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Kronos Quartet: ‘We will not fly British Airways again’

February 24, 2018 by norman lebrecht

31 comments.


One of the world’s most travelled chamber ensembles has informed us that they will not fly BA again to concerts in the UK and Europe after being denied boarding for two violins and a viola at Abu Dhabi.

The Quartet adds: ‘We will also recommend our collaborators not fly on your airline as well.’

BA’s first response: ‘Hi, I’m sorry you weren’t able to to take your violins/violas in the cabin on this occasion. While our airport staff will make every effort to find space in the cabin for musical instruments that are within the dimensions of 80 x 30 x 25cm, I’m afraid this can’t be guaranteed. ^B’

Kronos say: ‘Our cases are well w/in the dimensions (they fly w/ us 60x a year and have for over 40 years). There was room, the flight was not overbooked. We were told we would have to book extra seats (like we do for the cello), but when we said we’d do that, we were told we couldn’t.’

It’s a perpetual shambles at BA.

UPDATE: British Airways offers an apology.


Comments (31)

  1. Sue says:

    This is the only way to deal with incompetence – vote with your wallets. I travelled BA back in 1971 and it was bog-standard even then.

    1. Joel Newman says:

      Over the last few years the airline has deteriorated and are not interested in passenger service. Only money.

      1. Sally Huggett says:

        I will never use BA again .. after having no cash and offering my debit card for 2 teas and some rolls for me and mum 87yrs old
        I was told by one of the cabin crew that she had found some dry crackers if we wanted them … She was being rude and unfunny at the same time ,,,

  2. Oluwole says:

    BA is turning to joke. I am also thinking of the same. I have been mistreated for too long as a Gold Executive member.

  3. Piers Adams says:

    Don’t get me started on my latest fiasco booking a seat for our cellist, for the Red Priest trip to America and Canada this week… I must have spent about 6 hours on the phone to them over a 3 week period, during which they cancelled the booking for no reason and without informing me three times – each time saying ‘I don’t know why that happened, I’ll make absolute sure it doesn’t happen this time’. Each new person I spoke to said that the previous one had done it wrong. The ‘fares department’ through which all cello bookings have to go seems to be some kind of impenetrable hidden society bound by arcane rules… All I was doing was trying to by a cabin-baggage ticket and they were utterly incapable of dealing with it.

    1. Margaret r. Ezeanya says:

      This is the worst airline in history,I was bitten all over my body with bugs,and the worse thing they did started spraying in our face while boarding,very poor service and dare never ever to fly with B/A again

  4. Artemisia says:

    I have been touring with some musicians these few weeks on a European tour, 4 out of 10 flights was with BA. One of the musicians bought a seat for his instrument but was told to put it in the cabin in one of their flights. They charged an instrument the same price as one person and the seat had to be left empty.

  5. Terry says:

    I may be mistaken but I think it’s only a matter of time before BA collapses due to pension commitments.

    An old airline cannot compete with newer ones, particularly those from outside Europe with few if any pension obligations.

    1. Wei Tu Lo says:

      It’s the pensions and the pensioners that will collapse, not BA.

  6. Michael Rowland says:

    BA is now a 3rd world airline, and this along with numerous other recent cut backs endorse this. I agree, vote with not placing your feet on a BA plane!

    1. Rgiarola says:

      I don’t know. Just as an example Latam is from Chile, Avianca from Colombia and they are noe better than BA

  7. Phil Artt de Eaux says:

    Do they still tell you to turn the fresh air nozzles above the seats rearwards to increase thrust for takeoff?

  8. Anca says:

    The treat musicians receive from the airlines is terrible, is disgusting.
    Please, read, sign and share my letter, which is exactly about this :
    http://chn.ge/2BTL1Df

    1. Scotty says:

      Norman, this looks like a spam link. Can it be checked?

      1. Michael Smith says:

        It links to the change.org petition described.

        1. Scotty says:

          My mistake. Sorry Anca.

  9. J Courtney says:

    Once the best of Britain now the worst airline in the world, they should not be allowed to use the name British in their name and certainly not have our flag on their tail.
    That’s what you get when you have an arrogant incompetent man like Willie Walsh at the helm.
    He should go back to Aer Lingus, he left a mess there too.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      He is long gone. The present villain is Alex Cruz.

      1. Geoff says:

        Not really because Willie Walsh is now the boss of IAG, so Alex Cruz reports to him. Either way the concept of customer service has long since left the organisation.

  10. Zafrullah Hamzah says:

    A horrible airline in every sense of the word. This airline can’t even deliver a service in their first class cabin. I have had better service on the Limerick to Dublin bus than first class with BA. A truly crap airline

  11. Old Man in the Midwest says:

    I look forward to seeing you all soon.

    Sincerely,
    Sir Richard Branson

    1. Sarah says:

      fat chance! Virgin Atlantic’s worse – their official policies don’t allow violin cases in the overhead – from their website:

      “If you’re planning on bringing a musical instrument with you, bear in mind it may not fit within your hand baggage allowance. If it exceeds the hand baggage allowance measurements, you’ll need to check it in.”

      Their max size for hand baggage is firmly stated as 23 x 36 x 56cm (for reference a Musafia single-violin case is 23 x 13 x 80cm long).

      Of course it always comes down to the whims of the gate agent, but things seem to be trending in an extremely discouraging direction.

  12. JCourtney says:

    Willie Walsh is still at the holding company level hiding like the rat that he is. Alex is his monkey he is the organ grinder.
    He is CEO of International Airline Group which owns British Airways and Iberia Airlines.

  13. Sandy says:

    Flew on them after a long absence. My god they are incompetent and uncaring now. Never again.

  14. Grumpy old musician says:

    Sorry, what is a viola? I would prefer a quiet flight.

  15. Matthew Burtner says:

    Thank you for alerting musicians to this unfair and prejudicial practice by British Airways. Musicians travel to make peace and beauty across cultures and should be supported and respected by airlines. EcoSono Ensemble will join the Kronos Quartet boycot against this airline.

  16. James Miller says:

    The current CEO of BA was in charge at Vueling.,another IAG subsidiary.During his tenure the reputation of Vueling hit rock bottom and I fear BA is going the same way.
    The organisation is run by accountants who seemingly.have only an eye on the bottom line
    Monopolies Commission should investigate their dominance if Heathrow slots

  17. Porque Diddly says:

    I love BA.
    You lot with your instruments can clear off.
    And in any case, who do you think you?
    Well, I can tell you.
    You are just a bunch of overrated, self important minstrels.
    World-wide useless, talentless noise making performers.
    Go fly with someone else.

  18. Robert Freeman says:

    Carbon fibre instruments by Luis and Clark, indestructible as they are can be put. in an airplane’s luggage space. They also win competitions and auditions.

    Robert Freeman

    1. Bill says:

      Oh? Which competitions have been won by someone playing a Luis & Clark instrument? Which performers are making a living playing them as their primary instrument?

  19. Marion Sterger says:

    There is apparently a bunch to identify about this. I consider you made certain good points in features also.


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