You've read the warnings about Ryanair. Now it's official

You've read the warnings about Ryanair. Now it's official


norman lebrecht

August 26, 2010

Michael O’Leary’s budget airline is not very nice to musicians. Almost 13,000 have banded together on Facebook to form Musicians Against Ryanair, complaining of rudeness, discomfort and an intolerance for musical instruments in the passenger cabin.

That protest has just acquired official backing. The Incorporated Society of Musicians issued a press release today, reporting the case of a 12 year-old girl who was turned off a flight after being refused permission to carry her small violin on board. The ISM warns musicians to beware of the Ryanair experience. Maybe not just musicians.


Press release follows: 

Young girl stopped from boarding Ryanair flight with violin

Musicians are being warned to take extra care when planning air travel with their instruments.

The advice comes after several reported cases this summer of musicians being targeted by airline staff. In one instance, twelve-year old music student Francesca Rijks, who studies at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, was turned away with her violin at the boarding gate of a Ryanair flight returning to the UK from Germany. Her parents were told the violin was not allowed as hand luggage, and were given an ultimatum to either put the violin in the baggage hold of the plane, which would cause irreparable damage to the instrument, or to purchase an additional seat at a cost of 230 euros. This was despite the fact they had received confirmation from the Ryanair customer service department (prior to purchasing any tickets) that the instrument would be accepted. They had also checked in without problems.

Francesca’s father Harmen Rijks said ‘This was an absolute disgrace! Their policy appears to discriminate against violinists, the vast majority of whom simply can’t afford to purchase an additional seat.’

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is warning anyone intending to travel with a small instrument to check very carefully before travelling with Ryanair, and to ensure their instruments will be accepted as hand luggage before booking any flights.

David Abrahams, Head of Legal Services at the ISM, said: ‘We are deeply concerned about the recent cases involving musicians travelling on flights with their instruments.’

‘The idea that musicians should be forced to purchase an additional seat on board an aircraft because they are carrying an instrument that can be stored safely in the overhead lockers is unfair, discriminatory and irrational. These airlines are punishing musicians for being musicians.’

In addition, the ISM has advised its members to take with them a letter, signed by ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts, confirming that they are music professionals.

ENDS [12_10]

Note to editors

1. The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s professional body for musicians. We champion the importance of music and protect the rights of those working within music through a range of services, campaigns, support and practical advice. We offer peace of mind with our high quality legal expertise, casework and comprehensive insurance and are proud of the assistance we have given our members since 1882.

2. The International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA) and the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) are corporate members of the ISM. Their members have also recently experienced problems with airlines when travelling with their musical instruments.

For further information on this story, please contact Natalia Fenyoe, Head of Marketing, t: 020 7079 1211, e:


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