Virgin join the anti-violin airlines

Virgin join the anti-violin airlines


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2016

From a Slipped Disc reader:

We have a group from school in South West London, who are travelling to the USA on a performing arts tour this October, and are flying Virgin Atlantic. This will be the trip of a lifetime for some of these talented kids, but at the moment they’re getting kicked in the teeth by Virgin at every turn

They wish to take 5 (expensive) violins with them in the cabin, and Virgin’s totally intransigent attitude is that ‘computer says no’, and all they are doing is quoting their ‘standard’ terms at us repeatedly, and wish to force this school to purchase extra seats or be required to place the violins in the hold with all the dangerous implications this has for the instruments.

This despite:

–       The violins’ volume is far less than that of the maximum allowed hand luggage case (13 x 30 x 85 cm for a violin, 23 x 36 x 56 for a standard hand luggage case)

–       The violins weigh on average 3-4 kg each, as opposed to the maximum allowed 10kg

–       The violins would be their only item of hand luggage

–       This is a group of 30+ individuals all of whom are paying full fare for a seat.

Come on Richard Branson. Remember when you were in the music business?

richard branson



  • Duke says:

    Put this oh their Twitter. And also somehow find Richard’s office contract details. I’m sure he’d listen.

  • Susanne Stanzeleit says:

    Our correspondence on the FB page for Virgin Atlantic so far:

    Virgin Atlantic Hi Susanne,
    Thank you for your post. We are indeed Violin-friendly. Provided the dimensions and weight are within our hand luggage, these can indeed be taken on board as the customers dedicated piece of carry-on. Our policy to charge for an extra seat is normally for larger musical instruments, such as a cello. I hope this reassures you.
    Like · Reply · 56 mins

    Susanne Stanzeleit
    Susanne Stanzeleit Hello Virgin Atlantic, thank you for your reply. The recurring issue with violin and viola cases is that they are of a different shape to your hand luggage dimensions. This means that of course they comfortably fit into the overhead locker but all too often check in staff query this, and in the worst case, will not allow the instrument to be taken on board. Easyjet are to date the only airline to have made it very clear on their website which instruments can definitely be carried on board, Norwegian have just followed suit. Could Virgin please do the same? This would reassure a lot of musicians, and particularly after the recent incident on BA of a violinist being asked to check her case into the hold, which resulted in her carrying her instrument out of the case on her lap during the flight (and checking in very expensive bows), such a move would make you extremely popular with string players.

  • Richard says:

    Virgin is a collective noun for the name of the business. That means you have your syntax incorrect with the title as it stands.
    It should read as follows: “Virgin Joins The Anti-Violin Airlines”.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Ironically, the Virgin “brand” also used to be a classical music label. Back in the good old days, before the word “brand” was a Thing.

  • Sue says:

    No doubt one of Branson’s “beautiful hostesses” will help Virgin’s “clients” with the violin issue if they’re told about it.