How to get your violin onto an overbooked flight

How to get your violin onto an overbooked flight


norman lebrecht

April 09, 2019

Giora Schmidt has a suggestion:

Made a deal with the flight attendant to play for these kind folks in exchange for overhead space.


  • Anna says:

    That’s a great idea if you get as far as a flight attendant. Some are stopped at check in…others at boarding…then what…more ideas are needed.

  • John Borstlap says:

    That is clever.

    I heard from a viola player that he organised a drone following his plane with his instrument. The problem was that the drone took much longer to cover the distance.

  • fflambeau says:

    The Trumpistas would likely view you as a terrorist concealing something or trying to smuggle your way into the country. No thanks.

    I can just hear the flight attendant on the phone to security: “Hey Joe, we have this crazed fool who thinks the airline and its passengers really care about what he calls classical music and who wants “to make a deal” in exchange for free carriage of his instrument and case. It probably has plastic explosives stuffed inside. You’d better head over here pronto with a swat team. Meanwhile, I’ll put him in a headlock.”

  • fflambeau says:

    I forgot something. Here’s the airline steward(esses) conversation with security:

    “Hey Joe, we have a “magenta alert” situation at Gate 2009, that’s located just 2.5 miles from the airline check-in on your map. You don’t have a map? You can buy one for just $5.99 at our airline ticket counter. Yes, that’s right, we’re Turncoat Airlines. Well, anyway, this crazed fool thinks the airline and its passenger want to listen to what he calls ‘classical music’ and “wants to make a deal with us” for free carriage of his instrument and case.

    NO! I am too serious, and I’m also not high!! I haven’t had good weed since Obama was in office. And no, “classical music” isn’t a country and western hit. At least that’s what he says but I ain’t heard of it either.

    My idea is he’s trying to hide or conceal something: probably drugs or plastic explosives in the case. By the way, he claims he went to Jelly-Yard school in NYC. Ever hear of it? He’s one of the bad hombres for sure.

    Better head over here pronto with the robotic armored vehicle and a swat team or two even. Meanwhile, I’ll play along with him, get him to drop $2.00 in coins and sit in one of our “pay first” wheelchairs, and strap his hands to the chair until you arrive. Put him in a headlock? Sure, but I haven’t been trained in that area. No problemo.

  • Marvelous Marvin says:

    FAA regulation prohibit playing an instrument on a place (or airport)

    • NYMike says:

      It’s been done more times than I can remember.

    • Bill says:

      Kindly specify the relevant section of regulations, or admit that you cannot.

      • fflambeau says:

        Well Bill, you could be right in theory but wrong in reality.

        FAA regulations do allow anyone to check smaller instruments in overhead bins but they are silent on whether one can play them on board. It probably depends on the air attendants who are given great latitude for safety and also on whether other passengers might object (they might want to sleep instead) and perhaps ultimately on the pilot. I suspect that it would be difficult to get permission to do so. Plus, a sharp attendant might argue that storage rights do not give you the right to play. An instrument larger than a violin (which is basically what the rules allow for overhead storage) will definitely not be possible.

        The rules permitting small instruments on board in overhead storage bins are in the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization Act of 2012, Section 403.

        You can always try your luck and give us a report!