Two violins, stranded by airline on the tarmac

Two violins, stranded by airline on the tarmac


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2014

Time For Three violinists Zach De Pue and Nick were on their way to meet up with bassist, Ranaan Meyer, to play at a festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas when the captain and crew of a USAir flight in Charlotte, NC, told them that violins were not allowed on the flight!

‘They literally left us alone on the tarmac without any direction,’ exclaims Nick. ‘Are violins dangerous? It’s hard enough to make it as a classical musician. Cut us some slack, please…’

Cut USAir from your flight plans, please.

time for three

Happier times with Time for Three:


  • cory says:

    We aren’t being told much of the story so I assume there is little truth to the whole, “literally left us alone on the tarmac”. I’m a cellist that has flown a few times with my cello on US Airways so I know somethings up. Seeing how obnoxiously attention craving the violinist playing is, I bet they didn’t comply to a rule of the airway and this is his way of pouting for the world to feel sorry. Instead of resolving their conflict they decided to make a video proving their immaturity, in doing so they make the rest of the classical world look like jerks too. So thanks guys.

    • Noemi says:

      Yep, that’s Time for Three. Tactless, rude and arrogant.

      • Boyce says:


        Having worked with Time for Three, none of your description is accurate. They are gracious, grateful, accommodating musicians who go out of their way to teach, entertain, and enlighten. Cory, I have had the airline tell me a bag I was carrying, which contained an irreplaceable artifact, along with my wife’s bag, which had two hand blown glass pieces we had carefully packed, would not fit under the seat (though it fit on the trip out) and that the overhead bins were full. After I registered my displeasure and, reluctantly surrendered the bags, imagine my surprise at finding two empty overhead bins in our seating area. One of the bags was destroyed by the baggage handlers.

        Read Lynn Harrell’s account of his ongoing squabbles with Delta.

        • NYMike says:

          Inconsistencies among US airlines in treating working musicians and their instruments is an all too well-known fact. Just last week the AFM president and legislative lobbyist were in DC discussing these very issues with the FAA. Although the FAA has issued a directive regarding this, some airline personnel are continuing to ignore it in what seems to be a guarding their turf business. Meanwhile, musicians continue to suffer, not knowing whether or not they can board.

  • Branimir Pofuk says:

    Well, the video confirms that they were literally left alone on the tarmac. People from the Belgrade Philharmonic, who played yesterday here in Zagreb, told me how difficult it was to find an airliner that will allow them to take the violins into the cabin while flying overseas the next October. What a nonsense! When did it start?!
    Finally, the Belgrade Phil found a violin and musician friendly carrier for their US tour: Turkish Airlines! (Applause!)

  • cory says:

    But in none of these cases do you see people traveling with instruments being abandoned on the tarmac! Thats why I said there has to be more to the story that the violinists are leaving out! Stories like this don’t just happen from minor misunderstandings between airways and passengers with violins. Thats why I pointed out the childishness of the violinist’s playing, its katty. Mature people don’t just bust out instruments(priced in the high thousands of dollars) to protest carry-on rules, they find a solution.

    AND YES! Bach would be upset… with your crappy playing (your fellow curtis grads would be ashamed, then again, I’ve never tried to perform next to a jet engine, again, probably his fault)

  • Pacer1 says:

    Sorry Cory, I’m afraid you’ve jumped to some premature conclusions. Read:

    The plane listed on the US Air website is a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-700, which has ample overhead space to allow for a violin case. Considering what other travellers are allowed to take onboard these day and jam into overheads, stowing a violin case in one is a relatively minor issue.

    A decade ago, US Air baggage handlers cracked my daughter’s 300-year-old cello which had been properly packed for travel in a custom-made hardshell travel case, was gate-checked and plastered with fragile stickers.

    These musicians were absolutely right to stand their ground against US Air employees who do not know or comply with their own industry’s Federal laws.

  • Nancy Sturdevant says:

    The baggage crew at US Airways (Phila.) destroyed my daughter’s 150 year old-cello by dropping it on its top from the cargo door. My son was a handler at the time at a major airport in Canada and said that was the only explanation for that type of damage.They fought us every step of the way in our quest for compensation. I think we got about $1000. It was in a heavy duty travel case made by a boat builder. The sound-post crack was ‘repaired’, but the sound was altered for all time.

    That airline is disgusting.