Deer Tick Incident Draws National Attention

Deer Tick guitarist John McCauley and singer-songwriter wife Vanessa Carlton were delayed on a trip to the Newport Folk Festival when U.S. Airways wouldn’t let McCauley store his guitar in the cabin. 

Photo: John Davisson
Forecastle Festival, Waterfront Park, Louisville, Ky.

The couple was traveling from Nashville to Rhode Island for the event when were told they could not board a connecting flight in Philadelphia.

The airline later apologized, paid for his airfare and gave him vouchers for the train that took him to Newport. “Despite a federal law concerning the transport of instruments on commercial airlines, musicians continue to report similar experiences, as well as the loss, theft, or damage to their instruments when they have been required to place them in the baggage hold,” U.S. Sen Jack Reed said in a statement. “If an instrument passes through security and can be stowed safely, it should be permitted in the airplane cabin.”

Part of the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012 allows a passenger “to carry a violin, guitar or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin,” according to the Providence Journal.

Reed has asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to speed up implementation of the law.

“We have a lot of great musicians come to Rhode Island for our world-renowned music festivals, and they shouldn’t have to deal with arbitrary and conflicting storage policies from one airline to the next. There should be clear rules of the road,” Reed said.