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Robert Niles

Musicians' union joins call to boycott Delta Airlines

June 11, 2006 at 4:01 AM

The American Federation of Musicians, the largest union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada, is calling on its 100,000 members to boycott Delta Airlines over the airline's refusal to let musicians carry their instruments with them on board flights.

The story's nothing new to Violinist.com, as we've been discussing Delta's hostile attitude toward violinists since last month. Violinist.com member Emil Chudnovsky called for site members to boycott Delta, and now the AFM is calling for the same, too.

The AFM has worked with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and U.S. airlines to educate them on the need for musicians to be able to carry fragile, valuable and sometimes, historic, instruments with them in the cabin, instead of leaving them with baggage handlers untrained in the care of such valuable cargo. Indeed, U.S. law limits the amount that airlines can be held liable for damaged, destroyed or lost luggage -- limits set far below the value of even low-grade, factory violins.

The TSA has written a letter, distributed by the AFM to its members, requesting that airline personnel accomodate professional musicians travelling with their instruments. But Delta's employees routinely ignore that request and the airline's policy has been to check all musical instruments, regardless of the airline's inability to care for them properly in the baggage hold.

In an article in the June 2006 issue of Internation Musician, AFM President Thomas F. Lee wrote, "The Federation has spoken with Delta's representatives, but without success. It appears that Delta has no concern about instrument damage. As a result, the AFM, its members, and all musicians must take a different approach to this problem. We must publicize this unfair treatment."

From Emil Chudnovsky
Posted on June 11, 2006 at 4:56 AM
I've never been so tempted to join the Union. I think I will now. First time I ever approved so highly of their priorities.

Oh, and I must remember to call Delta and go through the booking procedure for New Zealand and pull out of the deal right before giving them credit card info.

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