Qantas Airways has yesterday refused an international violinist from bringing his 1766 Guadagnini violin into the cabin on a flight from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia - allegedly claiming it was company policy that all violins must be stowed as cargo.
"I have just been denied boarding on Qantas Flight 28 from Santiago to Sydney because I refused to put my violin in the baggage hold … this is just disgusting ..." Norwegian-born violinist and pedagogue Ole Bohn has told The Violin Channel.
Ole has indicated that the Santiago Qantas manager, Christian Carlos was insistent that it was company policy to not permit violins in the cabin - despite the airline's website indicating violin cases under 7kg in weight and under 85cm x 34cm x 23cm in size being permissible.
Ole, who in 1990 gave the world premiere performance of the Elliott Carter Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and previously served as Concertmaster of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Copenhagen Symphony Orchestra, has held a teaching position on faculty at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music since 2009.
A Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin from the same period was sold by Tarisio Auctions New York in October, 2013 for US $1,390,000.
Ole has indicated he was eventually forced to book another flight to Sydney on Latam Airlines.
"... Not the slightest problem boarding Latam flight to Sydney … the hostesses onboard wanted to help me to make sure the violin had a good spot in the compartment over my seat," the 71 year old has said.
"I even hold Gold Status with Qantas … customers should never be treated like this … Qantas has something to learn,” he has said.
The Violin Channel’s 2014 coverage of Air Canada’s inconsistent cabin baggage policy received over 4,000 social media shares, 200,000 page views and 27,000 facebook likes – leading to the airline promptly readdressing the stance.
"We’ll be reaching out to the customer when he arrives back in Sydney ... we’re also speaking with our ground crew in Santiago to see what occurred ... we apologize for any inconvenience caused ... " a Qantas spokesperson has told The Violin Channel.
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