Photo Credit: Photo by Ismail Kormaz
Musician Is Booted From Flight, Even Though He Paid To Have Cello On Board
A respected musician, Santiago Cañón-Valencia, was on board a Copa Airlines flight bound for Caracas from Bogota. Not wanting to check his cello with the rest of the bags, he sat in business class alongside his instrument. He’d purchased a second ticket for the cello, and had no reason to suspect there would be trouble.
“Everything from the check-in until boarding the plane went smoothly as usual,” Cañón-Valencia said to The Strad, a UK- based music magazine.
Until it didn’t.
While on board Copa Airlines, Cañón-Valencia was sitting in business class with his cello.
In an interview with The Strad, he explained:
“I sat there for about five minutes until someone from Copa Airlines came up to talk to me. At first, I assumed that they wanted to give me the seatbelt extension in order to secure the cello on its seat, but instead, this person said to me that I couldn’t fly with the cello on board due to captain’s orders.”
What Did The Staff Suggest?
A flight attendant suggested Cañón-Valencia put his instrument in an overhead bin.
He refused for size reasons.
According to Business Insider, he said, “there is no way my cello would fit into one of those.”
“And even if it would, why would I have to put it there if there is a seat that was specifically paid for my cello? And not just a regular seat but a business class one?”
He Had To Postpone His Performance
Cañón-Valencia had business in Venezuela that had to be postponed.
“Sadly all my activities in Venezuela are postponed, thanks to the ignorance, disrespect and stubbornness of this airline!” He said. “I don’t recommend any musician using it!”
What Is The Airline's Policy On Musical Instruments?
Copa Airline’s website says, “passengers can purchase an additional seat to increase their comfort while traveling or to take a special item.”
But, Yahoo! News wrote, “the website does specify that the special item must be packaged correctly so it doesn’t cause harm to other passengers.”
This Isn't The First Time This Has Happened
Cañón-Valencia isn’t the first musician to be booted from a flight.
Jingjing Hu was on an American Airlines flight bound for Chicago in 2018.
He was told his instrument didn’t fit the size parameters, and was booted.