Airline staff force string quartet to carry instruments ‘naked’

Airline staff force string quartet to carry instruments ‘naked’


norman lebrecht

December 09, 2013

The excellent Quatuor Voce are the latest group to suffer airline tyranny, this time at Orly Airport in Paris. They were forced to remove instruments from their cases and fly with them unprotected.

Cellist Lydia Shelley reports on their Facebook page:

Got to love the Vueling (Spanish airline) staff at Paris Orly who made my colleagues check their instrument cases into the hold and take their two violins and viola on board the flight without cases, and pay over €100 for the pleasure! Lucky I had enough space in my cello case (with the help of several scarves) to fit their bows in..!

Un grand merci à l’équipe de Veuilng à Paris Orly qui a forcé mes collègues de prendre leurs instruments dans l’avion sans leurs boîtes, qui devaient être enregistrées en soute pour plus que €100! Heureusement j’avais assez de place dans ma boîte de violoncelle (avec l’aide de plusieurs écharpes) pour en mettre leurs archets…!

She concludes: #musiciansneverflyvueling

The Strad has some more details.

quatuor voce



  • ed says:

    With all its regulatory verbiage, why can’t the EU get its act together on such a simple problem?

    Is it possible that at the 11th hour the Ukrainian President realized that all those musicians from Odessa and Kiev would be f#$%ked?

  • Jane Ginsborg says:

    A well-known Irish budget airline made school-children stow their violin cases in the hold and carry their instruments unprotected on their laps three years ago, although they had paid to take them as hand luggage. I checked with the company that insured their instruments at the time – they would not have been covered if the instruments had been damaged.

    • ed says:

      Now that is troubling- both the airline’s policy and the insurance company’s. One can understand that having to hold an instrument during a flight could put it at risk, (though what is so different about this than holding the instrument to play on it?). Still, that the insurer would deny coverage to an insured forced to comply with a flight requirement makes one wonder, and would encourage one to read the fine print and shop. Your comment is very helpful. We have been so used to ‘stability’ in the past that now with the unexpected and/or tectonic shifts or changes in our laws, institutions and policies (including arbitrary, irrational, or illegitimate conduct of powerful companies we cannot avoid doing business with) we find ourselves in an uncertain universe where it is too often Orwell and Kafka redux.

  • J. Valentin Centenero says:

    A similar situation of our colleague coming to Barcelona with Iberia in a flight operated by Vueling