Early this year Slipped Disc published the following assurance from Air Berlin, welcoming violins and other small instruments on board as hand luggage:
‘Passenger’s satisfaction matters for AirBerlin … after listening to feedback from passengers, the AirBerlin group is updating its hand baggage regulations for violins and similarly-sized musical instruments… One piece of hand luggage is always included on each flight … [and] passengers will soon be able to take their musical instrument aboard as a piece of hand baggage – with maximum dimensions of 86cm x 33cm x 23 cm.’
The Mahler Chamber Orchestra had trouble boarding violins last week, so violinist Michael Brooks Reid went on to the Air Berlin website and found the policy had not changed at all. Seeking clarification, this is what he was told by their customer service centre:
Dear Mr Brooks Reid,
Thank you for your e-mail.
It is possible to take your musical instruments on board. Therefor it is necessary to book an Extra Seat for the instrument during your booking.
Please note, that even if your request is accepted, the captain reserves the right to make changes and decide that the transport be made in the hold, if he considers that the security of the passengers is compromised.
If you have any further questions or queries, please feel free to contact our team at any time.
Service Team airberlin group
Moral of the story: Don’t believe Air Berlin. Better still, don’t fly them.