A second violinist is penalised by Ryanair

A second violinist is penalised by Ryanair


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2015

The go-on-hate-us Irish airline forced Zoe Conway, from County Louth, to pay €280 (£203) for a seat for her violin.

She’s rightly outraged. The demand is possibly illegal under EU law.

Do Ryanair care? (Don’t bother to answer that). Earlier this week, they stopped a 16 year-old taking his violin on board.

Story here.

zoe conway


  • Max Grimm says:

    While I have and always will gladly pay a higher ticket price to avoid flying with Ryanair, I will say that people cannot blame airlines for failing to inform themselves before they fly. In Ryanair’s case, their policy regarding instruments is clearly explained on their website.
    Ultimately, a no-frills low-cost airline is exactly that and one should not be focused on the initial, low ticket price but must weigh carefully the final price vs the ticket price of mainline carriers.
    A quick glance at Ryanair’s website by the way reveals that, had Mrs. Conway booked a seat for her instrument (online and from the start), she would have paid €50 per trip.

    • French musician says:

      You kind of have a point regarding the checking of policies, however one would imagine that logic and common sense are applied at SOME level during the formation of the policies. I recently (ish) travelled with my double bass in a ultra-light-weight, extremely strong carbon fibre case with Ryanair. It was designed with handles and wheels in very logical places making it easily manoeuvrable by one person. However, despite paying over €2000 for the case to be as light as technology will allow, and paying a blanket €50 checked musical instrument fee, Ryanair charged me almost €200 in excess weight. Fair enough, you would argue, I expect.

      However, had my luggage been a bicycle rather than a bass, I would NOT have been charged extra, as heavy bikes (in cardboard boxes with neither wheels nor handles) were given a higher weight allowance than musical instruments. If that’s not discrimination based on one’s profession, I don’t know what is. I emailed Ryanair to explain their policy and I was deeply unsurprised never to hear back.

      • Max Grimm says:

        I can only imagine the challenge of traveling with a double bass, a viola undoubtedly being less of a chore and challenge.
        Personally, I don’t find much of anything fair in the fees and pricing adopted by most airlines, especially since they know that those who have to travel for work-related reasons, have no other choice but to fly and most governments rarely if ever challenge the airlines on pricing and baggage policies.
        When searching what airline I will travel on (with an instrument), it is mostly the search for the lesser evil among the airlines, not unfortunately the ‘best’ airline. Just like you, I would like to think that some degree of common sense and logic is being applied to the formation of policies (that have the customer in mind, not the quarterly profit margin) but alas, reading through most of the “conditions of carriage”, airlines don’t seem to hold their customers’ comfort nor property in all that high regard. And as long as they’re the only viable option for the traveling public, they will continue not to give a rat’s ar*e about many an issue.

      • Anon says:

        I see your point, but probably better thought of not as an extra cost for the bass, but as a discount applied to items the average flyer might want to take on a more regular basis for travel / leisure. I suspect they are keener to attract cyclists than bassists, there being more of them; so a discounted / lower rate (in effect – made so by a higher weight allowance) makes sense, but there’s little need to apply the same to the heavier musical instruments .

  • Dave says:

    Better to have your instrument arrive undamaged than to belly ache about paying for an extra ticket.

    • Scott Fields says:

      Better to put your violin or viola in the overhead, where it fits easily, and not have to pay extra and have the instrument arrive undamaged and not have to belly ache.

      Musicians I know have a Ryanair-never policy. Those who have flown Ryanair once are spreading the word.

  • James Alexander says:

    I have never understood why anyone would want to fly Ryanair. Full stop.
    Just don’t fly with them!
    SO tired of hearing people complaining about Ryanair.
    Owner of this atrocious airline said once, “have no expectations and you won’t be disappointed”.
    My response?
    “Don’t fly Ryanair and you won’t have any complaints”.

  • Mirel Iancovici says:

    Now they (the violinists) know what means to be always a ”discriminated” person, as a cellist, forced to buying extra fly tickets for his/her ”tool” -:)
    Once, flying for Brussels to Perpingan, I was privileged to board on in first place together with mums and children and that on a flight of…Ryanair.

  • Micky Burns says:

    A violin case doesn’t fit the size conditions of Ryanair’s hand baggage policy. If one wants to fly with a that budget airline, one shall live with their conditions.

    Personally, I avoid Ryanair whenever I can.