The Norwegians may have backed down on their refusal to allow a cello in the cabin, but you don’t push an Aussie air crew over that easily. Oh no, you don’t, mate.
At least that’s what my mate Tor Fromyhr experienced when he tried to hold onto his 1890s Degani violin, worth the price of a downtown apartment, during a flight from Canberra to Brisbane at the weekend. He was made to remove the instrument from its case and put it on the floor, underneath his seat, exposing it to serious risk of damage. Happily, the violin survived for Tor to play the Bartók concerto in Brisbane.
Tor, who is head of strings at the Australian National University, went to press with the story. Qantas refused to comment. I’d avoid booking with them until they do.
Every now and then, airlines start an anti-instrument campaign, usually under the guise of ‘security’or ‘anti-terrorism’. Mostly, they back down, once the bile rises in the passengers’ gorge. Come on, Qantas, say sorry and start again.