Error in the skies

Here’s an important piece from Steven Isserlis on the ever-worsening travel situation for musicians in and out of Britain. Let me state this clearly- these new rules have nothing to do with safety. I’ve been through several worst case scenarios with airlines because of my cello over the years- it’s led to missed flights, lost gigs, and worst, several thousands of dollars in restoration costs to my 370 year-old instrument. Hard to believe it just got worse, but it did.

After 9/11 the US authorities briefly tried something similar before Congress actually stepped in to restore sanity (how often does that happen???). Delta actually makes a policy of flouting US law by refusing carriage to instruments on many of their flights, and they’ve been blacklisted by the union as a result. If you love music, write your legislator, your aviation authority and your airline, and let them know how you feel about this.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

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1 comment on “Error in the skies”



    I’ve been flying with my guitar for well over 10 years, and have never been forced to check it. Checking an old archtop would surely destroy it.

    Checking in at La Guardia on my way to a show in Atlanta, I was forced to buy a seat for my irreplaceable 50 year old guitar at the last minute. First offer: Only $1020.00. The hostile, rude counter jockey in the faux military uniform finally got me a seat for well over $650.00.

    He had no last name on his name tag, and refused to allow me to speak with his superior.

    He claimed it was a security issue, but security just x-rayed the case. Never even asked me to open it. Every security person I spoke to (and I spoke with plenty) were shocked, and said they had absolutely no problem with guitars. As a matter of fact, over the past 10+ years, no security personnel have had any problem with my guitar, here or in Europe.

    Delta is pretending it’s a security issue, but it’s clearly not.

    Delta is using the human misery of 9/11 as an excuse to bully and steal from musicians.

    Delta Airlines Screws Musicians.



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