Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Topic Author
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:45 pm

So when a Houston-based gate agent at United Airlines told Yennifer Correia that she would have to check her 17th-century violin, which costs more than her car, the first words out of her mouth were: “What are my other options?”

This news story just popped up from the Washington Post. I linked another source, because the WP has a limited number of free articles per month.

http://jacksonville.com/news/national/2 ... ion-ensued
 
Theseus
Posts: 276
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:50 pm

Everybody knows that United breaks guitars. How about violins then ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
 
ExDubai
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:52 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:52 pm

United an instruments........ :D
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven
 
mozart
Posts: 2167
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 12:21 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:02 pm

Makes you wonder on what criteria that company recruits employees. Basic human sense and at least a two digit IQ do not seem to be criteria.

I mean, really?
 
Aptivaboy
Posts: 934
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:32 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:27 pm

Taking this at face value (and, UAL hasn't yet denied it happened), the agent appears to not know his own employer's rules for musical instruments (https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... agile.aspx):

Musical instruments

Depending on their size, musical instruments can be carried on board, handled as checked baggage, or carried as cabin-seat baggage.

In the case of customers who purchased a Basic Economy ticket, a small musical instrument may be carried on instead of a small personal item, subject to the same conditions below. A larger musical instrument that does not fit in the overhead bin and is brought to the gate will be checked to your final destination and subject to the applicable checked baggage fees plus a $25 gate handling charge.

As carry-on

As part of the allowance of one carry-on bag plus one personal item, a passenger may carry a violin, guitar or other small musical instrument onboard the aircraft if:

1. The instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the passenger; and
2. There is space for stowage at the time when the passenger boards the aircraft

Musical instruments transported onboard United and United Express aircraft must be in hard-shell cases.


Assuming there was room in the overhead bin and it fit, the violin should have been allowed on-board. Plus, the passenger claims to have offered to pay more to ride with her violin, so if it was a Basic Economy issue (which we admittedly don't know) she was clearly offering to do what was necessary to obviate those restrictions.
 
77H
Posts: 1570
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:10 pm

I'd like to find out whether or not she was on a E- ticket. When booking a flight all the information you need to know concerning what to expect on your upcoming trip are on the airline's website. If she was on an E- ticket she clearly didn't do her due diligence before clicking Purchase. Offering to pay money after the fact isn't the right option as there may not be anything in the res system to allow for that. If you know you're traveling with what amounts to a priceless piece of luggage do a little legwork ahead of time to make sure you're all set to go. Modern society, most notably Americans seem have an absolute lack of personal accountability. The media, social and network exacerbates this by making it seem like its the poor innocent passenger vs the big scary corporation. So many of the stories I've read about how horrible the airlines treat people could be avoided if the passenger themselves took the time to understand what they were purchasing.

If the passenger feels they need special accommodations or considerations, like traveling with a priceless violin, call the ahead and advise the airline so they can be prepared. As the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse, in this case, ignorance of the terms and conditions when purchasing a ticket are no excuse. Do most people sign up for car insurance, cellular service, internet, etc without knowing exactly what they get and what to expect? I know I don't, and I know exactly what to expect when I buy an airline ticket.

All this said, the supervisor should have never grabbed the customers personal belongings, or the customer herself. Moreover, there should be more leeway in extraordinary circumstances to make things right if for no other reason than to help a fellow person.

77H
 
N505fx
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:02 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:44 pm

Once I traveled with an very limited edition watch that was well within the 10's of thousands of dollars and accidentally packed it in my check-in and not my carry on and the world didn't end...no story here, just a bunch of prattle from news organizations that have nothing better to do. Seriously, if she was soooooooo concerned about her violin, you would think she would have educated herself on protecting her investment...a simple check of the UAL site would have told her what she can and can't do. NEWS FLASH - most people are stupid and love to embrace the victim mentality that has blossomed in this country in the last 10 years...her own fault for not doing it herself...nothing to see here folks...move on.
 
Yflyer
Posts: 1731
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:05 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:01 pm

N505fx wrote:
a simple check of the UAL site would have told her what she can and can't do.


Seriously? A simple check of United's website would have informed her that, as has already been posted in this thread, United allows violins as carryon baggage:

As part of the allowance of one carry-on bag plus one personal item, a passenger may carry a violin, guitar or other small musical instrument onboard the aircraft if:
1.The instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the passenger; and
2.There is space for stowage at the time when the passenger boards the aircraft


I assume this musician has traveled with the instrument before and knew that it met qualification #1. #2 Doesn't apply here as they hadn't even boarded yet.
 
Sancho99504
Posts: 713
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:20 pm

With all the hoopla going on and the fact that incidents everywhere are now being recorded by people's phones, the fact that nobody had video of this situation makes me wonder if it really went down the way her and her attorney make it sound..... "help me, help me, help me" would definitely attract the attention of a lot of people.
I'm wondering if she wasn't getting on an RJ with no overhead bin space and was told she'd have to pink tag it and didn't like that idea. If it doesn't fit underneath the seat in front of you, either no overhead storage available, she has to gate check it...
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
User avatar
LTU932
Posts: 13726
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:29 pm

77H wrote:
I'd like to find out whether or not she was on a E- ticket. When booking a flight all the information you need to know concerning what to expect on your upcoming trip are on the airline's website. If she was on an E- ticket she clearly didn't do her due diligence before clicking Purchase.
Of course she was on an e-ticket. I mean, since when has UA started to issue paper tickets again? Aren't old fashioned paper tickets supposed to be banished from aviation in the United States, Europe and pretty much 99% of the planet?
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
77H
Posts: 1570
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:41 pm

LTU932 wrote:
77H wrote:
I'd like to find out whether or not she was on a E- ticket. When booking a flight all the information you need to know concerning what to expect on your upcoming trip are on the airline's website. If she was on an E- ticket she clearly didn't do her due diligence before clicking Purchase.
Of course she was on an e-ticket. I mean, since when has UA started to issue paper tickets again? Aren't old fashioned paper tickets supposed to be banished from aviation in the United States, Europe and pretty much 99% of the planet?


E-, or Economy Minus is what I call Basic Economy. That is what I was referring to, not an eTicket as in Electronic Ticket. And you can get paper tickets at almost every airline, certainly UA, I get them all the time.

77H
 
User avatar
LTU932
Posts: 13726
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:43 pm

77H wrote:
LTU932 wrote:
77H wrote:
I'd like to find out whether or not she was on a E- ticket. When booking a flight all the information you need to know concerning what to expect on your upcoming trip are on the airline's website. If she was on an E- ticket she clearly didn't do her due diligence before clicking Purchase.
Of course she was on an e-ticket. I mean, since when has UA started to issue paper tickets again? Aren't old fashioned paper tickets supposed to be banished from aviation in the United States, Europe and pretty much 99% of the planet?


E-, or Economy Minus is what I call Basic Economy. That is what I was referring to, not an eTicket as in Electronic Ticket. And you can get paper tickets at almost every airline, certainly UA, I get them all the time.

77H
I see, still very confusing. Also, those paper tickets you mention are probably still e-tickets. What I meant was the old fashioned paper tickets from 20 years ago, not printouts of the electronic ticket issued to you or paper boarding passes issued at airport check-in or through a kiosk.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
FlyUSAir
Posts: 387
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:26 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:49 pm

mozart wrote:
Makes you wonder on what criteria that company recruits employees. Basic human sense and at least a two digit IQ do not seem to be criteria.

I mean, really?


The criteria is not very much these days, and this is not only seen in the airline industry but almost every industry.
A319/A320/A321/A333 712/732/733/734/735/737/738/752/753/762/763 C172 CR2/CR7/CR9 E145/E170/E175/E190
MD82/MD83/MD88/MD90 Q100/Q400
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:51 pm

Interesting that the article quotes the lawyer that it's not out the goodness of the airlines' hearts to make accommodation for an instrument, but that its a federal law. Then again, airlines are always ignoring these laws when it suits them, but then enforcing anything they please when it suits them.

Also, this might be an RJ route since it's IAH to Missouri (MCI or STL), so they are asking her to gate check due to not enough space due to size. She wanted to pay for another flight or find another way. But there might not have been another way... except, you know, using the crew locker up front which I've seem done for guitars and such.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
User avatar
WesternDC6B
Posts: 564
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:05 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:08 am

Do the baggage handlers have an instrument rating?
Last edited by WesternDC6B on Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Pedantic” defined: spelling “pedantic” “pædantic”.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:10 am

I think it is to simple to expect airlines to follow the rule of law, at least for some here on a.net.
 
77H
Posts: 1570
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:16 am

mjoelnir wrote:
I think it is to simple to expect airlines to follow the rule of law, at least for some here on a.net.


Can you show me what law the airline broke in this instance? Is there a law stating that any piece of luggage a passenger brings with them and deems necessary to ride with them in the cabin is allowed ride in the cabin?

I used to play violin, a violin case could easily take up an entire overhead bin and could be too large entirely depending on aircraft size. I have seen countless passengers on past flights try and stuff all sorts of belongings in overhead bins. I have on occasion stepped up to stop passengers from doing so lest they break a bin causing a maintenance delay inconveniencing everyone. Should the airline sue the passenger for destruction of property? There could be a very good explanation to why the agent told this passenger her violin couldn't be brought aboard the aircraft. Again, I am not condoning the agent putting her hands on the customers belongings or the customer but I truly don't understand where the entitlement comes from when flying?

So I buy a $200 ticket from point A-B and with that purchase I now entitled to dictate where my luggage goes, I get to sit where I want, move around the cabin whenever I want or bring anyone I want along with me? All 4 of the examples I just listed made the forums on here within the last 2 months as examples of poor airline customer service. When you type it out like I have it sounds preposterous, because it is.

This woman had countless opportunities to communicate with the airline ahead of time to ensure she wasn't going to have any issues getting her violin in the cabin.
1) After purchasing the ticket she could have called United reservations to advise them she would be traveling with a very important belonging and would need to have it on board with her. The reservation agent could make a note in the reservation reflecting this or could have advised the customer it was not possible due to aircraft type, etc.
2) Upon arriving at the airport the customer could have gone to the ticket counter and advised a on-site rep that she had a very important belonging with her that needed special consideration.
3) Before boarding started the customer could have approached the gate agent to advise of the violin.

Many aircraft have closets for coats and suits that could have been utilized for the violin. Arraignments could have been made in advance to store the violin there. Trying to negotiate how to get your precious violin on the plane as people are going down the jetway when the gate agents have a flurry of other things to do is not the right time. Take some personal accountability and stop expecting others to bail you out.

77H
 
N505fx
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:02 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:57 am

mjoelnir wrote:
I think it is to simple to expect airlines to follow the rule of law, at least for some here on a.net.


Uhhhh....care to quote which law that is?
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:26 am

77H wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
I think it is to simple to expect airlines to follow the rule of law, at least for some here on a.net.


Can you show me what law the airline broke in this instance? Is there a law stating that any piece of luggage a passenger brings with them and deems necessary to ride with them in the cabin is allowed ride in the cabin?

I used to play violin, a violin case could easily take up an entire overhead bin and could be too large entirely depending on aircraft size. I have seen countless passengers on past flights try and stuff all sorts of belongings in overhead bins. I have on occasion stepped up to stop passengers from doing so lest they break a bin causing a maintenance delay inconveniencing everyone. Should the airline sue the passenger for destruction of property? There could be a very good explanation to why the agent told this passenger her violin couldn't be brought aboard the aircraft. Again, I am not condoning the agent putting her hands on the customers belongings or the customer but I truly don't understand where the entitlement comes from when flying?

So I buy a $200 ticket from point A-B and with that purchase I now entitled to dictate where my luggage goes, I get to sit where I want, move around the cabin whenever I want or bring anyone I want along with me? All 4 of the examples I just listed made the forums on here within the last 2 months as examples of poor airline customer service. When you type it out like I have it sounds preposterous, because it is.

This woman had countless opportunities to communicate with the airline ahead of time to ensure she wasn't going to have any issues getting her violin in the cabin.
1) After purchasing the ticket she could have called United reservations to advise them she would be traveling with a very important belonging and would need to have it on board with her. The reservation agent could make a note in the reservation reflecting this or could have advised the customer it was not possible due to aircraft type, etc.
2) Upon arriving at the airport the customer could have gone to the ticket counter and advised a on-site rep that she had a very important belonging with her that needed special consideration.
3) Before boarding started the customer could have approached the gate agent to advise of the violin.

Many aircraft have closets for coats and suits that could have been utilized for the violin. Arraignments could have been made in advance to store the violin there. Trying to negotiate how to get your precious violin on the plane as people are going down the jetway when the gate agents have a flurry of other things to do is not the right time. Take some personal accountability and stop expecting others to bail you out.

77H


If you would start to read the thread before starting to rant, you would have found that somebody already posted United conditions regarding musicians and their instruments. These conditions are not because United is so friendly, but because there is a law.

https://www.transportation.gov/briefing ... el-musical

As we talk about a violin here, we talk about a small musical instrument. A violin is even the example for a small musical instrument in the DOT ruling regarding the law.. If United would have shown that there was no space available for that instrument on that flight because every available space was already taken, there would have been a point to your rant.
It seems to me that any thing an airline staff does will be vigorously defended here on A.net, even when a law is broken.

I would like to add here that young classical musicians are often not rich people and especially in case of a violin that could be all there worldly possession and carry perhaps a hefty loan. It is astonishing always the disdain here on a.net for people who try and have to travel cheaply. Not everybody has a employer paying for them to fly business class.
Last edited by mjoelnir on Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
KarelXWB
Posts: 26968
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:49 am

Too bad the situation escalated, but what exactly is the problem about checking a violin in the first place?
What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:58 am

KarelXWB wrote:
Too bad the situation escalated, but what exactly is the problem about checking a violin in the first place?


I assume that no sane person would check in a violin as a hold item.
 
dc9northwest
Posts: 2270
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:33 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:28 am

KarelXWB wrote:
Too bad the situation escalated, but what exactly is the problem about checking a violin in the first place?


United breaks violins.
 
TigerFlyer
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:51 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:47 am

Yeah, there actually is a reg on this, implementing the FAA reform act of 2012. It's problematic in that it only requires instruments to be allowed onboard in the overhead if there is space available at the time the passenger boards. So, if you're a musician traveling with a Stratevarios without status and wind up in group 4 you might be forced to check it. A very imperfect rule. https://www.transportation.gov/briefing ... el-musical
 
chrisrad
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2000 7:26 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:12 am

N505fx wrote:
Once I traveled with an very limited edition watch that was well within the 10's of thousands of dollars and accidentally packed it in my check-in and not my carry on and the world didn't end...no story here, just a bunch of prattle from news organizations that have nothing better to do. Seriously, if she was soooooooo concerned about her violin, you would think she would have educated herself on protecting her investment...a simple check of the UAL site would have told her what she can and can't do. NEWS FLASH - most people are stupid and love to embrace the victim mentality that has blossomed in this country in the last 10 years...her own fault for not doing it herself...nothing to see here folks...move on.


NEWS FLASH! a watch is replaceable, a violin is not. If you don't know the first thing about instruments (which is clear) then don't write such ignorant comments. A basic professional violin would start at 50k.
You are comparing a small wrist watch packed into a large suitcase that's checked in, likely hood of damage to it? 1%

A violin which is made out of wood (not metal like a watch) is inherently more fragile. Check it in, likely hood of damage? 95%

I'm pretty confident it's not the first time she has travelled, like many other musicians and it's pretty much a global standard that such instruments are carry-on items.
Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
 
wjcandee
Posts: 9067
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:12 am

Very disappointed by some of the comments in this thread.

To review:

(1) A "supervisor" didn't know the DOT regulation regarding violins, nor United's own rule regarding violins. Bizarre because the regulation was enacted in part because United Breaks Guitars.

(2) The supervisor didn't offer any alternatives, which is what the musician, a professionally-behaving non-idiot, asked for.

(3) The supervisor refused to involve anyone higher in the situation.

(4) The supervisor attempted physically to grab the item from the passenger at the gate; the supervisor may have injured the musician.

Posts suggesting that the musician should have self-educated are missing the mark. It is up to the airline to train its employees, particularly its supervisors, in the applicable laws and applicable policies of the airline.

It happens over and over and over again, particularly at United, that customer-facing employees are ignorant of important policies and then attempt to use the "interference with a flight crew" rule as a bludgeon to get their way and to intimidate pesky passengers. They refuse to involve someone who might actually know the rule, and never seem to be punished appropriately when their antics cause harm. If only their airline didn't carry passengers, their jobs would be so much easier. Who knows? Maybe their wish will come true.

I will reiterate that I think giving low-level employees the power to threaten passengers is a mistake, and that Congress should delete or at least modify the interference with a flight crew (and/or refusal to follow instructions) rule because of its widespread misuse by nitwit employees (and that the security/gate-agent relationship should be similarly modified). There are likely other things that people who really should be charged for misbehavior can be charged with if the circumstances warrant.

There is a reason that United Breaks Guitars has had more than 17 million views. Nine years following Dave Carroll's incident, little has changed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

The Wikipedia summary of the story is a good read. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Breaks_Guitars
Last edited by wjcandee on Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:41 am, edited 11 times in total.
 
747m8te
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:14 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:49 am

77H wrote:
LTU932 wrote:
77H wrote:
I'd like to find out whether or not she was on a E- ticket. When booking a flight all the information you need to know concerning what to expect on your upcoming trip are on the airline's website. If she was on an E- ticket she clearly didn't do her due diligence before clicking Purchase.
Of course she was on an e-ticket. I mean, since when has UA started to issue paper tickets again? Aren't old fashioned paper tickets supposed to be banished from aviation in the United States, Europe and pretty much 99% of the planet?


E-, or Economy Minus is what I call Basic Economy. That is what I was referring to, not an eTicket as in Electronic Ticket. And you can get paper tickets at almost every airline, certainly UA, I get them all the time.

77H


No you can't, most airlines around the world have stopped issuing and accepting paper tickets, the only exception being staff travel and irop re-protected pax, but even this is hugely reduced with most airlines now. LTU932 is correct, I believe there is an IATA ruling coming into effect soon abolishing paper tickets and other manual written paper charge documents from being issued and accepted...however you can get paper 'printouts' of the e-ticket which in many cases will include all the relevant information if that is what you are referring to.

But that is all an aside issue, the matter here is if it's a standard size violin, it would have been within the standard carryon size and should have been allowed.
Last edited by 747m8te on Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Flown on:
DHC8Q200,DHC8Q300,DHC8Q400, EMB145,E170,E175,E190, A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A380, MD80, B712,B733,B734,B737,B738,B743,B744,B744ER,B762,B763,B77W
 
oldannyboy
Posts: 2575
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:28 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:14 am

Factual probability: the underpaid, under-trained, UA agent probably had never seen or heard of a precious, hand-made, 17th musical instrument, and was simply treating both customer and said object as the next bothersome item on their day's tight agenda...? ....the realities of turning aviation into a junk fast-food outlet....
 
dtw2hyd
Posts: 8414
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:10 pm

KarelXWB wrote:
Too bad the situation escalated, but what exactly is the problem about checking a violin in the first place?


This may sound weird, but a violin is a highly technical instrument with very tight tolerances, less than a millimeter in several places.

Violins are glued together with an animal product (a 5000 year old invention)called hyde glue. It is a repairable glue with application of water and heat (around 146 F). No modern day glue has this capability.

So a few drops of water (or) heat in wrong place will ruin the instrument.

A 300 year old Stradivarius/Amati/Guarneri costs more than a airworthy used B777 assuming someone ready to sell one.
All posts are just opinions.
 
User avatar
exunited
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:48 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:13 pm

Another case of the Dr. Dao ATM machine being opened and too many lawyers around wanting some free publicity. Disagreements happen every day at the grocery store or Nordstrom's, why is each of these not making the newspapers??? Such hype about everything that has to do with airlines.
 
B737900ER
Posts: 1028
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:26 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:07 pm

Too bad so many "reasonable" posters have once again decided to jump to a conclusion after hearing only one side of the story, based off the account of one person. An account which has evolved and continues to evolve based off of her quotes in a previous news article.
 
User avatar
kgaiflyer
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:22 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:32 pm

"A simple check on the United website would have told you that even with only a basic economy ticket she should have been aloud to carry that violin on the plane as cabin baggage"

Really, it would depend on the aircraft, wouldn't it? For instance, there is not enough room in the overhead bins on an E145 to accommodate the fifty passengers the plane is configured to carry.

OTOH, it she was to board her plane in UA groups 4 or 5, chances are there would be no bin space left. I've been on at least four 100% full UA flights in the last two weeks. In that case, you check *all* you non under-seat stuff or you don't board.

Btw, when did this happen? These stories sometimes show up *years* after the actual event.
 
rbrunner
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:13 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:41 pm

A 300 year old Stradivarius/Amati/Guarneri costs more than a airworthy used B777 assuming someone ready to sell one

Absolutely. And one wouldn't want an instrument like that being handled like "luggage".
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:50 pm

kgaiflyer wrote:
"A simple check on the United website would have told you that even with only a basic economy ticket she should have been aloud to carry that violin on the plane as cabin baggage"

Really, it would depend on the aircraft, wouldn't it? For instance, there is not enough room in the overhead bins on an E145 to accommodate the fifty passengers the plane is configured to carry.

OTOH, it she was to board her plane in UA groups 4 or 5, chances are there would be no bin space left. I've been on at least four 100% full UA flights in the last two weeks. In that case, you check *all* you non under-seat stuff or you don't board.

Btw, when did this happen? These stories sometimes show up *years* after the actual event.

The erj has a closet. I've seen nice staff put guitars in there, tall poster tubes, etc. a violin case is rather small in two dimensions but it's 32" long which makes it not fit under seat. But it would fit in the closet.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:07 pm

kgaiflyer wrote:
"A simple check on the United website would have told you that even with only a basic economy ticket she should have been aloud to carry that violin on the plane as cabin baggage"

Really, it would depend on the aircraft, wouldn't it? For instance, there is not enough room in the overhead bins on an E145 to accommodate the fifty passengers the plane is configured to carry.

OTOH, it she was to board her plane in UA groups 4 or 5, chances are there would be no bin space left. I've been on at least four 100% full UA flights in the last two weeks. In that case, you check *all* you non under-seat stuff or you don't board.

Btw, when did this happen? These stories sometimes show up *years* after the actual event.


Nice try, but neither SkyWest nor Mesa Airlines operates the E145.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:20 pm

United has refunded the fare and made an apology. I think the main think for her and why she got an lawyer, is that the United employee hurt her hand, not an insignificant point, regarding that she is a violinist.
 
czek6
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:20 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:52 pm

And what would the United employee have done if it was her hand that was hurt because the passenger had wrestled the violin away from her?

Does anyone believe that the passenger wouldn't have been arrested or worse?
 
seat1a
Posts: 617
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:52 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:01 pm

mozart wrote:
Makes you wonder on what criteria that company recruits employees. Basic human sense and at least a two digit IQ do not seem to be criteria.

I mean, really?


Spot on. This post x100! I wonder that myself. Your front line employees are so critical, what's happening in the recruit/interview process?!?!? Maybe HR is the root of the customer service issues that UA (and others) have. Pay is low I'm sure, but there has to be SOMEONE that can be better than this.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:14 pm

I would be astonished if the crew on board would not have found a place to slide one violin into. Think about the news story if the violin had been carried in the hold and been damaged.
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 14585
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:28 pm

wjcandee wrote:
It happens over and over and over again, particularly at United, that customer-facing employees are ignorant of important policies and then attempt to use the "interference with a flight crew" rule as a bludgeon to get their way and to intimidate pesky passengers. They refuse to involve someone who might actually know the rule, and never seem to be punished appropriately when their antics cause harm. If only their airline didn't carry passengers, their jobs would be so much easier. Who knows? Maybe their wish will come true.

I will reiterate that I think giving low-level employees the power to threaten passengers is a mistake, and that Congress should delete or at least modify the interference with a flight crew (and/or refusal to follow instructions) rule because of its widespread misuse by nitwit employees (and that the security/gate-agent relationship should be similarly modified). There are likely other things that people who really should be charged for misbehavior can be charged with if the circumstances warrant.


These are good points. 15 years ago, I traveled frequently with a musical instrument that I checked. I did not really expect airline staff to know the minutiae of how checking (and TSA screening, which was new then) of that particular instrument worked. That part was on me. But I did rightfully expect that the staff would defer to me on how things worked. They did, and they seemed to sense that I knew the rules and procedures better than they did because I dealt with the instrument on some decently large fraction of my trips, whereas they might see it once every few months if that. In that time period the mutual trust worked. The system still needs that mutual trust, but I think it has disappeared on at least some carriers.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:28 pm

czek6 wrote:
And what would the United employee have done if it was her hand that was hurt because the passenger had wrestled the violin away from her?

Does anyone believe that the passenger wouldn't have been arrested or worse?

????

That isn't what happened. The employee tried to forcibly gate check a high value item. And frankly if the employee had taken the violin and the customer had tried to get it back and hurt the employees hand, that's still the employees fault. Gate employees simply do not have the right to take forcibly items from customers.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Yflyer
Posts: 1731
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:05 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:42 pm

N505fx wrote:
Yflyer wrote:
[

Bingo!!!!


Umm, I was disagreeing with you.
 
77H
Posts: 1570
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:38 pm

mjoelnir wrote:
77H wrote:
mjoelnir wrote:
I think it is to simple to expect airlines to follow the rule of law, at least for some here on a.net.


Can you show me what law the airline broke in this instance? Is there a law stating that any piece of luggage a passenger brings with them and deems necessary to ride with them in the cabin is allowed ride in the cabin?

I used to play violin, a violin case could easily take up an entire overhead bin and could be too large entirely depending on aircraft size. I have seen countless passengers on past flights try and stuff all sorts of belongings in overhead bins. I have on occasion stepped up to stop passengers from doing so lest they break a bin causing a maintenance delay inconveniencing everyone. Should the airline sue the passenger for destruction of property? There could be a very good explanation to why the agent told this passenger her violin couldn't be brought aboard the aircraft. Again, I am not condoning the agent putting her hands on the customers belongings or the customer but I truly don't understand where the entitlement comes from when flying?

So I buy a $200 ticket from point A-B and with that purchase I now entitled to dictate where my luggage goes, I get to sit where I want, move around the cabin whenever I want or bring anyone I want along with me? All 4 of the examples I just listed made the forums on here within the last 2 months as examples of poor airline customer service. When you type it out like I have it sounds preposterous, because it is.

This woman had countless opportunities to communicate with the airline ahead of time to ensure she wasn't going to have any issues getting her violin in the cabin.
1) After purchasing the ticket she could have called United reservations to advise them she would be traveling with a very important belonging and would need to have it on board with her. The reservation agent could make a note in the reservation reflecting this or could have advised the customer it was not possible due to aircraft type, etc.
2) Upon arriving at the airport the customer could have gone to the ticket counter and advised a on-site rep that she had a very important belonging with her that needed special consideration.
3) Before boarding started the customer could have approached the gate agent to advise of the violin.

Many aircraft have closets for coats and suits that could have been utilized for the violin. Arraignments could have been made in advance to store the violin there. Trying to negotiate how to get your precious violin on the plane as people are going down the jetway when the gate agents have a flurry of other things to do is not the right time. Take some personal accountability and stop expecting others to bail you out.

77H


If you would start to read the thread before starting to rant, you would have found that somebody already posted United conditions regarding musicians and their instruments. These conditions are not because United is so friendly, but because there is a law.

https://www.transportation.gov/briefing ... el-musical

As we talk about a violin here, we talk about a small musical instrument. A violin is even the example for a small musical instrument in the DOT ruling regarding the law.. If United would have shown that there was no space available for that instrument on that flight because every available space was already taken, there would have been a point to your rant.
It seems to me that any thing an airline staff does will be vigorously defended here on A.net, even when a law is broken.

I would like to add here that young classical musicians are often not rich people and especially in case of a violin that could be all there worldly possession and carry perhaps a hefty loan. It is astonishing always the disdain here on a.net for people who try and have to travel cheaply. Not everybody has a employer paying for them to fly business class.


The law requires the airlines to allow passengers to bring small musical instruments onboard provided there is storage space available. That's the key, if stowage space is available.

You don't know if there was stowage space available which is why in my posts, which you call a rant I said the customer should have called ahead or talked to a staff representative before boarding to ensure there is space. I never said anything about her trying to fly on the cheap, as a matter of fact I said offering additional money is not the answer. I also said I don't think it's right for the agent to have put her hands on the instrument or the customer.

I am not blindly taking the side of the airline but I'm also not giving the passenger a free pass. What is wrong with expecting customers to do some advanced planning when they have special circumstances that require extra attention from the airline?

What we don't know from the article is if there was stowage space on board the aircraft. If there was none, no law was broken. The airline did offer her an alternative which was to check the violin. The customer didn't want that. She offered to pay extra money which may not have been an option. I see the law allows for instruments to occupy seats. What if the flight was full? The article mentions nothing about load factor. Should United have bumped a paying passenger for the violin? If they did that it'd be all over the news again.

This could have all been avoided if the customer had reached out ahead of time to advise she was carrying something of great value and "reserved" space onboard for it in advance.

Speaking of news/media, the article I read gives next to no pertenant background information. What was the plane type, was there available stowage onboard, was the flight full? The media is exploiting this incident for their own gain and writing it in typical David vs the Goliath fashion to gain viewership. The lack of information leaves the causal viewer to make up their own judgment on what happened regardless of the true facts.

77H
Last edited by 77H on Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
dassal
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:54 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:49 pm

WesternDC6B wrote:
Do the baggage handlers have an instrument rating?

Nope....Visual flight rules apply to them!
 
User avatar
PPVLC
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 12:07 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:10 pm

A violin is a very delicate instrument and highly sensitive to temperature changes, I would never put on in the hold. I once had a passenger who booked a 1st class seat just for his cello.
Cabin crew L188 707 727 737 767 A300 DC10 MD11 777 747
 
77H
Posts: 1570
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:31 pm

ikramerica wrote:
kgaiflyer wrote:
"A simple check on the United website would have told you that even with only a basic economy ticket she should have been aloud to carry that violin on the plane as cabin baggage"

Really, it would depend on the aircraft, wouldn't it? For instance, there is not enough room in the overhead bins on an E145 to accommodate the fifty passengers the plane is configured to carry.

OTOH, it she was to board her plane in UA groups 4 or 5, chances are there would be no bin space left. I've been on at least four 100% full UA flights in the last two weeks. In that case, you check *all* you non under-seat stuff or you don't board.

Btw, when did this happen? These stories sometimes show up *years* after the actual event.

The erj has a closet. I've seen nice staff put guitars in there, tall poster tubes, etc. a violin case is rather small in two dimensions but it's 32" long which makes it not fit under seat. But it would fit in the closet.


That assumes the closet was not already full which the news story does not report on. I'll say again for the last time, the passenger should have taken some personal responsibility as an adult and looked to make prior arraignments for her violin with the airline knowing that it is a priceless instrument. My guess is the passenger showed up to the airport and assumed the airline would accommodate any curve ball she would throw at them. We all know the phrase about assuming....

77H
 
User avatar
allegro
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:37 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:45 pm

As a Million Miler at United and a 40+ year violinist, I am simply appalled at the gate agents behavior. These are irreplaceable pieces of art and history. There were many other options:
The violin case is no bigger than any standard roll-on, so they could have asked passengers to give up the overhead bin space and have their baggage checked to give space for the rare violin. I am sure someone would have sympathized and done it. As others have mentioned they could have put it in the closet or found a space for it. I see 25% of passenger who put BOTH their carry-ons in the overhead (personal pet peeve ... always give them a dirty look, but they don't care as evidenced by their abuse of policy), so I would have looked for smaller carry-ons and asked who they belonged to and see if anyone doubled up. Not to mention the gate agent grabbing it. My violin was made for me, it required three fittings and a year and half of waiting. If anyone touches that case without my permission, they would end up in the hospital. For us, that is the same as someone grabbing your child or pet (I am not even a professional, just an engineer, but play everyday). I cannot emphasize how deep the attachment between an instrument and a person becomes. It is part of you ... an intimate part of you.

Today I am looking at other options with United. If Delta or American will give me the same status, I am switching in a heartbeat.

--Annoyed Violinist
Flown on: DC-3, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-11, MD-80, MD-90, 707, 717, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, A300, A310, A320, A330,
 
User avatar
Blimpie
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:48 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:24 pm

chrisrad wrote:

NEWS FLASH! a watch is replaceable, a violin is not. If you don't know the first thing about instruments (which is clear) then don't write such ignorant comments. A basic professional violin would start at 50k.
You are comparing a small wrist watch packed into a large suitcase that's checked in, likely hood of damage to it? 1%

A violin which is made out of wood (not metal like a watch) is inherently more fragile. Check it in, likely hood of damage? 95%


NEWS FLASH!! You clearly know NOTHING about watches or horology. There is a massive market for handmade swiss watches, that have tens of thousands of individual parts that are less than am micron in thickness, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars new. Show me a violin worth a hundred k and I'll show you a watch worth that as well. I know plenty of people who gasp at the $2500 Rolex (a very poorly made cheap machine mass-manufactured piece). No offense, I would beg to differ about how fragile a wood violin with a few dozen pieces is compared to a thousands in a TAG Heuer Monaco (another inexpensive watch).

For a professional musician who has a violin worth tens of thousands of dollars, and compares her hands to that of a surgeon, I would question why she is flying on a Basic Economy ticket; and if she flies so much why she seem ignorant to the carry-no rules pertaining to a basic economy fare. I don't condone the gate agent's actions in the least, but as someone who travels with high value items (mostly professional camera gear), I make damn sure to have my ducks in a row before I take a flight regardless of fare bucket paid.
Now get the hell off of my lawn your dang kids!
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 9394
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:06 pm

Blimpie wrote:
chrisrad wrote:

NEWS FLASH! a watch is replaceable, a violin is not. If you don't know the first thing about instruments (which is clear) then don't write such ignorant comments. A basic professional violin would start at 50k.
You are comparing a small wrist watch packed into a large suitcase that's checked in, likely hood of damage to it? 1%

A violin which is made out of wood (not metal like a watch) is inherently more fragile. Check it in, likely hood of damage? 95%


NEWS FLASH!! You clearly know NOTHING about watches or horology. There is a massive market for handmade swiss watches, that have tens of thousands of individual parts that are less than am micron in thickness, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars new. Show me a violin worth a hundred k and I'll show you a watch worth that as well. I know plenty of people who gasp at the $2500 Rolex (a very poorly made cheap machine mass-manufactured piece). No offense, I would beg to differ about how fragile a wood violin with a few dozen pieces is compared to a thousands in a TAG Heuer Monaco (another inexpensive watch).

For a professional musician who has a violin worth tens of thousands of dollars, and compares her hands to that of a surgeon, I would question why she is flying on a Basic Economy ticket; and if she flies so much why she seem ignorant to the carry-no rules pertaining to a basic economy fare. I don't condone the gate agent's actions in the least, but as someone who travels with high value items (mostly professional camera gear), I make damn sure to have my ducks in a row before I take a flight regardless of fare bucket paid.


It has absolutely nothing to do if she was flying basic economy or something else. Does one has to fly business class so the airline respects the law? Or does one has to fly business class so the airline staff does check what the law is? Whatever your point is, a well packed camera equipment is not as fragile as a violin and if it is damaged or stolen, it can be replaced with the identical equipment. If you fly with a violin in the USA, it is treated as hand luggage and goes with you to the cabin, if than there is really no space left for your violin you can decide to deboard.
 
User avatar
VirginFlyer
Posts: 5571
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2000 12:27 pm

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:27 am

77H wrote:
My guess is the passenger showed up to the airport and assumed the airline would accommodate any curve ball she would throw at them. We all know the phrase about assuming....

"Hello kettle, this is the pot. You're black!"

Unless of course you're saying your guess is based on factual information and not just an assumption?

V/F
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. —Bahá'u'lláh
 
wjcandee
Posts: 9067
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: United tries to force musician to check 17th century violin

Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:34 am

Again, so many posts missing the point.

This happened BEFORE she boarded the aircraft.

The law requires that she be given the opportunity to put it in the overhead, even if she is flying BASIC economy.

She offered to pay whatever she had to (i.e. a pricier ticket), which frankly a smart supervisor should have been happy to allow. (Remember when airline employees actually were delighted to sell you something that would bring the company more revenue? I do. Now they could care less.)

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos