If United can smash it, so can Aer Lingus

If United can smash it, so can Aer Lingus


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2019

Do we need to remind you of the infamous United Broke My Guitar video? Seemes like everyone’s doing it. How do we let these negligent airlines get away with it?

Message from Chris Montague.

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  • don quixote says:

    If your instrument is so valuable, buy it a seat.

  • Mr. Knowitall says:

    Usually I’m on the side of the musician in these matters, but, as with the infamous United-smashes-guitar video, some blame here lies with the owner of the guitar. The type of neck-to-head joint used on that instrument is notorious for cracking just as shown in the photo. That’s because the mahogany is carved to be thin, which allows access to the truss-rod adjustor. These guitars, usually Gibson and instruments designed after Gibson, also have an extreme headstock angle. The combination of these design flaws results in a guitar whose neck will crack under modest impact. When flying with these instruments, it’s necessary to completely immobilize the guitar inside the case and slacken the strings. Neither appears to have been done. That British Hiscox case is a good product, but I can see that there is no additional padding to immobilize the headstock. And from the photo I can see that the strings were not loosened. All of this is true also of the guy whose guitar was damaged flying United.

    As for the extreme damage to the classical guitar in the cheap case in the bottom photo, that’s a photo that the blog’s editor dug up. It’s an unrelated incident.

    • shiko0 says:

      that ‘you have to loosen them strings’ is an urban myth that doesn’t want to go away ;-(

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        The “you have to loosen the strings” is a myth regarding changes in cabin pressure, and for lots of guitars there’s no reason for it. But for these lousy high-angle, mahogany-necked, truss-rod-opening-at-the headstock models, it’s necessary. One of mine broke the same way from a 50-cm fall onto carpet.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    There must a solution to this problem. Will the instrument/s fit in the overhead locker? I’d never put an instrument with checked-in luggage; no, never. But if you fly Business Class they’ll take care of it for you in the cabin.

    I have plenty of experience with Emirates taking charge of valuable items, stowing them away carefully in our own locker – glass items, prints, the lot.

    • Mr. Knowitall says:

      We’ve been through this with you repeatedly, Sue. We are working musicians. We can’t afford business class and for many of us we can’t afford an extra seat either. The United States has forced, through regulations, airlines to allow instruments that fit in the overhead to be carried on. But European airlines have been going in the opposite direction. I hope the EU passes regulations that are similar to those of the States.

  • Rob Roy says:

    The retarded dickheads who work as luggage handlers, make it their entertainment to lift and throw the bags around, even if it would be easier to slide with minimal lifting.
    I have observed the same behaviour allover the parts of the world I travelled through (europe, asia, canada, australia).
    They simply do it intentionally and on purpose, and unless they’re held accountable for the intentional damage, nothing will ever change, because the airlines are happy to scare people into paying for an extra seat.

    • Kevin says:

      You’re too, too right. I’ve seen them doing it – watched them make particular sport of a large-ish instrument marked “Fragile”.

  • will says:

    ” I hope the EU passes regulations” yes, absolutely agreed, Mr Knowitall; but, wait a minute…. as I recall, the UK is STUPIDLY and MASOCHISTICALLY leaving the EU unless a miracle happens before 31st January 2020.