The latest travel horror comes from the London violist Morgan Goff, who was subjected to extraordinary aggression at Dublin airport.
Here’s what he tells Slipped Disc.
1. I was told that my Viola would not go through the normal scanner as it was too big and would need to be manually searched and scanned.
2. For this I had to empty the entire contents of my viola case with the exception of the viola and two bows before proceeding to the manual check.
3. The security guard (whose name I wasn’t allowed to get) asked me to open my case, which I did for him.
4. He immediately went to grab the neck of the instrument to pull it out. I quickly stopped him and told him that it was a very valuable and old instrument. I would handle it and hold it for him so that he could inspect it. I asked him to be really careful due to it’s value.
5. After looking at it and getting me to rotate the instrument, he got his swab wand out and in what looked to me like aggression, hit the front of the instrument hard, making a sickening crunching sound and leaving a very visible dent. Obviously this is only speculation, but it seemed to me that he had been offended by my not letting him handle the instrument himself and maybe this was a lesson for me?
6. I yelled at him – what did he think he was doing? I said to him, this instrument is 300 years old, worth a quarter of a million pounds and you have just dented and possibly cracked the front of it. He looked me calmly in the eye and said “I don’t care”
7. My Colleague – Simon Chalk, found the head of security who took me aside and got my details. Below is his report form. He told me the airport would contact me within the next few days (not happened yet). I have copied in his report below. I had to ask him to change mark to dent.
8. During the interview, he went off to get some paperwork. At this point the security guard who had damaged my instrument came up to me and started taunting me (in front of another colleague) asking what my problem was.
Morgan’s luthier has told him the instrument can be repaired, at a cost. Will Dublin Airport apologise and pay up? He’s waiting to hear from them…
UPDATE: Dublin Airport’s response.