Air wails: ‘Lufthansa lost my cello’

Air wails: ‘Lufthansa lost my cello’


norman lebrecht

October 18, 2014

An everyday story of musical woe, posted two days ago on Facebook:

Hello, my name is Lachezar Kostov and I am a tenured member of the San Antonio Symphony, as well as a concertizing cellist.

I flew with Lufthansa on October 12 from Houston to Sofia via Frankfurt. When I arrived at my final destination, my cello, which I have checked as fragile luggage didn’t arrive in Sofia. My partner’s suitcase did arrive as planned. I arrived and Sofia and then to play a concert in my home town Plovdiv. I had to borrow from a friend of mine, and even though this was a far inferior instrument than mine my culture was broadcasted on national TV and radio. I had three separate interviews. Which I explained my situation.

Right now I am in Germany continuing my concert tour with concerns in Soltau, Diepholz and Neumuenster. I was forced to go to a Violin Shop in Hamburg, trying to find a suitable cello which is going to represent my playing in the best possible way. There is no way any other instrument could replace mine, but I did play my concert in Soltau just this evening. Media was present and the whole story will be in the German press.

My managers are very worried if I don’t perform at my top, we might get negative reviews and not get return engagemenst. Shortly, my career could be in jeopardy because of a mistake Lufthansa made – the clerk at IAH didn’t properly tag my cello, and it can’t be found. My insurance company will be taking legal action, and I will be consulting with an attorney regarding your gross negligence. I am attaching the tag I got on my ticket, as well as the claim for the missing cello, which I filed in Sofia, Bulgaria. I vividly remember the clerk who was did my check-in. That was at the business class kiosk at Terminal D at IAH, and then an older man came to take it and hand-deliver it to the luggage area. My piano partner Viktor Valkov was present, and he will testify when needed.

But this one had a happy ending. Within 24 hours Lufthansa replied:

Dear Lachezar, we have been informed that our station manager from Housten (sic0 has contacted you to let you know your cello has been found and to arrange the delivery. I’m happy to hear you will be reunited with your instrument soon, my agpologies again for any inconvenience caused. /Vanessa

Lachezar followed up:

It was FOUND!!! Dear friends, while I am typing with trembling hands, I am happy to report that my cello was found in Houston Airport. It was left there for 5 days and routed to a different airline. It will be delivered in Hamburg tomorrow at 1:00 pm, and while I am beyond words happy, there’s still a slight chance that it was damaged. Will have to assess on site, but let’s keep fingers crossed that it’d be whole! 

A few hours ago, on Saturday, Lachezar was reunited with his cello.

lachezar kostov




  • CDH says:

    I hope this story is not going to end with Lufthana’s apologies for any inconvenience caused.

  • NYMike says:

    Whatever happened to buying a seat for the cello? Many cellists would NEVER consent to transporting their instrument(s) in the baggage hold of a jet.

    • SVM says:

      In view of the quantity of stories about ‘cellos becoming lost or damaged due to being checked-in on flights, I am surprised that insurance companies still permit the practice… Having said that, at least Kostov appears (from the picture) to have a decent case for his instrument.