Cellists and airlines at odds

  • Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:01 a.m.

A music lover might marvel at a cellistís bowing and be amazed at the extent of his repertoire.

But audience members likely donít consider one very challenging aspect of a cellistís performance: flying to the performance with his cumbersome instrument.

Cellists who perform regularly are accustomed to lugging around a case the size of a small adult. Yet their travel is more difficult now because of changes in airline policies.

As recently reported in the Los Angeles Times, cellistsí instruments can be worth millions of dollars. They are too precious to check as baggage, but so large as to require an extra seat.

Gone are the days when attendants would look the other way and allow passengers to use that empty seat for their carry-ons.

One cellist told the Times he bought a full-fare ticket for his cello for 11 years, and collected frequent flier miles for both him and the cello.

Then Delta confiscated his cello-earned miles, saying they were ineligible. Worse, the airline took back the miles he earned for his own flights as punishment.

Some other carriers, including United, grant frequent flier miles to cellos.

Then, too, there are security agents who, in their searches, disassemble instruments, break them and lose essential pieces.

So when you next hear a lovely cello performance, appreciate it even more, knowing the unfriendly skies the musician had to travel to play.

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