An air attendant who loves violins

The violinist Mari Kimura shares this exceptional story of a sweet airline attendant:
I flew in from Tokyo into JFK on ANA (All Nippon Airlines).

A very nice ANA flight attendant offered to WRAP my violin with blankets and told others not to put anything else into the same storage bin.  She said, ‘This could only be for your comfort, and I’m sorry it might not serve as a real protection.’

I was so stunned and thanked her; this was absolutely the first time this has ever happened to me.    As I am usually quite nervous about anything involving international travel with my instrument (I carry ‘ivory letter’ saying my bow tip is plastic and not ivory, I carry a copy of instrument insurance policies as well as appraisal letters), I thought this was worth remarking.

However…

I find the treatment of musicians differs vastly from agent to agent. Today, an agent at the same ANA check-in counter told me that if there is no room for my violin in the overhead bin, I will have to gate check.  Then she proceeded, without my permission, held my violin case to see the weight. I told her there is now a USA regulation to permit musical instruments to be carried on, which she was skeptical. I should now carry the copy of the law.

The flight attendant who helped me on the plane yesterday, treated my violin like a treasure.

ana flight attendant
ANA, give this lady a bonus and employ her in staff training

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  • And today, the Szymanowski Quartet, who has 6 concerts in a role in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the artists were asked to check their violins by crew of China Airlines in Frankfurt airport.
    Another NO-GO airline.

  • “I told her there is now a USA regulation to permit musical instruments to be carried on, which she was skeptical. I should now carry the copy of the law.”

    Not so fast. Non-US airlines, like ANA, do not need to follow that USA regulation because it’s an international flight. Non-US airlines may not fly domestic US flights, only international flights.
    We should applaud the efforts of the congress to try to standardize musical instrument carry-on and bring assurance to traveling musicians, but this piece of paper simply doesn’t apply to international flights, whether or not their departing front the US.

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