Air outrage as major airline bans violins

Air outrage as major airline bans violins


norman lebrecht

February 12, 2018 reports that Aeroflot is about to tighten cabin restrictions, starting on Thursday, February 15.

No musical instrument cases will be allowed into the cabin.

Instruments will be treated as hold luggage, with no special treatment. If they exceed the passenger’s free baggage allowance, an overweight charge will be imposed.

Aeroflot is 51 percent state owned.

UPDATE: You an sign a change petition here.

UPDATE2: Three days later, the ban is revoked.


  • Sue says:

    Yet another ‘outrage’. That word is losing its mojo by the hour.

  • Simon Scott says:

    Here we go again

  • V.Lind says:

    Why this animus against violins? Not only Aeroflot, but the rest, where the attitude percolates down to contract staff at check-in. I can see problems with bigger instruments, and even the argument that in the case of an overbooked flight a person’s rights MIGHT exceed an instrument’s (refund willingly made, of course). But violins fit in most overheads — why is someone’s paperback and whatever else is in a carry-on more important than a delicate instrument that lends to ward a person’s livelihood?It is not as if airlines accept more than a specified liability, so passengers carrying valuable instruments do accept a certain risk and make their own insurance plans.

    But Russia has for so long trumpeted its artistic superiority to the world — a place where the greatest art in the world has been available to all, for modest fees. (Well, actually, that may have been the Soviet Union, but the Russians have always held their artists in high regard nonetheless). It is surprising that they have been the first to so baldly state a policy — although for the love of God, this IS a policy and at least travelling musicians will know where they are, which is on another carrier.

    It will be interesting to see if others follow, and what the fallout will be. It seems to me airlines have made mountains out of molehills, and now the mountains are Everests.

  • William says:

    Yes I know it’s rubbish, but it’s at least extremely clear, which is mostly the problem elsewhere – the not knowing if your instrument will be allowed or not scenario.
    Musicians now know to avoid Aeroflot completely.

  • Nikita says:

    I read the article in Russian. Apparently, Aeroflot has of late been dealing with many complaints from passengers that the airline has been too lax in allowing all sorts of hand luggage onboard, and there’s simply not enough space for proper cabin luggage. So, they announced that they’ve decided to simply enforce their existing regulations more strictly. This means a total of 115 cm (length+width+depth) allowance of hand luggage. This is pretty small, but industry-standard and just means maybe you shouldn’t board an Aeroflot flight with a double-violin case.The parameters of a decent-sized Bam violin case (rectangular) are 78+16+26 which = 120… and that’s kind of a generous measurement. I would hope they would give musicians a break over the 5 cm. Or, one could get a slightly smaller case to fly with. Hopefully Valery Gergiev can come to the rescue here, considering he has over 380 orchestral musicians in his employ at the St. Petersburg Mariinsky alone – not to mention additional musicians in Vladivostok and Vladikavkaz. This is when having friends in high places can make a difference.

  • Mati Braum says:

    But they allowed guitars.

  • Mati Braum says:

    They allowed guitars

    • Sue says:

      Perhaps they’re hoping to be entertained with intermittent strains of “Your cheatin’ heart gonna tell on Yooo”.

    • Alex says:

      Aeroflot created a new rules since 15.02.2018.
      After tommorow you alredy can not take guitar with yourself in airplane. Need buy yet one ticket for guitar.

  • Mark says:

    Maybe musicians should not fly so much. They could travel by train and ship, as in the old days, and then stay in one place for a week or more at a time. Maybe local musicians would get more work. Maybe orchestras would re-develop a national character again, instead of sounding so “international”. I read a lot about how jetting from place to place constantly for one-concert appearances is a large part of what makes being a touring musician so stressful; maybe slowing down is a good thing?

    Or maybe the rules are different in first-class?

    • anon says:

      Whilst I agree with Mark’s point that the hypermobility facilitated by aviation is stressful and problematic (and *very* bad for the environment) — I hate flying, and opt for another mode of transport if at all practical –, the fact is that, unless you are a church/cathedral organist and/or hold a reasonably permanent teaching post at a prestigious conservatoire/university (and even then…), it is pretty difficult to make a meaningful/viable career as a musician if you are not willing to travel far (impossible if you live in a sparsely populated country such as the USA, Canada, or Russia; maybe just about possible to avoid flying if you live in Germany, and are prepared to forgo last-minute invitations which may prove to be your big career breakthrough). I am sure many musicians would love to “stay in one place for a week or more at a time” when they travel overseas, but how many promoters/agents/employers would cover the expenses and travel-insurance costs, or work together (!) to assemble a week-long tour in “one place”?

      What makes airlines’ intransigence to musical instruments so exasperating is that it is so unnecessary, as V.Lind explains so eloquently.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        As a musician it is your agent so you can ask him/her to book concerts close together, avoiding the need to fly too much. For instance, if I was a major European based soloist I would make it clear to my agent I am only flying to the US once or twice in the year and I want a block of concerts in each trip without too many flights. For instance, if I am booked for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra I can do a bunch of concerts in Washington, Baltimore, Hartford, New Jersey, Rochester etc. even if I don’t get such a big fee from them.

  • Arthur Bancroft says:

    I wouldn’t allow my violin to be carried in the hold of any aircraft.
    Do these idiots know the value of some of these violins
    The answer is just quite simple.
    Don’t travel by plane, it’s there loss