From a crowdfunder by Carrie Miller:
I am currently in the graduate music program in cello performance at Florida State University. During the winter break I traveled back to California to visit my family. I took my cello as I’ve done many times in the past. I wanted to be able to play with my friends, practice for my recital, and earn some extra money teaching students.
Whenever I fly, I always gate check my cello to ensure that it is properly handled. When I flew back to Tallahassee, United airlines did not allow me to gate check my cello. I pleaded with them saying that I have checked the cello many times in the past and was allowed to do so on my initial flight to California. They were completely unsympathetic refusing to allow me to be present during the checking process. There were no extra seats on the plane so I could not buy a seat for my cello. I couldn’t cancel my flight and was forced to check it through normal baggage procedures.
When I got back to Tallahassee, my instrument was completely broken. Not just parts of it. The whole instrument was in pieces as well as the case. Clearly the airline completely mishandled my cello. This incident has been incredibly traumatic. I’m currently using a loaned instrument that is inferior to my cello. This instrument negatively impacts my ability to perform at a high level causing my work at school to suffer and jeopardizing my livelihood.
Read on here.