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Petition To Carry Musical Instruments On Board  
User currently offlineAircellist From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1720 posts, RR: 8
Posted (2 years 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 12265 times:

Cellist Paul Katz had a distressing moment on Westjet a few days ago. He thought he had purchased a ticket to fly from YYC to LAX on AA... yet, because of a codeshare, he was indeed on Westjet. He had purchased a ticket to carry his cello, a 1669 Andrea Guarneri which must be valued a small fortune, onboard.

Once in the plane, he was told, to his great distress, that he had to send his cello in the luggage compartment. He's been bumped after boarding. This is his story, written as it unfolded.

http://articles.boston.com/2012-08-2...6_1_cello-flight-attendant-westjet

Excerpt:

Quote:
Check the cello in baggage or get off the plane. That’s my choice.

“Sweet,” I say. “If I get off, how will you get me there?"

“Please understand, sir, the cello will not be allowed on any other WestJet aircraft.”

“Will you put me on another airline?”

“That will be your own responsibility.”

In the aftermath, an exchange happened between him and a Westjet customer agent.

http://cellobello.com/blog/index.php...tjets-robert-barron-and-paul-katz/

Excerpt:

Robert Barron:
One lesson perhaps to be learned from this is always to check your airline booking for codeshare and interline flights; these are becoming more and more common, and not all airlines’ policies, allowances, etc., are the same. As Mr Katz learned to his distress, what is allowable on one airline may not be on another. It’s best never to make assumptions, especially when there are any special circumstances such as a disability, special diet – or a musical instrument – are involved.

Paul Katz:
This response, implying I am the problem, infuriates me! In the bewildering world of online purchases and codeshares, does the airline itself have NO responsibility? Why was I able to buy a ticket for a cello on WestJet if you don’t allow them on board? Why should you not program your computers to reject cello tickets? Airlines have programmed their computers to close Frequent Flyer accounts opened in the name of a cello, and yet you allow us to pay for a seat , arrive at the gate, board the plane, an then, after throwing us off, lecture us that we didn’t do proper homework!



From the whole story, I get the feeling the company does not take any responsibility at all.

This brought to the forefront an online petition: Fair treatment for musicians traveling on planes with their instruments

https://www.change.org/petitions/fair-treatment-for-musicians-traveling-on-planes-with-their-instruments

Please, fellow A.netters, take the time to sign this so that my colleagues and me could travel more easily. I also find highly unpleasant to have to give an instrument to send it to the luggage compartment, even though my cello is worth a hundred times (at least) less than Paul Katz', I do feel the same way whenever it happens. Plus, it missed a connection once (in CDG...).

67 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4059 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 12199 times:

I've never even seen a booking site or engine that did not specify if the flight was a codeshare. I believe it is policy to list a flight as such. If one books through an agency or lets corporate travel do the booking, then it may be different but Katz himself seems to imply he booked online.

The story seems exaggerated as well. A bumpy takeoff? Does YYC have speed bumps on the runway? If the cello is in a proper case a little turbulence is not going to damage it especially in the manner he seems to be afraid of, as if a little jostle is going to shatter the thing.


User currently offlinephljjs From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 12173 times:

Sorry, but I really don't have any sympathy for this person.

When purchasing an airline ticket, it's pretty easy to see which carrier is actually operating the flight and whether or not the flight is a code-share of some sort. It's up to the passenger to do his due diligence and research what, if any, policies apply to them, their luggage and any "special items" they may be traveling with. All of that information can easily be obtained on the airlines websites, but the key is to do your homework. Apparently, this person took prior experiences for granted and it bit him in the butt.

I frequently travel with a firearm in my checked luggage. I've never had an issue with any of the different airlines that I've flown. That doesn't mean that I won't have a problem in the future. Most airlines have very similar policies for firearms, but some are different. Before I book a ticket, I do my research and make sure the airline I wish to travel on does indeed accept firearms in checked luggage. I also review their policies on how they need to be packed, what type of bag is required, etc. Sitting down and reading for 5 or 10 minutes can save you a lot of time and trouble when you show up at the ticket counter to check in.


User currently offlinecheeken From Singapore, joined Feb 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12081 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
The story seems exaggerated as well. A bumpy takeoff? Does YYC have speed bumps on the runway? If the cello is in a proper case a little turbulence is not going to damage it especially in the manner he seems to be afraid of, as if a little jostle is going to shatter the thing.

It's not the turbulence that kills the instrument, (okay it can be the cause if there is) but rather the temperature and the air pressure of the cargo holds that are extremely hostile to instruments, particularly those made of wood (strings/guitars/harps)


User currently offlinekl911 From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2003, 5147 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12043 times:

Quoting phljjs (Reply 2):
When purchasing an airline ticket, it's pretty easy to see which carrier is actually operating the flight and whether or not the flight is a code-share of some sort. It's up to the passenger to do his due diligence and research what, if any, policies apply to them, their luggage and any "special items" they may be traveling with.

I agree 100%. Unfortunately not everybody is willing to take the time for this, and then afterwards complain.
No excuses, everybody knows how important it is to read the conditions, doesnt matter if its a new tv, microwave or plane ticket.


User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 12008 times:

If you're that important of an artist and have such a valuable instrument, then I think you'd have traveled enough to know how to "know" what you're in for. If you know to buy a ticket for it, then you know how to "find" the rules.

Took me about 3 minutes to find this:
Musical instruments: Although seats may not be purchased for instruments, we will accept small instruments as part of the carry-on baggage allowance. Exceptions may be made for irregular-sized instruments. All instruments must be stowed in the overhead compartment, under the seat or in other approved locations. This is left to the discretion of the cabin crew and Customer Service Agent upon checking flight and baggage loads. Instruments may also be accepted in checked baggage when they are properly packed. Applicable excess baggage fees will apply.
http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/trav...basics/baggage/special-items.shtml

http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/travel/basics/baggage/code-share.shtml
From the AA link:
Musical Instruments
Small musical instruments may be carried onboard the aircraft providing they meet existing carry-on size requirements and fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Case dimensions may not exceed 45 dimensional inches (width + length + height), except for guitars which may be brought on board only if they can be safely stowed in an overhead bin or approved stowage location in the cabin.

The instrument is considered the passenger's one allowed carry-on bag. A personal item is allowed in addition to the instrument.



My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6688 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 11919 times:

He says he bought a seat for the cello, what's up with that ?


New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinephljjs From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 11883 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):
He says he bought a seat for the cello, what's up with that ?

I've seen people do that before, however, I don't see how it could be done online since you have to input birth dates, passport numbers, etc. I don't think you can get through the booking process without filling in all the info. He would have input fake information to get it to work.

Ticket agents at the airport and perhaps the call center can complete the booking. I've seen people carrying large musical instruments on US Airways. They had a boarding pass in the name of "A. Cello."

The part of the story where he said he bought the extra seat online made me suspicious of him and his ordeal. If Westjet or AA doesn't allow large musical instruments in the cabin, why would they let you buy a ticket for one?


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 11828 times:

Quoting phljjs (Reply 7):
I've seen people do that before, however, I don't see how it could be done online since you have to input birth dates, passport numbers, etc. I don't think you can get through the booking process without filling in all the info. He would have input fake information to get it to work.

Ticket agents at the airport and perhaps the call center can complete the booking. I've seen people carrying large musical instruments on US Airways. They had a boarding pass in the name of "A. Cello."

I've seen it done two ways, either purchased as an extra seat in the passengers name. As in they bought an empty seat next to them. People without instruments do that sometimes as well. Or, as you mention they'll buy a ticket for "Cello (last name)". You can make up birth dates if you're flying domestically, the TSA isn't going to look for a drivers license for an instrument.

When I worked at the airport we had a regular that flew with his cello quite often. We even had a professional violinist purchase a seat for her violin every time she flew.

I don't have any sympathy for this guy. Cellos are not small instruments and anyone that travels with them frequently should know the rules already or at least know to look them up before you fly.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinestrfyr51 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 1252 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 11685 times:
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Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):

many cellos are nearly Priceless and cannot BE replaced, My take?? INSURE THE Cello to the HILT Make prior arrangements with the airline. DO NOT accept code shares and STAY off Low Rent airlines Because any Reputable airline would allow you to buy a seat so that your Cello or Double Bass might travel Neck Down inside it's case. Ive been on flights with yo yo Ma and Ron Carter and Both of them had their instrument sitting beside them. I'm not sure what airline WOULDNT understand that.


User currently offlineScottishDavie From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2011, 184 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 11594 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):
He says he bought a seat for the cello, what's up with that ?

Maybe I'm missing the point but surely the rules quoted in reply 5 are directed towards carrying musical instruments as hand baggage. That's not exactly what this guy was trying to do - he was carrying his cello as an additional fare-paying passenger, so to speak. If he has bought a seat for the cello and it fits securely into that seat where exactly is the problem apart from a lack of common sense and flexibility on the part of Westjet?


User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 weeks ago) and read 11513 times:

I would never travel with it neck down--in ANY kind of case. Still, he should know how to fly with his cello. I live in CVG. How does our world class symphony travel all around the world with their priceless instruments in cargo?


My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25457 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 weeks ago) and read 11466 times:

Quoting ScottishDavie (Reply 10):
Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):
He says he bought a seat for the cello, what's up with that ?

Maybe I'm missing the point but surely the rules quoted in reply 5 are directed towards carrying musical instruments as hand baggage. That's not exactly what this guy was trying to do - he was carrying his cello as an additional fare-paying passenger, so to speak. If he has bought a seat for the cello and it fits securely into that seat where exactly is the problem apart from a lack of common sense and flexibility on the part of Westjet?

Because WestJet makes it very clear in their rules, easily found on their website, that they DO NOT sell extra seats for musical instruments. Instruments carried on have to be "small" which certainly doesn't describe a cello.

Westjet also includes the following in the baggage section of their website, followed by links to the baggage rules of all their codeshare partners. Since this passenger was travelling on an AA ticket, not a WS ticket, perhaps AA wasn't as clear in their website. He should then be complaining to AA for selling him a ticket that couldn't be used, not WS.

Code-share baggage info

Travelling with one of our airline partners? Be sure to familiarize yourself with their baggage allowances and fees as they may be different from ours.


[Edited 2012-09-02 13:18:57]

[Edited 2012-09-02 13:19:54]

User currently offlineScottishDavie From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2011, 184 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11075 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):
Because WestJet makes it very clear in their rules, easily found on their website, that they DO NOT sell extra seats for musical instruments.

Exactly as I said - lack of common sense and flexibility. What does it matter to Westjet whether a seat is occupied by a human being or a musical instrument? They still get paid the same and at least the musical instrument isn't likely to get drunk, become disruptive or fail to comply with cabin crew instructions.  


User currently offlineordjoe From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 709 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10915 times:

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 9):
any cellos are nearly Priceless and cannot BE replaced, My take?? INSURE THE Cello to the HILT Make prior arrangements with the airline. DO NOT accept code shares and STAY off Low Rent airlines Because any Reputable airline would allow you to buy a seat so that your Cello or Double Bass might travel Neck Down inside it's case. Ive been on flights with yo yo Ma and Ron Carter and Both of them had their instrument sitting beside them. I'm not sure what airline WOULDNT understand that.

Agreed, I have no sympathy for this jack ass who seems to think the airline will bend to his will due to him being a professional or having a priceless instrument (as a note I do not doubt the instrument costs a ton of money, my sister plays cello and even a crappy one will be 20K and up). When you book codeshare it always says under it "operated by XYZ" he did not due his dilligence.
He seems like one of the many who think the airline will make exceptions or try to pull the "do you know who I am." He could have booked a connecting flight on AA or whomever's metal to ensure it stayed in the passenger cabin.


User currently offlineGoodbye From Australia, joined Jan 2001, 913 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10902 times:

To be fair, most average people when they're booking a flight on an airline's website expect to be flying with that airline. 90% of people wouldn't have a clue what a "codeshare" is nor what it means for them.

One of my friends is travelling in the US at the moment, he didn't know what airline he was flying there on (from Australia!), nor what airline he was travelling around the US on ("whatever the travel agent booked for me"), so the fact that this gentleman wasn't aware his flight was operated by WestJet isn't that hard to understand.


User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7639 posts, RR: 18
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 10867 times:

Quoting ScottishDavie (Reply 13):
Exactly as I said - lack of common sense and flexibility. What does it matter to Westjet whether a seat is occupied by a human being or a musical instrument? They still get paid the same and at least the musical instrument isn't likely to get drunk, become disruptive or fail to comply with cabin crew instructions.

true but can you securely use a seatbelt to strap a cello in?

When I bring my guitars on board, I usually ask the F/As to put the guitar behind the last First Class seat if there's no room in the overhead. If I'm in first class, the F/As usually put it above my seat. But then again it's a guitar, not a cello  



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineOOSLC From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 173 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10581 times:

How did he make it all the way to his seat with a huge cello without a single agent at WS seeing it!?!?! It would have been less of a blow if an agent saw it during check in. Surely two boarding passes popped out of the machine. When the agent asked him for his passport, I'm surprised he/she didn't catch that there was no passport for the cello. Seems fishy to me.

User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10581 times:

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 16):
true but can you securely use a seatbelt to strap a cello in?

Only if you "B#" enough. If not, then one has to "C" it to "B" leave it   



En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
User currently offlinetrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4774 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10445 times:
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Quoting PHX787 (Reply 16):
true but can you securely use a seatbelt to strap a cello in?

Yes

My daughter is a cellist, she has a $3000 air travel case for checking it in but its so heavy if she goes somewhere where she has to carry it around a lot - say she is going to a music camp as opposed to just doing a performance, she gets another seat for it and uses a lightweight case you can carry on your back. She usually flies UA and getting a E+ bulkhead seat guarantees no problems. Its not allowed in exit rows. She has managed to fit it in a regular coach seat but it seems to vary with type of plane/seat- also sometimes it will stop the person in front from reclining completely. FAs are usually very good about accommodating her. We had one issue recently with DL, she was using grandparents freq flier miles as she was going to ATL so figured there must be so many flights and they can't all be completely full. I called DL and spent over an hour twice trying to get a bulkhead seat- they won't release till day of flight and people with medical issues get first dibs at it, they ("supervisors" ) also claimed there would be zero issues with a regular seat and it fitting and they "absolutely knew it would be fine in a regular seat" and there were specified seat locations for such instruments in the cabin but no one could tell me exactly which seat on a MD80 this was! I think they didn't know the size difference between a guitar and a cello! They were wrong about it fitting but fortunately the flight wasn't full so it manged to fit at an angle for 2 seats. Maybe when they have economy comfort on all DL flights it won't be an issue as it would be like UA E+ space wise. WN has moved people from bulkhead seats to allow her cello to get in there.

You can book another seat for an instrument on line very easily on every airline we have tried. TSA doesn't ask to see the id to certify the birth date or sex when you bring it up to them, in fact they usually don't even check its got its own boarding pass, thats only important for the gate agent, FAs. She usually books it as surname, cello instrument

Some research and preparation helps but it also helps if the airline have a clue! Some don't.

She called UA Mileage Plus once to ask if she could get an account for the cello, they said that would not be appropriate!  


User currently offlineOB1504 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 3362 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10370 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I've never even seen a booking site or engine that did not specify if the flight was a codeshare. I believe it is policy to list a flight as such.

Indeed, I believe a company would be opening itself up to fines from the DOT if it did not disclose codeshare flights.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 8):
I've seen it done two ways, either purchased as an extra seat in the passengers name. As in they bought an empty seat next to them.

This is how I've usually seen it done, and the customer was then issued two boarding passes for himself/herself and the instrument. I can't recall if had to go on the floor (the bottom of the case) or could be in the seat, though.


User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5644 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10351 times:

If the cello is worth millions of dollars, why wasn't it shipped using an armed courier service?


"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 10232 times:

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 20):
This is how I've usually seen it done, and the customer was then issued two boarding passes for himself/herself and the instrument.

I've never felt the need to name any of my musical instruments until now!



En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21654 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8616 times:

Quoting PROSA (Reply 21):
If the cello is worth millions of dollars, why wasn't it shipped using an armed courier service?

You don't realize how much (or should I say how little) musicians make, do you? That's not going to be financially possible.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4059 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 8137 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 23):
You don't realize how much (or should I say how little) musicians make, do you? That's not going to be financially possible.

Hmm, then how could said individual have acquired a multimillion dollar instrument? Charitable gesture?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21654 posts, RR: 55
Reply 25, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 8286 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 24):
Hmm, then how could said individual have acquired a multimillion dollar instrument? Charitable gesture?

Some instruments are loaned, but most are purchased. Doesn't mean they have a lot of disposable income hanging around to spend on armed escorts for it. By your logic, anyone who owns expensive camera equipment should be very well-off, but we know that's not the case. Some people need to spend money there and cut back elsewhere - this is no different.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinejetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7412 posts, RR: 50
Reply 26, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6234 times:
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Honestly, are we to believe that the world should stop for this guy, because he CHOOSES to cart around some sort of "sacred relic of string instruments" because he thinks it makes him play better? If he really cared enough about this silly thing, he would insure it everywhere he goes instead of imposing it's presence upon the traveling public. If having to check your cello is "unthinkable" as he puts it, then why would you agree to travel and not take another flight where your 2nd seat for your cello(paid at a fraction of a real seat price) is honored? This rationale bewilders me. And then he writes some silly story about having a nervous breakdown inflight, where everyone is supposed to hold your hand while you sob like a 2 year-old??? I'd crap on it if I had the opportunity. We're going to be held liable as some sort of "Americans With Musical Abilities Act" to disguise it as some kind of civil right's protection. Give me a break.

Quoting Mir (Reply 25):
Quoting HPRamper (Reply 24):
Hmm, then how could said individual have acquired a multimillion dollar instrument? Charitable gesture?

Some instruments are loaned, but most are purchased. Doesn't mean they have a lot of disposable income hanging around to spend on armed escorts for it. By your logic, anyone who owns expensive camera equipment should be very well-off, but we know that's not the case. Some people need to spend money there and cut back elsewhere - this is no different.

-Mir

By my logic, anyone who owns an expensive camera, an expensive house or expensive sports car should be able to provide for it's upkeep, storage and care. If you can't, don't buy it and let somebody who can buy it. Otherwise, it's your fault if it gets damaged.



Made from jets!
User currently offlineBN747DFWHNL From United States of America, joined May 2005, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 27, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6292 times:

Few thoughts from a professional musician and plane geek:

1) WestJet's policy makes zero sense. It is common practice to allow cellists to buy a seat for their instruments when they fly. We're not talking about a floor lamp that Aunt Mathilda wants to take with her back to Poughkeepsie. We're talking about a piece of equipment, musical in nature, which is depended upon by the musician to earn a living. If that piece of equipment is damaged from being checked under the aircraft, they can't do their job. Although I don't play the cello, I would not use the special hard case that cellists can buy (at an exorbitant price) to check the instrument under the aircraft: I would always buy a seat so I knew where the instrument was at all times and how it was being treated.

2) The whole codeshare system is deceitful. "Oh, look: you can fly us all the way from Hartford, CT, to Thunderhead, BC, Canada (fictional)....well, not really, heh heh: you can fly us from Hartford to [insert connecting city of your choice] to Vancouver, BC, and then you'll fly on Flying Geese (fictional) Airlines to Thunderhead (only thing is that Flying Geese Airlines is written in small letters on your itinerary and Big Name-Recognition Airlines with a 7800 (fictional) flight number is what is listed in bigger letters, along with your other bigger-letter type for the other Big Name-Recognition AIrlines' flights)." It's just like how you go to baggage claim and see fifteen different airlines and fifteen different flight numbers listed for your one flight (Air India flies from Cleveland to Chicago....huh?). We're supposed to think, erroneously unfortunately, that everything is all streamlined and hassle-free.

3) Related to 2) above: if airlines are going to scratch each other's marketing backs and make it seem like they're one conglomerate, then they need to streamline their requisite policies into one policy so stuff like this doesn't happen. If one company decides to do something differently than the general practice of most airlines, especially airlines it codeshares with, this makes no sense and is a disservice to the customer. If the airlines are going to market their flights under the codeshare and use the bigger airline's name, then the smaller airline's policy needs to match the larger airline's policy.

4) WestJet flies the same aircraft that are flown by dozens of other airlines around the world, dozens of other airlines who understand there's a small percentage of their customers who have a very special circumstance when they fly, dozens of other airlines who understand that a purchased seat is a purchased seat, no matter whether a human butt is in it or the backside of a cello case. Heck, they should be HAPPY to have a cello "sitting" in the paid-for seat: it doesn't complain when the flight is delayed, it doesn't ask for a special meal, and, most importantly, it adds less weight to the cabin than 90% of the mass in the other seats.

[Edited 2012-09-03 00:02:56]

[Edited 2012-09-03 00:05:52]

[Edited 2012-09-03 00:12:26]

User currently offlinecheeken From Singapore, joined Feb 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6018 times:

Quoting B727FA (Reply 11):

I would never travel with it neck down--in ANY kind of case. Still, he should know how to fly with his cello. I live in CVG. How does our world class symphony travel all around the world with their priceless instruments in cargo?

They don't. For instruments too big to be carried, they rent it at their destination, and for celli, they put them in flight cases, or most of the time they are provided with a spare seat for it. And for the rest, everything goes into the cabin!

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 26):
By my logic, anyone who owns an expensive camera, an expensive house or expensive sports car should be able to provide for it's upkeep, storage and care. If you can't, don't buy it and let somebody who can buy it. Otherwise, it's your fault if it gets damaged.

upkeep, storage and care, in the case of a flight = bringing it into the cabin and not leaving it in cargo conditions.


User currently offlinejetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7412 posts, RR: 50
Reply 29, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5976 times:
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Quoting cheeken (Reply 28):
upkeep, storage and care, in the case of a flight = bringing it into the cabin and not leaving it in cargo conditions.

How about leaving it at home and taking a less-expensive cello?

This is what I would do with it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=749iU2Zv1kw

[Edited 2012-09-03 00:58:22]


Made from jets!
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9437 posts, RR: 29
Reply 30, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5917 times:

Quoting PROSA (Reply 21):
If the cello is worth millions of dollars, why wasn't it shipped using an armed courier service?

because you don't give it to people who might shoot holes into the Cello.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 24):
Hmm, then how could said individual have acquired a multimillion dollar instrument? Charitable gesture?

LOL - some answers here are unbelievable


An instrument made in 1669 is priceless. Simple as that. Priceless means, you cannot buy a new one because there ain't new ones on the market. unfortunately, the manufacturer dies some time ago and the skills to make them like that are no longer available..

To make it udnerstandable for some guys here, Willie Nelson would not be Willie Nelson without Trigger. I doubt that ´Trigger ever saw the bellyhold of an aircraft.

Now, although United breaks guitars, this story show how needed legacy carriers are, who still understand particular needs of their customers. There is a mreason why some musical instruments are carried in the main cabin. has to do with culture as well.

The old culture, not the new one created by cheapos of all kinds of trades.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently onlineUALWN From Andorra, joined Jun 2009, 2816 posts, RR: 2
Reply 31, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5582 times:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 26):
By my logic, anyone who owns an expensive camera, an expensive house or expensive sports car should be able to provide for it's upkeep, storage and care.
Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 29):
How about leaving it at home and taking a less-expensive cello?

Do photographers leave their top camera and lenses home and then work with worse equipment? Do they put their expensive equipment in their check-in luggage? No? Same thing here.



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User currently offlinekeegd76 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Aug 2009, 108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 32, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5318 times:
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Quoting BN747DFWHNL (Reply 27):
2) The whole codeshare system is deceitful. "Oh, look: you can fly us all the way from Hartford, CT, to Thunderhead, BC, Canada (fictional)....well, not really, heh heh: you can fly us from Hartford to [insert connecting city of your choice] to Vancouver, BC, and then you'll fly on Flying Geese (fictional) Airlines to Thunderhead (only thing is that Flying Geese Airlines is written in small letters on your itinerary and Big Name-Recognition Airlines with a 7800 (fictional) flight number is what is listed in bigger letters, along with your other bigger-letter type for the other Big Name-Recognition AIrlines' flights)." It's just like how you go to baggage claim and see fifteen different airlines and fifteen different flight numbers listed for your one flight (Air India flies from Cleveland to Chicago....huh?). We're supposed to think, erroneously unfortunately, that everything is all streamlined and hassle-free.

Flying Geese Airlines - We'll get you where you need to go, provided its on our annual migration route   

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 30):

An instrument made in 1669 is priceless. Simple as that. Priceless means, you cannot buy a new one because there ain't new ones on the market. unfortunately, the manufacturer dies some time ago and the skills to make them like that are no longer available..

  

Reminds me of an incident I had a few years back on FR. We were flying to CRL and had a laptop (in a carry-all) as our carry-on item. The girl at the check-in desk wanted to put it into the hold, claiming the bag was too big. We refused. Not only was there a 50% chance the bag would be stolen (laptop carry-alls are pretty distinctive) but there was a 95% chance the laptop would end up getting smashed after having a heavier item 'deposited' on top of it.

Just out of curiosity, if the cello had been put in the hold and had been damaged or worse destroyed as a result, who would be liable for compensation, AA or WS?

[Edited 2012-09-03 03:31:39]


Nothing comes down faster than a VTOL aircraft upside down.
User currently offlinejetjack74 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 7412 posts, RR: 50
Reply 33, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5249 times:
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Quoting UALWN (Reply 31):
Do photographers leave their top camera and lenses home and then work with worse equipment? Do they put their expensive equipment in their check-in luggage? No? Same thing here.

Camera equipment is alot more portable than a cello or a tuba .And on that subject? Yes. I had Nat Geo videographers/photographers, journalists on my flight from SEA-NRT several years ago, and they did pack their equipment to be shipped in the belly of the plane, as it was notated in the Clearance Forms as insured cargo. So yes, some people do pack their expensive camera equipment in luggage. Nothing more than just a high-maintenence prima-madonna just begging for attention.



Made from jets!
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9437 posts, RR: 29
Reply 34, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4969 times:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 33):
as it was notated in the Clearance Forms as insured cargo. So yes, some people do pack their expensive camera equipment in luggage. Nothing more than just a high-maintenence prima-madonna just begging for attention.

Camera equipment, regardless what the price is, can be replaced. If it is sinsured above the liability limit, the owner gets a full refund and can buy replacement.

The Cello is irreplacable. If someone has a similar 1669 cello he will not sell it for any price as long as he/she is performing.

What you call "a primadonna just begging for attention" is an artist whose virtuosity depends on the instrument. he would not be the same playing an off-the rack cello.

There are people who pay to listen to such artists and that is why they need to travel. It has always been common practise that artists take their instruments with them in the cabin and if it is a larger piece they buy a seat. .That has nothing to do with "attention begging" but very much withz prefssionailty.

Something certain carriers are lacking these days.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently onlineUALWN From Andorra, joined Jun 2009, 2816 posts, RR: 2
Reply 35, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4949 times:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 33):
Camera equipment is alot more portable than a cello or a tuba

Hence the need for an extra seat. At the owner's expense. What's the big deal? This is how guitars, violins and such are transported. Particularly, violins or cellos from the 17th or 18th centuries! I don't understand why this is under discussion. Another issue is whether the guy should be aware of the subtleties (it's not so subtle, after all) involved in code-sharing...



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User currently offlinecheeken From Singapore, joined Feb 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4898 times:

Quoting jetjack74 (Reply 33):
Nothing more than just a high-maintenence prima-madonna just begging for attention.

The difference between journalists given the privilege of having proper protection provided by the company. Musicians have these things called flight cases when travelling in groups and their group provides, but when travelling alone, it's way more convenient AND practical to just carry it on board. Who's gonna carry a flight case around?!?! Even so flight cases are not recommended for wooden instruments because they are no built to withstand cargo hold compartment environments (extremely low temperature, pressure)

However I do agree that Katz didn't do his homework by checking the airline policies. At least now he knows which airline NOT to fly, and honestly, it isn't his loss, but theirs!

Another point to note is whether he checked in at the AA counter or the Westjet counter? If he checked in at the Westjet counter, wouldn't the check in staff notified him earlier? They would have seen the cello, it's too big to be missed!


User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 37, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4033 times:

Can we now agree that it is equal part:
-WestJet fault for not telling him sooner (at checkin?) and/or for not making one time exception
-AA fault for not telling him there might be a problem flyíng the cello on WestJet
-his fault for not looking into WestJet?



The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently offlineFI642 From Monaco, joined Mar 2005, 1079 posts, RR: 2
Reply 38, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3940 times:

Quoting UALWN (Reply 31):

Last month I let UA take my roll aboard (which they really banged up, BTW) rather than give ip my camera.

When I worked for NW we had a musician that always purchased a seat for his cello. Same deal, it was his livelihood, and losing or damaging it would be disastrous. He also had a FQTV account for it!



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User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3850 times:

That's my point, they DO check items and they are just fine.


My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlinetrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4774 posts, RR: 14
Reply 40, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3850 times:
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The million $ instruments are rarely owned by the performer, unless you literally are YoYo Ma. Often large institutions own it but lend it to top performers to use.

You don't have to be making 6 figures salaries to own an expensive cello if you have been around for some years. Most cello makers/sellers will always credit you with the value of the instrument you purchased from them before if you buy another from them as it never drops in price (unless damaged). So you pay off a eg 50K instrument over x years, you trade up to a 100K but you are only paying 50K. Keep this going for a decade or two and you could have a very pricey instrument and not be making any more than you did when you started or be able to afford a mortgage for a similarly valued house.


User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 41, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3836 times:

Quoting B727FA (Reply 5):
Took me about 3 minutes to find this:
Musical instruments: Although seats may not be purchased for instruments

Why? Is it unsafe to carry a cello in the passenger cabin?

Quoting ScottishDavie (Reply 10):
he was carrying his cello as an additional fare-paying passenger, so to speak. If he has bought a seat for the cello and it fits securely into that seat where exactly is the problem apart from a lack of common sense and flexibility on the part of Westjet?

Exactly. I'm puzzled by this.

Quoting Goodbye (Reply 15):
To be fair, most average people when they're booking a flight on an airline's website expect to be flying with that airline. 90% of people wouldn't have a clue what a "codeshare" is nor what it means for them.

         Isn't the whole point of code shares to sort of deceive the passenger into thinking he'll be flying his favorite airline all the way?


User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3814 times:

Quoting AM744 (Reply 41):
Why? Is it unsafe to carry a cello in the passenger cabin?

Don't ask me. I was quoting WestJet's rule. I see them in the cabin all the time.



My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlineAS739BSI From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3790 times:

Quoting AM744 (Reply 41):
Why? Is it unsafe to carry a cello in the passenger cabin?

If it couldn't be secured to the seat and the aircraft hits a good chunk of turbulence and the instrument is heavy. That could be enough to injure a person would be my concern and then is the airline liable in that case for permitting the instrument in the cabin that was not secured? I am sure musicians out there could help on this one because I do not know how you would secure a cello unless the travel case has enough weight to overcome the turbulence.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 44, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3791 times:

Quoting AM744 (Reply 41):

Why? Is it unsafe to carry a cello in the passenger cabin?

Just making an educated guess that the policy may have started with the airline asking themselves "what is the largest instrument that can be brought on and safely strapped down and stowed in an empty seat?"

As a former customer service supervisor I thought carrying musical instruments on board was one of the most abused rules. We make everyone else check a bag that isn't small enough to fit in a carry on sizer. It's not really fair to everyone else that pays a bag fee. I'd think there should be a middle ground though where you can charge a baggage fee for the guitar or other relatively large instrument like a banjo and have them put it in the overhead instead of the hold below.

But, cellos are large, people also would travel with harps and large drums. At what point is the instrument too large for the passenger cabin? We're also not talking about flimsy cases when they're checked, for the most part the ones I dealt with were sturdy hard cases with wheels.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 45, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

canoecarrier, this guy paid for the seat. Its not like he is trying to bypass bag charge. FWIW if you bought a seat for your oversized bag, I guess you could take it in cabin, if you can secure it.


The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently offlineFly2yyz From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 1046 posts, RR: 2
Reply 46, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3750 times:

Hmm, just thinking about this topic.

A cello is fairly wide, add to that its travel case and its fairly a tight squeeze into a row's window seat where it must go since I doubt it would fit into the overheard compartments. Also if I know my WS aircraft, there's no bulkhead or a separate business class where you can stow it behind a row of seats, even in the last row of economy, I believe.

Due to the priceless nature of the cello, if there was an emergency landing and god forbid an evacuation, would this not become an obstacle and maybe since the musician would not be willing to leave it behind?

WS makes it very clear on their website their rules for not allowing a seat to be purchased for musical instruments. I don't see WS making an exception for this and I don't see why Mr. Katz can't see this either. He bought a codeshare ticket. Mr Katz's comment "I hope he felt badly, that should be his natural human response." shows how spiteful he can be.

As a musician myself, yes I am aware of the consequences and which is why I travel with a padded hard carry case for my instrument, with insurance and with the sizing dimensions I'm luck. Sure its not a Tuba or a Cello, but I take the concern for it since it cost me a pretty penny -- yeah I could travel in an SQ Suite twice but I chose music. There's also an agreement between the TSA and American Federation of Musicians, the union that represents musicians that allows instruments to be passed through security screening, but this agreement does not require the airline though to let you carry your instrument onto the plane itself.

If the Captain personally took the cello, or any other friggen instrument or bag, he's taking his quite a bit of responsibility in putting it on the aircraft and making sure its taken care of when being placed in the hold. I don't know this whole story seems off to me.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 47, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3741 times:

Quoting Fabo (Reply 45):
canoecarrier, this guy paid for the seat. Its not like he is trying to bypass bag charge. FWIW if you bought a seat for your oversized bag, I guess you could take it in cabin, if you can secure it.

I think you missed my point. Whether or not you pay for an extra seat for any item, and an item can be an instrument, boat or car part, or whatever, the airline may be making a policy decision that it's too large or bulky (even though you bought a seat for it) to safely strap down in a passenger cabin. Seat belts aren't cargo straps. And, as I said, I'm just making a guess as to the policy. FWIW.

And, in 4 years working at an airport I never saw anyone pay for a bag and bring it in the cabin. Other than musical instruments.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineseven3seven From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 318 posts, RR: 23
Reply 48, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3734 times:

Funny, I linked a website last year to protest rising airline taxes but that thread was killed. The moderators said they don't allow such threads.

Apparently, the mods must be big music fans.



My views are mine alone and are not that of any of my fellow employees, officers, or directors at my company
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6688 posts, RR: 12
Reply 49, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3671 times:

I still don't understand how he could buy a seat for the cello.

As an aside when I was younger and less savvy, I came back from a vacation at an aunt and she gave me a big lamp made of glass packed in a box for my mom. She didn't think it would maybe need to be checked and that I already had a checked bag and a carry-on or stuff like that, and me neither. I had chosen a flight in the middle of the day on purpose because I wanted to try a CRJ100 instead of the usual A32S. Nobody cared about the situation until I was in the plane, and when it clearly couldn't fit in the overhead bin an FA found a big empty bin of some sort at the front of the plane for it, without making a fuss. It was on Britair.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinetrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4774 posts, RR: 14
Reply 50, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3533 times:
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Quoting Aesma (Reply 49):
I still don't understand how he could buy a seat for the cello.

Its done regularly on probably every airline except Westjet! The first time I did it by phone I thought I'd be in for lots of questions, there were none. First time I did it on line it was also a breeze once I knew what "name" and other id info to use (use the pax own birthdate and travel documents) . People have been doing this since air travel started!


User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2112 posts, RR: 1
Reply 51, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3453 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 34):
What you call "a primadonna just begging for attention" is an artist whose virtuosity depends on the instrument. he would not be the same playing an off-the rack cello.

There have been a number of studies that have proven that people can't distinguish the sound of a stradavarius from an off the rack violin. Many of the experts, including the owners of the million dollar instruments, actually preferred the sound of the brand new instruments.

As a musician, I will agree that I absolutely prefer my instruments to borrowed or rented ones. The truth is that it is simply that, a preference, not a necessity.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 47):
And, in 4 years working at an airport I never saw anyone pay for a bag and bring it in the cabin. Other than musical instruments.

I've also seen couriers with medical transplant items that purchased a seat for the containers.


User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7639 posts, RR: 18
Reply 52, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3429 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 49):
I still don't understand how he could buy a seat for the cello.

Well how about what an overweight person has to do in order to fit into a seat? he buys 2 seats!



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlinecheeken From Singapore, joined Feb 2010, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 53, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3397 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 47):
I think you missed my point. Whether or not you pay for an extra seat for any item, and an item can be an instrument, boat or car part, or whatever, the airline may be making a policy decision that it's too large or bulky (even though you bought a seat for it) to safely strap down in a passenger cabin. Seat belts aren't cargo straps. And, as I said, I'm just making a guess as to the policy. FWIW.

And airlines wouldn't sell extra seats for those items if they were too big.

Celli are understood by most airlines as small enough to be strapped down to a seat securely, but too big to go into baggage compartments, that's why seats for celli are sold worldwide. All my cellist friends always buy an extra seat for the cello and they never ever run into problems with the airlines during the booking process.

I guess it's best that as passengers we clarify with the booking agents on instrument on board policies of codesharing airlines. If the airline decides to be a cut above the rest in terms of customer service, they can take the initiative to inform the passenger regarding this issue too, but of course this service isn't obligatory...


User currently offlineBN747DFWHNL From United States of America, joined May 2005, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 54, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3336 times:

Quoting Fabo (Reply 37):

Can we now agree that it is equal part:
-WestJet fault for not telling him sooner (at checkin?) and/or for not making one time exception
-AA fault for not telling him there might be a problem flyíng the cello on WestJet
-his fault for not looking into WestJet?

No. It is wholly the airlines' (collective) faults because they've purposely set it up to make it seem like it's American Airlines the whole trip. If the first leg on his ticket has an American Airlines flight number, albeit a high number, suggesting a codeshare flight, then he's expecting exactly what both airlines want him to think: it's American Airlines all the way. It doesn't matter that "operated by WestJet" may have appeared on his ticket, undoubtedly in small type. His ticket says American on all legs, just as both airlines' marketing departments want it to, so he has no other expectation than to plan on what he's experienced on American before, what he will experience on his real American Airlines flights after WestJet, regarding his cello: the cello goes in the seat he specifically purchased for it, which is the standard practice all over the world.

This case is a prime example of how codesharing does nothing to help the actual passenger. It's very confusing and nothing more than an attempt by airlines to make them seem bigger and more "city-connected" than they really are. If WestJet wants to operate their planes with an American Airlines codeshare flight number, then they need to have the same policies as American because that's what passengers are expecting. If they don't want to do that, then they should sell their tickets independently and cling to their ridiculous policy. I'm glad to read that many on here are decrying WestJet's nonsensical policy.


User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 415 posts, RR: 0
Reply 55, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3275 times:

I tried to take an out of tune violin on a flight once, but I was told I wasn't allowed an "A sharp instrument" on a plane   

User currently offlineYYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1087 posts, RR: 0
Reply 56, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3220 times:
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Quoting BN747DFWHNL (Reply 54):
If WestJet wants to operate their planes with an American Airlines codeshare flight number, then they need to have the same policies as American because that's what passengers are expecting. If they don't want to do that, then they should sell their tickets independently and cling to their ridiculous policy. I'm glad to read that many on here are decrying WestJet's nonsensical policy.

Or

If American wants to Code Share on WestJet flights then they need to have the same policies as WestJet because that's what passengers are expecting. If they don't want to do that then maybe AA should sell their tickets independantly and cling to THEIR rediculous policy.

Fixed it for you

WestJet is likely doing what they have been certified by Transport Canada to do. If they got caught violating the carry on rules that they and Transport set out when establishing the Operating Certificate they stand the chance of getting major sanctions by Transport. Frankly on the WestJet website it's pretty clear that it is the Passengers responsiblity to check the baggage policies of codeshare flights. If AA does NOT have something like that on it's website then it is squarely the fault of AA, and if they do then it's Squarely the fault of the Passenger. As I see it WestJet did nothing wrong in this case.



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User currently offlineAircellist From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1720 posts, RR: 8
Reply 57, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3011 times:

So much ignorance in this thread... Glad to see there is not only ignorance. Salute to colleagues and music lovers (even those that may not agree with the theme of the thread).

A cello is not heavy. At most, the heaviest case would be in the low 20 pounds. Much lighter than most human passengers. It can easily be attached to a normal seat in most planes, using a seat belt extension. I did carry mine onboard, on purchased tickets, many times, before the world got crazy about so many things (I mean in the '80s and '90s). I also had to send it down, a few times. It was never pleasant, especially the time it missed that connection... But I did not break down as Mr Katz did... First, because mine is worth only a small fraction of Mr Katz' ; second, because I "knew" it would be back, safe, don't ask me how I could know that. In fact, the attendant at the lost luggage counter guessed I was the guy looking for the cello even before I opened my mouth, that time. I suppose she saw the fumes coming out of me, walking very fast towards the counter...

Why does it matter to musicians? Because music instruments, even when made "standard", are not alike at all. I regularly try cellos and bows for my students, and four celli of the same price, and 20 bows of the same price, will not play the same at all. The quality difference can be quite surprising. There is no comparison with even the most expensive camera, which will cost a lot but could be replaced like for like. The comparison could maybe be made with the loss of data in a lost computer...

Because those instruments are so different from one another, the instrumentists tend to develop a relationship with their instruments, which may seem weird to outsiders. It can nevertheless be quite deep. Even though my cello is worth only a fraction of Mr Katz' own, I understand how he could be so distressed during his trip. Yes, it can be somewhat irrational. Music instruments are not persons nor animals, but they may well be the objects coming closer to having a personality of their own, truly. You won't find the same, ever. One has to "learn" any new instrument.

Also, is it such a big deal? I haven't played on Mr Katz' instrument, I don't know the guy, but I've had the privilege of playing on a half-a-million dollar cello, and believe me, it was great. I had a friend "blind-listening", and he could easily tell the difference between the 500k one, the 300k one and the few 20-30k I was trying that day.

Now, it is true a good musician could make wonders on a poor instrument. Yet, a good instrument is much better, as simple as that.

So, in short, the thing is: it was easy travelling with celli once, and Rostropovich always had his cello with him on a seat, in Concorde, which was a smaller plane after all. That's just what we, musicians, are looking for: easy travel with our instruments.


User currently offlineBN747dfwhnl From United States of America, joined May 2005, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 58, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2906 times:

[quote=YYZatcboy,reply=56]If American wants to Code Share on WestJet flights then they need to have the same policies as WestJet because that's what passengers are expecting. If they don't want to do that then maybe AA should sell their tickets independantly and cling to THEIR rediculous policy.

First: the words are independently, not independantly, and ridiculous, not rediculous.

Second: the widely-practiced policy of allowing cellists to buy seats for their instruments can hardly be considered ridiculous, as you suggest, because cash-strapped airlines earn money from it. What I'm still waiting to hear is a logical explanation by WestJet for its policy since they're flying the same planes as every other airline in the world (i.e., it's not a configuration or space issue).

Third: your reverse argument to my previous post doesn't hold water because he didn't buy tickets on WestJet: he bought them on American, with all American flight numbers, thereby giving him every indication (i.e., no reason to doubt or even think anything otherwise) that he can bring the cello on board. If he sought out WestJet and bought the tickets on WestJet, then your scenario might hold some water (but he didn't).

Fourth: even if you're going to cling to the belief that the guy was in the wrong, answer this: how can WestJet allow it to get to the point where the guy can check-in, be holding his boarding passes (one for himself, a human being, and one for his cello, an uber-expensive non-human being), give the boarding passes to the gate agent without issue, get on the aircraft without issue, and only THEN, when he goes to seat himself and his cello, does a WestJet employee say, "Wait a minute...." Seems pretty unbelievable that, if this is their policy, the counter check-in agent and, especially, the gate agent let him and his non-human-with-a-boarding-pass make it onboard the aircraft without saying something.

Fifth: what reasoning would American have for adopting the nonsensical policy of a small Canadian airline across its global system? Sure, both airlines and their marketing departments are scratching each others' backs with the codeshare (again: it benefits the airlines, not the passenger), but WestJet is clearly the small fish playing in the big pond with American, a global airline who elevates WestJet's stature in the codeshare, not so much the other way around.


User currently offlineYYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1087 posts, RR: 0
Reply 59, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2880 times:
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You obviously did not get that it was a joke. Sorry for the typos, I was at work and having a rather bad migraine. The point however still stands. If he bought the tickets on AA it's AA's responsibility to tell him all the conditions and if they did it was his responsibility to read them. If AA failed it's their fault. If he did not read them it's his fault. In no way is it WestJet's fault that the policy was not communicated.

It's pretty simple how he got past checkin. He went to a Kiosk or checked in online and had no checked bags, thus his first interaction with an employee would be at the gate. I don't know how he made it onto the plane, I am sure that either the agent missed it or was not trained on the policy since one can assume it's relatively rare to see someone travelling with a Cello. (FWIW I worked gates for a Canadian Airline for a year and not one cello did I see.) . If that is the case then WestJet might have a training issue which I am sure they have rectified.

You also obviously did not read the rest of my post where I gave a perfectly logical explanation as to why WestJet has the policy that they do...The Operating Certificate including what can and cannot be carried on board or put in a seat is between the Carrier and Transport Canada. Air Canada might have it approved but WestJet or Porter might not have invested the time or the money to prove that it's safe on their aircraft to Transport. The type of plane does not matter either. If WestJet's OC does not allow for it then they LEGALLY cannot allow it on their aircraft.

I think you might also be confused about WestJet's status as a Code Share partner. For non *A carriers WestJet is their access into the smaller Canadian markets. In fact in the Canadian market, it is AA who is the small fish.



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User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3476 posts, RR: 0
Reply 60, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2864 times:

I almost always see the passengers side and think the airlines are often unrealistic and wrong but this time i totally side with the airline. AA doesn't even fly from YYC to LAX! He clearly did no research which he should have done having such an unusual need.

I don't feel bad for him because its a unique demand that he thinks should be a right. Hes clearly a frequent flyer who travels often for events/concerts etc so he should know his own unique demands and look it up to make sure hes on an airline that will accept it. He clearly booked quickly and made an error im sure it said westjet somewhere there. I know this guys world revolves around cellos but that doesn't mean that everyones does or that its something an airline has to accept in the cabin. There are airlines that will accept it


User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 61, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2818 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 47):
I think you missed my point. Whether or not you pay for an extra seat for any item, and an item can be an instrument, boat or car part, or whatever, the airline may be making a policy decision that it's too large or bulky (even though you bought a seat for it) to safely strap down in a passenger cabin. Seat belts aren't cargo straps. And, as I said, I'm just making a guess as to the policy. FWIW.

I specifically said, quote here:

Quoting Fabo (Reply 45):
if you can secure it.

I would expect being able to secure an items includes both it being in a correct shape to be able to be strapped in, and not too heavy for straps to hold in place.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 47):
And, in 4 years working at an airport I never saw anyone pay for a bag and bring it in the cabin. Other than musical instruments.

I have seen some strange stuff getting in the cabin (with crew consent) such as antique spinning wheel. But no bag per se, true.

Quoting seven3seven (Reply 48):
Funny, I linked a website last year to protest rising airline taxes but that thread was killed. The moderators said they don't allow such threads.

Apparently, the mods must be big music fans.

What does that have to do with anything?

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
The Operating Certificate including what can and cannot be carried on board or put in a seat is between the Carrier and Transport Canada. Air Canada might have it approved but WestJet or Porter might not have invested the time or the money to prove that it's safe on their aircraft to Transport. The type of plane does not matter either. If WestJet's OC does not allow for it then they LEGALLY cannot allow it on their aircraft.

You raise a good point. If that is the case, I retract my statement that WestJet could/should have made an exception. They might have communicated it better though.



The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5003 posts, RR: 43
Reply 62, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2752 times:

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
The Operating Certificate including what can and cannot be carried on board or put in a seat is between the Carrier and Transport Canada. Air Canada might have it approved but WestJet or Porter might not have invested the time or the money to prove that it's safe on their aircraft to Transport. The type of plane does not matter either. If WestJet's OC does not allow for it then they LEGALLY cannot allow it on their aircraft.

This is the biggest point. Westjet has chosen not to allow seat-load baggage, and thus it is not in their OC. When allowing it, Transport Canada also sets guidelines, under which the airline must operate.

So even if a passenger really really really wants his cello to ride with him, Westjet can not allow it. Kudos to their employees for catching the error.

Yes, Air Canada allows seat-load baggage, and the rules are very strict. One that causes the most trouble is the Cello (for example) must "sit" in the window seat. That bothers a lot of people, not always with the Cello's companion, but also with other passengers ... who wanted a window seat, but didn't get one.

Westjet is not a "new" airline. It is their choice not to allow seat-load baggage, and they know the consequences. Clearly they have decided that the Customers they lose is a price they are willing to pay. Looking on their website, they are very explicit that large musical instruments will not be allowed a seat.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinestrfyr51 From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 1252 posts, RR: 1
Reply 63, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2714 times:
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My question is?? Did he get refund for the second SEAT??

User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6688 posts, RR: 12
Reply 64, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2705 times:

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 52):
Well how about what an overweight person has to do in order to fit into a seat? he buys 2 seats!

It's my understanding that you have to go through a few hoops to do just that.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7639 posts, RR: 18
Reply 65, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2681 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 64):
It's my understanding that you have to go through a few hoops to do just that.

If you can fit through the hoop   



我思うゆえに我あり。(Jap. 'I think, therefore I am.')
User currently offlineBN747dfwhnl From United States of America, joined May 2005, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 66, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2588 times:

Ok, so let's see what we have:

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
In no way is it WestJet's fault
Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
I am sure that either the agent missed it or was not trained
Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
WestJet might have a training issue

Got it: according to you, WestJet most likely didn't train its employee carefully enough but
this somehow absolves them of any fault in the matter. Interesting. Let's move on:

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
You also obviously did not read the rest of my post where I gave a perfectly logical explanation as to why WestJet has the policy that they do...T

Actually I did, and then I read this from you soon after:


Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
Air Canada might have it approved but WestJet or Porter might not have invested the time or the money to prove that it's safe on their aircraft to Transport.

as well as another poster:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 62):
Air Canada allows seat-load baggage

which supports what I wrote:

Quoting BN747dfwhnl (Reply 58):
WestJet is clearly the small fish

For the record, the issue for me is not that they didn't allow the cello in the paid-for American codeshare seat because you're right: they can't go against what they've worked out with their national transport association. My issue, which you don't agree with but which I think I'm proving quite well using your very own words, is that WestJet does have blame in this case.

And, finally:

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 59):
I worked gates for a Canadian Airline for a year and not one cello did I see.

Ok, which means that, had someone not checked in at the counter kiosk with bags and walked up to you at the gate with two boarding passes and wants you to grant entrance onto the secure aircraft and one boarding pass is for a human and one for a non-human, you, if you were doing job correctly, and I have no doubt that you did, and you, being in full awareness of the contract between the carrier and the Canadian Transport people would have gone, "Wait a minute; what's this?" That did not happen in this case, and it should have, which proves that WestJet does share fault.

And you're right: I didn't realize you were making a joke by reversing my words in that one post. Sorry. Guess I need to get as good a sense of humor as you Canadians, eh? What do you say we head down to the corner bar for a Porter (you know, a beer, not a Canadian airline)?


User currently offlineJONC777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 67, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2469 times:

There is no faa exemption for musical instruments period. end of story. If they do not fit in the sizing box. . .they should be checked. Any gate agent or airline that is making eceptions (yes including my own) is open to a fine should the FAA be in the gate area choosing to enforce it. We all try to be reasonable people, however a huge instrument that takes up the whole overhead also isnt fair to the rest of the flight. You can buy a seat however for it. .. at least at WN you can, so that is the best way to go. The seat refund policy only applies to customers of size, not musical instruments.

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