Violins on airplanes, again

Edited: August 20, 2021, 12:35 PM · It appears that despite federal regulations, some airlines are still trying to prevent violinists from bringing their instruments aboard:


https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/violin/flight-attendant-denies-federal-instrument-regulations/

Maybe it's time to recall the United Breaks Guitars video...

Replies (19)

August 20, 2021, 1:44 PM · One should expect United Airlines employees to be grumpy and defensive, since most everyone is now aware that both planes which hit the Twin Towers were United flights.

Over-assertiveness is one way of attempting to make up for past failures.

August 20, 2021, 2:10 PM · It's been 20 years. Is that still part of the culture and training-- more than other shops?
August 20, 2021, 3:46 PM · I've been extremely displeased with United much more often than any other airline. Good to know that this kind of nonsense is still going on out there! Like the violinist in this story, I keep a copy of the federal rules about this in my instrument cases. Ugh! I'm glad she was able to work it out. It was just a couple of years ago that Rachel Barton Pine had to find another flight to Albuquerque for the same reason - except in that case the pilot sided with the flight attendant.
August 21, 2021, 12:46 PM · Mr. Simchych, I was partly kidding, and partly not. In some cultures, retributive actions for past perceived wrongs can carry on for thousands of years.
August 21, 2021, 1:53 PM · Yes, indeed Mr. Burgiss!
August 21, 2021, 5:00 PM · I don't fly on United. I've never had a problem with Delta. Indeed, they have always gone out of their way to find a safe place for my violin. Most of the time it is placed in a closet, and when I get off the airplane, a flight attendant is holding it for me and smiling.
August 21, 2021, 6:04 PM · "We don't go with federal law" -- that's a pretty damning admission. Care to talk about what other federal laws you don't follow?

I've traveled a lot with my viola, and I've been fortunate to never have a bad experience; the few times I arrived too late to put my viola in the overhead bins, I was offered space in the coat closet, and on one occasion, when the coat closets were full, my viola went in the cockpit. Still, there is always a copy of the relevant federal statute in the music pocket, in case I ever run into problems. It only takes one person to ruin things.

Edited: August 22, 2021, 6:18 AM · I often travel with two of my violins in a double case. The flight attendants break into a broad smile and welcome us onboard.
All joking aside, there's a lot to be said for saying nothing unless you're challenged. I usually have one of Dimitri's double cases as hand luggage, haven't had a problem so far
August 22, 2021, 8:26 AM · That double case is also a great theft deterrent.

I've not had a problem on international flights (mostly premium economy), but have to be careful on regional jets. More often, I try to strip down to the dart-shaped single case. In a pinch, I suppose I could do the Timms shaped case, which is quite svelte.

August 22, 2021, 8:26 AM · That double case is also a great theft deterrent.

I've not had a problem on international flights (mostly premium economy), but have to be careful on regional jets. More often, I try to strip down to the dart-shaped single case. In a pinch, I suppose I could do the Timms shaped case, which is quite svelte.

August 22, 2021, 8:49 AM · "We don't go with Federal law" reminds me of another famous quote: "We're going to be in the Hudson." This kind of quote deserves viral distribution as a meme.
August 25, 2021, 1:49 PM · I've had my best overall luck by walking onto the plane with the violin/case slung in the position of a backpack. The length of the case may exceed the "official" allowed dimensions, but it is so less bulky than many backpacks, that it seems to fly under the radar.

Another strategy which has mostly worked for me:
I approach the gate agent when I first get to the gate, and politely ask if I can board early, since I want there to be enough space for my multi-thousand-dollar instrument. Most of these agents will already know (or quickly figure out) that a bag or two of clothes getting bumped into the baggage hold when space runs out, involves much less liability risk for them and their employer, than doing so with an expensive musical instrument.

August 25, 2021, 2:12 PM · The shoulder strap covers a lot of ills. If you're tall enough, ticket collectors might not even notice the case.
August 28, 2021, 12:49 AM · AA 011 north tower
UA 175 south tower
AA 077 Pentagon
UA 093 Shanksville, PA
Edited: September 3, 2021, 2:27 AM · Then there is this...Delta also strikes again.

https://slippedisc.com/2021/09/delta-to-violinist-put-your-6m-strad-in-the-hold/

September 5, 2021, 2:19 PM · Haven't flown with an instrument since November 2019 to Philadelphia from Los Angeles, but using the Gewa Pure shaped case, which is very small, I've not had an issue with JetBlue, which is the airline I've tried to use most of the time for cross-country flights. I always pay the little extra for the extra legroom, sit in the first few rows, and opportunity to put my instrument in the overhead bin first, and have not had any issues.
September 5, 2021, 2:21 PM · JetBlue has always been very easy for me to deal with. And the legroom options only improve that.
September 5, 2021, 3:45 PM · I always try to fly Southwest when I have to fly with a violin, and pay extra for the early-bird check-in. Fingers crossed, no problems so far.
September 5, 2021, 4:07 PM · Mike, smacking is no longer politically correct!


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