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What a Stupid World We Live in Now… August 31, 2010

Violin after Jakobus Stainer 18th. century
Image via Wikipedia

A Cheshire music student was ordered to buy an extra seat for her violin after an airline refused to let her take the instrument as hand luggage. Francesca Rijks, 12, from Macclesfield, was flying home with her family from Dusseldorf after a holiday in Germany. Staff told them to put the violin in the hold – which would potentially ruin the instrument. Francesca and her family got off the plane to buy the ticket, and missed the flight. They had been advised to buy the £190 ticket after calling the airline. The family ended up flying back with Easyjet, who let them board the plane with the violin as hand luggage.

Francesca’s father Harmen Rijks, 49, said he was told by Ryanair customer service when he bought the tickets that the valuable violin could be taken on board the flight as hand luggage.

He said the air pressure and low temperature in the hold would have ruined the instrument, which belongs to the Manchester music school Chetham’s, where Francesca is a pupil.

He said: “When we checked in, Francesca was carrying the violin on her back so they must have noticed it but they let us through.

“But when we got to the gates they refused to let us go.

“They said we could pay extra to put the violin in the hold, but because of the temperature and air pressure difference, the wood can crack and completely ruin a violin. The insurance also becomes void,” he said.

“This was an absolute disgrace. Their policy appears to discriminate against violinists, the vast majority of whom simply can’t afford to purchase an additional seat,” he added.

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