Violinist Rachelle Hunt had taken all the precautions necessary to avoid issues while flying, including paying for a Star Alliance Gold Membership so that she could board first and find a space for her violin in the overhead lockers. Despite this, Hunt was stopped by a United Airlines flight attendant and asked to check her violin in.
Hunt posted a video to social media detailing the argument she had with the flight attendant. Despite Hunt showing the attendant a copy of federal law regarding the situation, she was repeatedly told that "we [the airline] don't go with federal law." Hunt tried to explain that United Airlines policy was required to comply with federal law, but seemingly to no avail.
Hunt also claims that once the flight had taken off, the flight attendant in question asked her name. She then spent the whole flight worrying that repercussions might be waiting for her once they landed.
Hunt has now filed a formal complaint with the airline and has also been in contact with both the American Federation of Musicians and DOV - the German Orchestra Union.
"I was only able to board with my violin after a long argument because I refused to give in and was luckily able to speak with an understanding pilot," Hunt wrote on social media. "He intervened eventually and the flight attendant very grudgingly agreed to let me take my violin as an 'exception.' Federal law is not an exception."
As of August 16, Hunt has still had no response from United Airlines.