Airline says it will only fly cello in a first-class seat

Airline says it will only fly cello in a first-class seat


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2014

This just in from John Walz. Whey will they ever learn?

Attention All Cellists!!! Alaska Airlines now requires a first class ticket for the cello!! I discovered this early this morning at Burbank Airport when I arrived for my flight to Seattle.

Of course, this stupid rule negated my travel plans (not to mention the already purchased ticket for the cello). They “graciously” offered to hand carry the cello to the baggage hold and when I told them that was not going to happen, I had no choice but to send my cello home with Vince and borrow a cello up there.

My dear friend and colleague, Doug Davis, came to the rescue and I’ll have the honor of playing Sundays concert on his splendid Gagliano!! In the meantime, here’s a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline from the ferry to Port Townsend.


seattle sky

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines have tweeted us this response:

Our policy does not specify that you have to have a first class seat. You can book a 2nd seat in coach for oversize baggage such as your cello.

They add, confusingly:

Not all seats in coach can be used as a 2nd seat for oversize baggage. There are specific seats used on each flight. However all seats in first class can be used for oversize baggage. That may have been the issue in this case.


  • Eric says:

    I encountered the same scenario with Alaska several months ago, but in my case the solution was much more gracious. They gave me and the cello 2 first class seats, and they downgraded the two first class passengers! Maybe those passengers complained…

  • bratschegirl says:

    I’m picturing the flight attendant inquiring of the cello whether it was willing and able to operate the emergency exit.