Here’s how US baggage handlers load your instrument…

Here’s how US baggage handlers load your instrument…


norman lebrecht

November 27, 2015

Chase Platon, a student from San Jose, caught sight of handlers at his home airport trying to see which could throw the baggage furthest.

The company concerned was Alaska Airlines, but it could have been anyone. ‘This is sometimes a game the baggage handlers play,’ they said.

Just so you know.

The video is going viral. Click here if it does not come up immediately on screen.


baggage handler san jose


  • V.Lind says:

    So: the airline CLEARLY denied this was passenger baggage, and were aware of the situation. They granted that the optics were not good, which puts them squarely in the moron class. But there was as far as they were concerned NO QUESTION of this being passenger luggage.

    So: once again a hysterical, sensational headline that has ZERO to do with the truth of what you are linking.

    What exactly are you playing at on this blog? Is it some kind of elaborate satire?

    • French musician says:

      I agree with the logic of mr Lind. They do say that it is not passenger baggage, that it’s a bag “filled with magazines”, used for recreational purposes.

    • William Safford says:

      That is valid only if you take the airline’s explanation at face value.

      • V.Lind says:

        I, and French Musician, AND Mr. Lebrecht were commenting on the story he linked. That is what IT says. But he suggests that the bag might as well contain a violin.

        They are taking turns with the same bag, lending credence to the airline’s story. And even they admit something that sounds as if they realise belatedly that it may not be an appropriate game considering the percentage of luggage that is damaged in transit.

        The overall situation is no laughing matter, but using this incident to foment fear among travelling musicians, who are already stressed enough about the process of transporting their precious instruments (when they are not leaving them lying around in cars) does show an amazing lack of tact, courtesy and comprehension of customer service, including reassurance.

        The whole operation of airlines and their services, from security to baggage-handling, not to mention catering, is appalling. The attitude of Air Alaska is unforgiveable.

        • William Safford says:

          I’m confused by your message. Your last paragraph seems to be in tension with your penultimate paragraph.

          (Then again, in rereading my reply to French Musician, I see that my own message is not as clear as it could have been. My point is that musical instruments as checked baggage can be and sometimes are manhandled.)

  • Charles G. Clark-Maxwell says:

    I sometimes feel on SD that I’ve stumbled into Private Eye, The Onion or some other satirical mag. But no, the “news” here is submitted for real, with very misleading headings.

    Sadly I guess it’s all about ‘click’ traffic on the site.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Sadly, we think you should take your traffic elsewhere.

      • CDH says:

        That is an unbelievable response to the observations above, and similar to those on other threads with legitimate queries about your methods and purpose.

        I think most people come to this blog for serious music news (and a little light-hearted stuff — romances, weddings, new babies are all fine, and the in memoriams are good) and lively, even contentious, discussion on some of the news, themes and issues.

        But increasingly they are seeing misleading, careless and sometimes downright wrong headlines and sometimes texts. When this is pointed out, your attitude seems to be to lash out at the critic rather than to defend your choice if you feel right or to admit to something if you do not. This “it’s my ball and I’m not playing” approach of telling anyone who points out what in this case is an egregious misrepresentation to take a hike is so juvenile and petty as to be risible. And I daresay it will happen to me.

        • Max Grimm says:

          I don’t find the response unbelievable but sadly, expected. At least it wasn’t sneering or churlish this time round.

      • Olga says:

        That is a very puzzling response to what seem to be quite understandable objections to the headline.

  • Chris Walsh says:

    What leads you to believe that an instrument is being tossed around here?

    • French musician says:

      I assume mr lebrecht is using this example of baggage handling behaviour to remind us in a light-hearted way of previous articles which did involve instruments, which terrible results? It is difficult and certainly not ‘catchy’ to explain this in the headline. This is a danger of having both lighthearted and serious topics in the same blog.

  • Robert says:

    So, presume this IS a contest among baggage handlers.

    Why would we want them practicing throwing luggage as far as possible? And how did they come up with this if it is something they have never, never considered doing with real luggage?

    There has to be a hundred other things they could be doing on their on-the-clock downtime beside practicing throwing luggage.

  • Emil says:

    Not only is the story plain false, even if it were true, the headline would still be grossly misleading. A commenter likened Slipped Disc above to The Onion and Private Eye; I tend to see it as similar to The Sun and the NY Post. Clicks, clicks, clicks.

  • Gerald Robbins says:

    This irresponsibility on the part of baggage handlers who seem to be lacking respect for people’s cherished belongings is simply unforgivable and reprehensible