Another bad airline: Emirates impose extra ticket for violas

Another bad airline: Emirates impose extra ticket for violas


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2016

From Alexander Gilman, artistic director of LGT Young Soloists:


I am flying with my youth ensemble LGT Young Soloists to Dubai next April. The concert organizer has booked the flights with Emirates. During the booking process, Emirates has asked the concert organizer for the exact measurements of the instruments. After receiving the measurements for the violas, they forced the organizer to book a separate seat for the instruments…

We are not talking about low cost airlines such Ryanair, Airberlin or Easyjet. This is Emirates – one of the leading airlines in the world which is now asking for a seat for the violas…


  • NYMike says:

    Must have something to do with sinking oil prices

  • bratschegirl says:

    There’s a viola joke in here somewhere…

    • Eddie Mars says:

      “Did you hear about the viola section who flew with Emirates? The players were all left in Economy, but the valuable instruments were given a free upgrade to Business Class.”

  • Jean Haas says:

    My viola eats kosher and vegan, and likes Veuve Clicquot

    • Holly Golightly says:

      What does it say about the Dow Jones index going forward? I could make some better investment decisions. Is yours the splendid Warren Buffet Viola of 2008?

      I’m unsure why Emirates are taking this step; my husband and I have travelled Business Class with them many times from Australia to Europe and we’ve come back with tons of hand luggage – large, flattened prints, glass objects d’art and large European pillows – which they’ve willingly stored for us in a cupboard, alongside our jackets, coats etc.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    Like the comment from Eddie Mars, on one flight when I flew Lufthansa I was in economy class but my violin was upgraded to First class in an overhead locker.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      Good old Lufthansa; they’ve got the smarts!!

      And be very careful at Dubai airport – anyone going; it’s a dreadful place, full of spivs trying to rip you off. We paid 10 Euro for a small bottle of water and the person behind the counter wasn’t going to give us change until we co-opted a member of the airport staff to remedy the problem.

  • alvaro says:

    Thank god we have Slippedisc to defend our rights against corporate greed. Such a powerful mover and shaker that will surely give nightmares to the most ruthless arab airline mogul.

    EMIRATES: WATCH OUT. Slippedisc is coming for you.

    I feel so much better now….knowing we are saved.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    It would be nice if FedEx and UPS would offer an enhancement to their luggage shipping service where traveling musicians could have their instruments taken from city to city. Seems like it could be done for the cost of a plane ticket. Yes, the artist would have to trust the shipping service but given the horror stories of baggage handling, it could hardly be worse.

  • Richard Savage says:

    This has certainly not been our experience with Emirates. We find them to be amongst the most accommodating for musicians and for their instruments. One bad experience doesn’t make them a “bad airline”.

    • SAS says:

      Very true. Emirates is one of the finest in the industry.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      Agree. We’ve flown with them on every long-haul flight; they’re excellent. But we won’t use them anymore because they use Dubai airport, which is a hell-hole. And they exploit cheap foreign labour in the worst way (not that anybody seems to care about that).

      • SAS says:

        Millions of airline fliers who pass through Dubai Airport disagree.

        The same goes for the thousands of happy Emirates employees.

        • Holly Golightly says:

          You’ve obviously not had to travel by bus – standing up – for 20 minutes from one terminal to another after a 14 hour long-flight from Sydney and a wait at Dubai airport for a further 4, then climb up a steep staircase into the plane in the pouring rain. The place is dreadful and there weren’t too many happy passengers when we went through our experiences – twice. We have been through Dubai 4 times and, as I said, never again.

          • SAS says:

            The airport now uses jetways to transport people to and from the terminal and with the New Terminals and Concourses the whole Dubai Airport experience is different from what it was.

            I have used the airport several times in the past without problems, and look forward to the next visit.

  • weedkiller says:

    Part of this new travelling problem for violinists and violists is because many of these newer cases are just HUGE.
    In the past, a case was a few inches longer than the instrument itself. These days, the cases people are using are just enormous. Humongous rectangular prisms that are wider, broader, and longer than the cases of old.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      Good point. But travelling Business Class means they’re certain to take care of most instruments and much else besides. Emirates Business Class is superb; you walk on board, they take your coats, jackets, hand luggage right away and stow it. Then they arrive with champagne. A few minutes into the flight the Purser arrives with his laptop, identifies you by name and tells your partner that the Gluten Free food has been ordered and that he’ll be served first.

      I can’t fault them, but Dubai Airport has been the deal-breaker. That and flying over the Middle East generally!