What is it with United and musical instruments? First it was broken guitars. Now comes a story from the NY Post about a cello "forced" to fly in first class.
I love the way the Post sensationalizes things, so let’s play along for a few moments:
Musician Greg Beaver was tossed off a United Airlines flight last week after attendants told him that he had to buy a first-class ticket — for his cello.
Beaver, 33, a member of the Nebraska-based Chiara String Quartet, said he had already bought a coach ticket for the instrument — which requires its own boarding pass, has a frequent-flier account and has already racked up tens of thousands of miles.
A cello with frequent flyer status…
But the airline refused to let him board with it when, at the last minute, the gate attendant protested that it wouldn’t fit in the seat.
"It feels like the airlines are anti-music — flying is demoralizing enough, but as a musician, you’re truly a second-class citizen," Beaver told The Post…
I don’t buy the second-class citizen bunk, but a warning light goes off when a gate agent protests that something won’t fit on a plane.
Especially after reading this,
Beaver said he tried to argue that he had been allowed to fly coach on United aboard a Boeing 757 — the same type of plane — to Seattle just weeks earlier, but the staff wouldn’t listen.
The SEA FA’s probably just had their glasses off.
He was not given the option afforded the obese — to buy two adjacent coach seats — for his instrument.
What inhumanity! Cellos do not have the same rights as the obese!
Instead, Beaver, who was traveling from Denver to La Guardia with his wife, Julie Yoon, who’s a violinist in the group, and their 11-month-old daughter, said he was told he had three choices: check the cello as baggage, buy the instrument a first-class ticket or take a different flight.
I hate the inconsistent application of rules and now I was starting to feel sorry for Mr. Beaver. But not too sorry. Sure, he was inconvenienced, but what do you expect when trying to bring an oversized cello onboard?! I think the options UA laid out were very reasonable.
Checking in the 300-year-old instrument, "which is worth as much as a small house," was not an option, Beaver said.
Well then perhaps you need to drive next time Mr. Beaver. Or take Amtrak–then you and your cello can get a room.
If you read on, Beaver just waits for the next, less crowded, flight and gets to his destination without shelling out any more money.
The article ends with the following:
United has no rule that cellos must fly first class, but leaves such decisions to the discretion of attendants, spokesman Mike Trevino said.
Typical United. Consistently inconsistent.
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