Double-bass, lost in flight, turns up at JFK

Double-bass, lost in flight, turns up at JFK


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2015

Robert Black, whose instrument was lost two weeks ago by the Brazilian airline TAM, has been told it has arrived in New York. No thanks to the airline, says Robert:

‘ I now know that the bass is at the JFK airport in NY. If possible, I will pick it up on Friday, otherwise it will be sent to me via Fed Ex on Saturday (arriving Monday). I’ll let you all know when I actually have it in my hands. Once again thanks for all of your support and thanks to social media – because of a post of the photos on Facebook, a colleague who just happened to be passing through the international baggage claim area of the Toronto airport saw the case, sent me a photo, which I sent to TAM airlines. So it was all of you on Facebook who did what TAM could not – you found my bass.’

double bass

Earlier this week: ‘The unthinkable has become the unbelievable. A friend saw my bass case in the baggage area at the Toronto airport. I was sent a photo of the ID tag and a photo of the case sitting in a locked office. How it got from Fortaleza to Toronto without TAM being aware of it is crazy.

I immediately reported this to TAM airlines but, 3 days later, they still haven’t confirmed that they have it!’


Final report, Sunday, August 9th:

IT’S OVER. Today at 11:00 AM, Fed Ex delivered my B-21 double bass to me. It was shipped directly from the Toronto airport to my home in Hartford Connecticut. The case was undamaged, the bows were undamaged, and the instrument was undamaged. I reassembled the bass and it was even in tune!

Thus ends my worst airline experience to date and the most inept and frustrating customer service I’ve ever experienced. TAM really needs to get it together.

Once again, thank you all for your concerns, kind thoughts, good vibes, words of encouragement, prayers, positive energy, and vigilance. An alert colleague in Toronto saw the posts, saw the case, and set this reunion in motion. Social media can be amazing.


  • John Borstlap says:

    I read the title of this entry in an entirely different way – and wondered about new developments in aerodynamic properties of orchestral instruments.