I'll help you (and full disclosure I haven't seen the actual instrument). Go watch the video again. Behind the flight attendant and the flight deck door, you can see the only closet on the 145. It's pretty big. and as you've quoted it says a "suitable baggage compartment" which is what that is. I'm 100% sure if you open that door, you'll find 3 roller bags, 1-2 smaller bags, and probably a lunchbox. All things that should have been removed to accommodate her instrument assuming it fits in there. And if it was small enough for the gate agent to let her on, it's small enough to fit in that closet. The gate agent isn't just passing on a problem here, because, if it's way too big, the agent knows that problem will boomerang.


Is that designated as a crew baggage location or no for Commutair? Some Flight Ops manuals do specified crew baggage location the aircraft for the baggage and weight and balance program. This was the case for our shop, the closets on the CRJ-700 and OHB of the last rows were the only two authorized location for crew badge stowage.

I know it wasn’t the case at TSA based in your previous post, but it might be the case at C5.
Last edited by bigb on Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
jetmatt777
Posts: 4729
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:55 pm

It's hilarious that the CommutAir aircraft are "no carryon aircraft" until one of their deadheading or standby crewmembers boards the airplane with their 3 carryon bags and they all somehow fit. The bins should be permanently locked if they want to be a "no carryon carrier".

The fact that CommutAir and United's statement infer that the FA was wrong should be enough to end this argument.

In an email to Classic FM a spokesperson for CommutAir, the regional airline operating on behalf of United for this flight, said: “We regret this misunderstanding and are carefully reviewing all guidance issued to our employees specific to musical instruments to avoid this from happening again in the future.”


A United Airlines spokesperson added: “This isn’t the experience we want for passengers traveling on CommutAir. Our carry-on bag policy complies with FAA regulations which permit musical instruments to be stored in our overhead bins as a personal item.”


https://www.classicfm.com/discover-musi ... gulations/
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:57 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
Thank you all for the responses! This is truly proving to be an interesting debate - and most importantly, very respectful.

Question: If a person is allowed only one personal item that must fit under the seat, then what are the overhead bins for? I know that some very small aircraft have no overhead bins at all, but even the smallest Embraers have some sort of bin - so if the violin can't go in there, what is it for?

I'm not following the part about "one item only under the seat" in regards to jets that HAVE overhead bins.

Basically what's happened here is that airlines have a standard size that they accept for carry-ons. I haven't checked but they're not always the same across the board. But what is the same is that the airline will allow you to bring a carry-on no matter the aircraft. And majority of planes can accept that bag. So, even though the small plane has bins, they know that they don't fit so they have an alternative solution. The bins were just a product of poor design or evolving trends I guess you could say. Think about how the availability, size, and placement of cup holders in your car has changed but that doesn't stop you from ordering a big gulp from 7-Eleven or them from selling it. As cars are newer, cup holders are bigger and not covering the dash or spaced further apart to accommodate 2 big gulps. But that old car still runs and doesn't have a car note so you make it work. You go buy a window cup holder from Auto Zone or just hold it. You make it work and that's what airlines are doing.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:04 pm

bigb wrote:
stlAV8R wrote:
zeke wrote:

Actually ""under the seat" is very much the issue, as well as overhead compartment "suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat", and the carriers OpsSpec "requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the FAA".

"251.3 (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"

Where this is not possible we go to the next regulation,

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 § 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."

So the FAA regulations state the passenger should have purchased an additional seat "The passenger wishing to carry the instrument in the aircraft cabin has purchased an additional seat to accommodate the instrument. "

Note these regulations depending on what each aircarft is capable of, and what the carrier is approved to do. What determines if an instrument is small or large is if it "can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat"/

On a baby ejet that room for storage is not the same as a 777.

Still wrong. I'll help you (and full disclosure I haven't seen the actual instrument). Go watch the video again. Behind the flight attendant and the flight deck door, you can see the only closet on the 145. It's pretty big. and as you've quoted it says a "suitable baggage compartment" which is what that is. I'm 100% sure if you open that door, you'll find 3 roller bags, 1-2 smaller bags, and probably a lunchbox. All things that should have been removed to accommodate her instrument assuming it fits in there. And if it was small enough for the gate agent to let her on, it's small enough to fit in that closet. The gate agent isn't just passing on a problem here, because, if it's way too big, the agent knows that problem will boomerang.


Is that designated as a crew baggage location or no for Commutair? Some Flight Ops manuals do specified crew baggage location the aircraft for the baggage and weight and balance program. This was the case for our shop, the closets on the CRJ-700 and OHB of the last rows were the only two authorized location for crew badge stowage.

I know it wasn’t the case at TSA based in your previous post, but it might be the case at C5.

Well you are correct for weight and balance purposes so you could properly calculate weights on the plane but it had a dual purpose. That's why it's also placarded with a maximum weight and we always had to make sure the placard was there during pre-flight checks. As far as if it's C5 crew bags only, I don't know but I doubt it because then they can't carry other things like live organs in there.
 
bigb
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:13 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
Thank you all for the responses! This is truly proving to be an interesting debate - and most importantly, very respectful.

Question: If a person is allowed only one personal item that must fit under the seat, then what are the overhead bins for? I know that some very small aircraft have no overhead bins at all, but even the smallest Embraers have some sort of bin - so if the violin can't go in there, what is it for?

I'm not following the part about "one item only under the seat" in regards to jets that HAVE overhead bins.


Think of the no carry-on policy as a one size fit all bandaid solution to keep boarding process from affecting on-time performance. It’s easier to regulate forcing folks to gate-check carry ons for 50 seat aircraft then to regulate individual carry-ons per say. 1 bag might fit, another won’t and the won’t that doesn’t fit will have stop the boarding so that bag can make its way by up front just to be gate checked. It just starts to making the boarding process a cluster especially when you only have less than 20 minutes to board and the agents want the door shut 10 mins prior to departure so that they can have the flight out on-time. That what it really boils down to.

I avoid 50 seaters as much as I can because of this.
 
IADCA
Posts: 2390
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:31 pm

bigb wrote:
IADCA wrote:
bigb wrote:
You have to remember, airlines can set guidelines/policies that are more restrictive than regulations. These policies and guidelines would also be signed off by the FAA as well if there is a policy in the FOM. Considering we are talking about commut air, which is a no large carry-on airline, I can see where the issue lies.

Luckily the pilot has intervened.


Not in this case they can't. The relevant FAR is as follows (https://www.transportation.gov/sites/do ... 20rule.pdf):

"§ 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."

The rule is unambiguous: "Shall" means the carrier must permit it. A carrier rule saying they can force people to check small musical instruments directly contravenes the language and purpose of the regulation, which is clearly explained in the link above.

phatfarmlines wrote:
Was this rule driven by the infamous guitar breaking by UA over a decade ago, which happened to be checked in?

(Not that a guitar would be able to fit into a CRJ overhead bin, because it won't.....)


Yes, it was. There are other parts of the reg that cover instruments in checked baggage.


This is where you are incorrect, in this case they have otherwise Commutair no carryon limitation wouldn’t have been signed off by the FAA. If the musician had a personal item, the music instrument is supposed to go into the cargo hold.

This no carry-on opsec is a copy cat amongst all 50 seat operators in the US. It’s the exact same one we had at my 50 operator when I was there. Trust me, as Captain I had to intervene multiple times to defuse the situation by taking the instrument down myself personally loading it into the cargo hold and went and got it after block in because I understand the value musical instruments.


The point is that their guideline ISN'T more restrictive than the regulation. It doesn't say "no instruments in cabin; you must check them." It's simply a notice that the regulation as written doesn't apply how people might assume it does because their planes can't satisfy the space criteria for anything larger than a personal item. The regulation only requires accommodation of an item when (a) and (b) apply; Commutair takes the position that they don't - no place to store such items safely if they are larger than a personal item - so they functionally can never provide the space. Their policy simply points out that nothing over personal item size will fit, and thus they comply with the regulation as best they can but that's not very well. The FAA approves policies like that if and when the carrier can't comply with the regulation so that passengers have some (even theoretical) way to know ahead of time. It's not that they contravene the reg: I assume they'd happily accommodate an instrument that fits under the seat as a personal item. It's just "hey, uh, we're doing our best here, but..." But clearly the communication process failed here.

It sounds like they might need some better disclosure in the ticket-purchasing process that the flight allows only items of personal item size and FA might need some training on how to phrase the issue (it's not that they go with airline policy instead of the FAA, it's that the airline policy is what they and the FAA agree is the best they can do under the reg, and they can't take an instrument that doesn't fit in a bin or under a seat, and sorry that our bins are tiny). Simply adding a sentence to their "musical instruments as carry-ons" section to note that on certain UAX plane types, no carry-ons can be accommodated so they can only take things that fit under the seat would help a lot. (Incidentally, I think I may have sown some confusion of my own by including in my post a hypothetical policy as an example; I didn't mean to imply that that's what the policy at issue actually says.)

Cubsrule wrote:
zeke wrote:
CommutAir is a no carry on carrier, the federal law does not apply. This is clearly stated in their terms and conditions https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/tr ... ry-on.html


I think a lot of the problem here is that words matter, and both this statement and the f/a's statement are not correct. The regulation does apply, but it specifically carves situations where the instrument cannot be transported safely in a designated place for carryons or personal items.


Exactly. I sometimes wonder if carry-on baggage policies might be easier for passengers to grasp on regionals if CR2s and ER135-145 didn't have overheads at all.
 
User avatar
Coronado990
Posts: 1567
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 2:12 am

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 8:05 pm

Oh well...back to the clickety-clack of the railroad track. Oh yeah, no high speed rail options.
 
User avatar
JetBuddy
Posts: 2713
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:04 am

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 8:39 pm

It's likely that the FA didn't know about this special FAA rule. She might never have been told about it during her training.

Either way, it's smart to be a bit more humble when in a position like her.
 
stlAV8R
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 8:58 pm

IADCA wrote:
bigb wrote:
IADCA wrote:

Not in this case they can't. The relevant FAR is as follows (https://www.transportation.gov/sites/do ... 20rule.pdf):

"§ 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."

The rule is unambiguous: "Shall" means the carrier must permit it. A carrier rule saying they can force people to check small musical instruments directly contravenes the language and purpose of the regulation, which is clearly explained in the link above.



Yes, it was. There are other parts of the reg that cover instruments in checked baggage.


This is where you are incorrect, in this case they have otherwise Commutair no carryon limitation wouldn’t have been signed off by the FAA. If the musician had a personal item, the music instrument is supposed to go into the cargo hold.

This no carry-on opsec is a copy cat amongst all 50 seat operators in the US. It’s the exact same one we had at my 50 operator when I was there. Trust me, as Captain I had to intervene multiple times to defuse the situation by taking the instrument down myself personally loading it into the cargo hold and went and got it after block in because I understand the value musical instruments.


The point is that their guideline ISN'T more restrictive than the regulation. It doesn't say "no instruments in cabin; you must check them." It's simply a notice that the regulation as written doesn't apply how people might assume it does because their planes can't satisfy the space criteria for anything larger than a personal item. The regulation only requires accommodation of an item when (a) and (b) apply; Commutair takes the position that they don't - no place to store such items safely if they are larger than a personal item - so they functionally can never provide the space. Their policy simply points out that nothing over personal item size will fit, and thus they comply with the regulation as best they can but that's not very well. The FAA approves policies like that if and when the carrier can't comply with the regulation so that passengers have some (even theoretical) way to know ahead of time. It's not that they contravene the reg: I assume they'd happily accommodate an instrument that fits under the seat as a personal item. It's just "hey, uh, we're doing our best here, but..." But clearly the communication process failed here.

It sounds like they might need some better disclosure in the ticket-purchasing process that the flight allows only items of personal item size and FA might need some training on how to phrase the issue (it's not that they go with airline policy instead of the FAA, it's that the airline policy is what they and the FAA agree is the best they can do under the reg, and they can't take an instrument that doesn't fit in a bin or under a seat, and sorry that our bins are tiny). Simply adding a sentence to their "musical instruments as carry-ons" section to note that on certain UAX plane types, no carry-ons can be accommodated so they can only take things that fit under the seat would help a lot. (Incidentally, I think I may have sown some confusion of my own by including in my post a hypothetical policy as an example; I didn't mean to imply that that's what the policy at issue actually says.)

Cubsrule wrote:
zeke wrote:
CommutAir is a no carry on carrier, the federal law does not apply. This is clearly stated in their terms and conditions https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/tr ... ry-on.html


I think a lot of the problem here is that words matter, and both this statement and the f/a's statement are not correct. The regulation does apply, but it specifically carves situations where the instrument cannot be transported safely in a designated place for carryons or personal items.


Exactly. I sometimes wonder if carry-on baggage policies might be easier for passengers to grasp on regionals if CR2s and ER135-145 didn't have overheads at all.

All this is just misguided thought. There is an approved place onboard and the FA didn't handle it appropriately and, as someone else graciously pointed out, can be inferred from the article's quotes from both airlines. The closet serves a purpose too.

JetBuddy wrote:

It's likely that the FA didn't know about this special FAA rule. She might never have been told about it during her training.

Either way, it's smart to be a bit more humble when in a position like her.

I can tell you she was taught at some point in time. You're required as an FA to go thru that entire manual page by page in training and at some point would have needed to address this scenario. It also serves dual purpose teaching this because it's an opportunity to talk about why the closet has a weight placard and when the FAA does checks, they see if you make sure it's there for every pre-flight you do.
 
User avatar
spinkid
Posts: 1933
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2001 5:59 am

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 9:12 pm

What I dislike about this story is the amount of attention it gets. Ultimately the captain allowed the instrument to fly. Many of you seem to be flabbergasted that the FA did not know the regulation. I tried putting myself in her shoes for a moment. She likely doesn't earn much and is the only FA on the plane. The very FIRST person to board walks on with more than one carry on and for all we know she said "I'm sorry ma'am but we'll have to gate check one of your carry ons as we only allow one" and was met with "This is a Violin, don't you know its the LAW that I can carry it on, I absolutely refuse to check it"................Even if the violinist was sweet as can be, she is still the lone FA. Perhaps recently hired and not having encountered this situation before and trying to board the rest of the passengers, deal with this situation while feeling the mental pressure of having to get the boarding done quickly and not wanting to disturb the captain right away, but eventually does............Situation is solved and everyone is on their way.
The legal issue says it can travel in the cabin "if space permits". Its likely a bigger than usual case for a Violin.........................There are also much larger instruments (Cellos, Harps, Tubas, etc) that must fly with cargo due to their size, especially on a plane of that size.
 
silentbob
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:26 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 9:18 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
It's hilarious that the CommutAir aircraft are "no carryon aircraft" until one of their deadheading or standby crewmembers boards the airplane with their 3 carryon bags and they all somehow fit. The bins should be permanently locked if they want to be a "no carryon carrier".

The fact that CommutAir and United's statement infer that the FA was wrong should be enough to end this argument.

In an email to Classic FM a spokesperson for CommutAir, the regional airline operating on behalf of United for this flight, said: “We regret this misunderstanding and are carefully reviewing all guidance issued to our employees specific to musical instruments to avoid this from happening again in the future.”


A United Airlines spokesperson added: “This isn’t the experience we want for passengers traveling on CommutAir. Our carry-on bag policy complies with FAA regulations which permit musical instruments to be stored in our overhead bins as a personal item.”


https://www.classicfm.com/discover-musi ... gulations/

In my experience, airlines often throw employees under the bus publicly, even when the employee was right. Public relations is more important to them than proving the staff was right in a lot of cases, especially minor issues like this. For major things they're more willing to back up their staff, when they're right.

EDIT: please note the CommutAir never says the FA was wrong and the UA statement only refers to the UA policy, which may well be (and likely is) different than what the FAA approved for CommutAir.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16357
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: "We Don't Go With Federal Law" Says Flight Attendant

Thu Sep 02, 2021 10:01 pm

stlAV8R wrote:
While underlining above, you forgot the "NOTE" that says locations may vary. They wrote that specifically to address that it MIGHT not be next to you like they want as well as you may not be able to sit in the cabin you want.


The note is to cover configuration differences between types, and seat layout variations of the same type. 5C on a ERJ is not the same a 737, or a 777, and even within the 737 and 777 configurations vary. I have seen it heaps of times where passengers have booked particular seats, and a different type was subsequently subbed in. Passengers get heated because they were not consulted for the aircraft swap and the are reassigned seats.

Regardless of type, emergency egress cannot be impleaded "No article secured to a seat may obstruct access to, or use of, any emergency or regular exit; block or protrude into any aisle or exit path", on the ERJ that is the aisle, over wing exits, and forward exits. The item is to be next to the passenger, the responsibility for the securing and maintaining that article is up to the passenger, the airline accepts no liability.

stlAV8R wrote:
There is an approved place onboard and the FA didn't handle it appropriately and, as someone else graciously pointed out, can be inferred from the article's quotes from both airlines. The closet serves a purpose too.


The comments from both United and their subsidiary I saw no indication that policy was not followed, just the delivery of the information was not what they expected. It is clear that this carrier, like many other carriers that operate smaller aircraft have a published no carry on policy, that would be the policy the FAA approved.

Their written policy is also clear were passenger items are to be stored and what they may bring with them.

I understand the passenger brought a handbag, a small backpack (which was put under the seat infront), and the violin onboard. They were seated on the left side single row where there is no overhead storage.

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