Very disappointed by some of the comments in this thread.
(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.